Alt Classical: The Innovators

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Reposted from 2015

This week brings a new installment of my series on alt-classical music –music that combines the instrumentation, elegance and sophistication of classical music with the vitality of newer and more modern approaches to music.

In past weeks, we looked at classical music versions of pop hits, and classical music with jazz sensibilities.  This week, we’ll take a look at a few musicians, either with pop music backgrounds or without, who are simply doing classical music in an innovative new way.

Bell Orchestre – Elephants


A sextet from Canada including members of the indie rock darlings, Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestra here presents a tour-de-force in the form of an extended piece of programmatic music about the experience of watching elephants through a window.

Zoe Keating – Seven League Boots

Atmospheric cellist Zoe Keating uses modern technology to augment and multiply her instrument to hypnotic effect.

Philip Glass – Knee Play

For years I never explored Glass’s music because of my father’s intense dislike of his often repetitive style.  It was my loss –the man is a genius.  Above is his most famous work, “Knee Play,” from his opera “Einstein on the Beach.”

Ethel – Rounds

The well-known pop-influenced string quartet presents a beautifully cyclical piece.

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