03. July 2010 · 5 comments · Categories: Videos

“Our dream is to break the stereotype of classical music.”

But was that “classical music”? What makes something classical? The instruments?


  1. Maybe to the normal Joe this is classical music, but to any serious musician playing that kind of music would be torture. I mean, I don’t practice my scales and do long tones everyday to be stuck playing some pop medley.

  2. Actually, the group started as a bunch of undergraduate music majors at Northwestern University, which, being my alma mater, I like to think of as somewhat reputable music school. NUCO is Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra–all freshman string players are required to play in it, and the rest of the members of the group are rotated through the year. So these guys were, several years ago, all string players in NUCO, and they formed this group. They do all sorts of things, including Radiohead arrangements. They can actually play their instruments. I’m guessing they chose this piece for the show as it is accessible. And, while I love classical music, I do enjoy listening to some pop music and even occasionally playing it, and I know plenty of other “serious” classical musicians who do, as well. While I would not opt to do this type of thing as a career, I think occasionally it can be fun. I don’t know if this could be called classical, but maybe we need to rethink genre labels these days, anyway.

  3. I like a multitude of music. I just don’t think what they are doing above is “classical”. There are times when music can cross lines, to be sure. (For instance, some musicals by Sondheim can be considered musicals or operas.) This one just didn’t work for me. I’m not saying anything about their musicianship (who can tell for the brief time, eh?) and I know Northwestern has excellent musicians. I just think the labeling might be off.

  4. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound huffy, I just think we shouldn’t be so quick to write people off for choosing to do this kind of thing. I don’t have a problem with it as long as it doesn’t involve girls in questionable clothing. And I don’t think that it’s these guys’ main gig.

  5. I didn’t think you were huffy, Gabrielle. Did you mean to be? If so, you gotta be huffier! 😉

    I think maybe you thought I was dissing them, when I wasn’t, though. What I was asking was merely if that was really classical music. I think perhaps it would have been better to say these are classical musicians doing something different. When Renee Fleming put out that new album no one wanted to call it classical.

    And of course I’m guessing that the guys doing the video wouldn’t say what they were doing was classical! But some other people might think that.

    No biggie. Just asking “what makes it classical”?

    Now that I think about it, I think what the guy meant to say was, “break the stereotype of classical musicians,” you know? (Rather than “music”.) That would make more sense. But of course I wouldn’t have even been able to speak in front of a camera, I’m sure, so there ya go!