It may have taken 90-odd years, but classical music has finally gotten its cool back. A new wave of musicians are incorporating indie-rock and electronic elements into it and playing at hip venues
Photograph courtesy of FatCat Records
It may have taken 90-odd years, but classical music has finally gotten its cool back. A new wave of musicians are incorporating indie-rock and electronic elements into it and playing at hip venues like The Triple Door in Seattle and Revolution Café in San Francisco. Some Converse-wearing fans may mistake it for chamber pop, but that’s not a bad thing. “It’s not a great leap from Sigur Rós or the Flaming Lips to classical,” says David Handler, co-owner of the experimental New York venue (Le) Poisson Rouge. “And the musicians hustle like rock bands to reach a broader audience.” Here are some of the new talents who don’t mind if you shout out requests. Matt Hendrickson
Essential album: Delay
Kent, a former cellist for the Brooklyn band Rasputina, performs with the cabaret ensemble Antony and the Johnsons, but her minimalist solo compositions are not to be missed.
Essential album: Kaleidoscopic
Horntveth is best known as the bandleader of Jaga Jazzist, but his solo work—he plays piano, guitar, sax, and clarinet—is hip enough for Oslo’s indie label Smalltown Supersound.
Essential album: Mothertongue
A protégé of Philip Glass, the Vermont-born composer deftly moves from English choral arrangements to violin concerti to art-installation-worthy avant-garde music videos on YouTube.
Essential album: Room to Expand
A rapper turned pianist, Hauschka (a.k.a. Volker Bertelmann) gets inside the instrument—literally—often placing leather or aluminum foil on the strings and hammers for a haunting effect.