Thursday, July 16, 2009

MJ on the violin?

Thought this was interesting, he'll be touring more and more in the US...from CNN:

Not every classically trained musician has the gumption to interpret Michael Jackson on the violin. But German-born virtuoso David Garrett re-imagines "Smooth Criminal" with such fervor that you'd think Jackson had intended the song to be played by the instrument all along.

David Garrett uses his 300-year-old Stradivarius to play Mozart -- and Michael Jackson.
"I always loved his performances because as a lot of classical musicians are perfectionists, he was," said Garrett of the late singer. "He was really one of those people who was really old school, always looking for better performances. [He was] definitely a big influence [on me]."

Recorded before Jackson's death, Garrett's "Smooth Criminal" cover appears on his self-titled debut album, which has enjoyed three weeks atop the classical crossover charts since its release last month on Decca Records.

As comfortable playing Bach's "Air on the G String" as he is Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (both of which appear on the album), Garrett makes no bones about the fact he's trying to attract a younger audience to classical music by injecting shots of rock and pop.

Already a celebrated artist in Europe and Asia, the 28-year-old worked his way into the spotlight in the United States with help from his PBS special "Live in Berlin."

And his chiseled jawline and playful blond ponytail seem to help sway the female contingent. After spotting him recently on NBC's "Today Show," actress Kirstie Alley declared on Twitter that Garrett was her new crush.

But she'd better get moving if she wants to keep up with him. Garrett, who studied with renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman at New York's Juilliard School, recently set a record as the world's fastest violinist, a feat to be documented in 2010's Guinness Book of World Records. He played "Flight of the Bumblebee" in a dizzying 66 seconds.
Put another way, that's 13 notes per second. Really.

David Garrett recently dropped by CNN and shared his (humble) theory of why he often gets called the "David Beckham of classical music" and why he thinks the genre has failed to enthuse young music listeners in the past.

CNN: So who's cooler: Mozart or Metallica?

David Garrett: Oh they're both in my world very, very cool. And they both have a huge influence on my performance and what I play on stage.

CNN: When you mix pop and rock with classical music as you do, do you get the cold shoulder from classical purists?

Garrett: About 70 percent of my concertizing is core classical. So most of them know that I've been pretty much a very conservative classical artist all my life. ... I just use these semi-classical works in order to get younger people interested in what I do when I play the Beethoven, the Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, which is a big piece of my heart.

Read more of the interview here on CNN.

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