Classical music’s blurred boundaries

Anna Meredith, Pekka Kuusisto and Ilan Volkov

Anna Meredith, Pekka Kuusisto and Ilan Volkov

The ‘classical music’ label is proving outdated for many of today’s creative artists who thrive on the ever-decreasing gap between the art form and other music genres, writes Kate Molleson

A case study. Last summer on the shores of Lake Tuusula in Finland, at ‘Our Festival’ directed by the violinist Pekka Kuusisto, I heard a performance of Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet with singer/songwriter Laura Moisio interspersing warped pop songs about love and hurt between the movements. The previous day, when it was announced composer Einojuhani Rautavaara had died, Kuusisto walked on stage alone and played a solemn traditional Finnish polska. That night he blazed his way through the gypsy dances of Bartók’s Contrasts with a rugged, unapologetic virtuosity. ‘Our Festival is gentle,’ Kuusisto wrote in his manifesto. ‘Our Festival wants to invent new flexible forms for concerts, where the message is more important than dress codes or good behaviour.’ Full story.

Kate Molleson (Gramophone) / June 27, 2017

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