WASHINGTON, IL -- The future of classical music may have been on display at the Heartland Festival Orchestra's final concert of the season, on May 30 at Five Points auditorium, Washington.
The remarkable trio Time for Three played the entire concert with the orchestra, using many of their own brilliant original compositions.
This was the most innovative concert the Heartland has presented so far in its six seasons.
The trio's short pieces combined elements of traditional classical music with bluegrass, European folk music, jazz, techno-pop and rock and roll.
One piece blended Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings with a rock song by Justin Timberlake. Another blended a portion of Beethoven's Third Symphony with a piece by Led Zeppelin. A third combined Katy Perry's Firework with Stravinsky's Firebird. (The blending was called a 'mash-up.')
"There's no difference in what they were trying to say," one of the trio's violinists, Nick Kendall, told the audience of two disparate composers. "The meanings line up."
The trio dressed and played with the energy of a rock group, but their classical music training, timing and skills were also on display. Colored lighting for the stage background added to the show.
Keyboard and drums, played by Josh Fobare and Matt Scarano, added to the rock elements of the performance.
Conductor and artistic director David Commanday remarked on the trio's "amazing spontaneity." They were warm and funny in comments to the audience, and graciously played two encore numbers after standing ovations.
In his program note, Commanday wrote "this trio is like none that came before." How true.
Members of the Central Illinois Youth Symphony joined the trio and orchestra for the final number, a classical-rock piece by the trio's double bass player Ranaan Meyer and Fobare.
This remarkable concert will be broadcast on WCBU 89.9 FM at 7 pm on Sunday, August 2, and on WCBU2, HD radio, at 8 pm on Wednesday July 29. It's also streamed online at www.peoriapublicradio.org.
-- Elaine Hopkins