Summit Right Brain: Combining Beethoven with Britney Spears, Spinphony takes the stage in Silverthorne
IF YOU GO
When: Thursday, Oct. 27; show starts at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. when guests can view a pre-concert art exhibition
Where: Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne
Cost: Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and are available at summitmusicandarts.org. Costume party dress is welcome, and the best costume will win a $100 gift certificate to Sauce on the Blue
It’s not typical to hear mention of the artists Beethoven and Britney Spears in the same sentence, but as violinist Brett Omara describes the sound of the string quartet Spinphony, she does just that. The Denver-based group gives classical music a modern edge, created with the intent to reach a wide audience.
“I wanted to expose classical audiences to something new that they might not necessarily hear that could be fun,” Omara, the founder and composer of the group, said. “But really, a very important thing, I wanted to expose younger people who aren’t listening to classical music anymore and think it’s kind of dying, I wanted to expose them to classical music because it’s so great, a lot of it. The melodies are so catchy.”
Presented by Summit Music and Arts and the town of Silverthorne, Spinphony will play the Silverthorne Pavilion on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, and can be found at http://www.summitmusicandarts.org or by calling (970) 389-5788.
Spinphony — an all-female electric string quartet with Omara, Anna Morris on violin, Michaela Borth on 5 string, and Hillary Flowers on cello — stick to their roots with the classics from Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, creating mash-ups with pop hits like AC/DC’s “Back in Black” or Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” As instrumental musicians — think Lindsey Stirling — gain popularity, these virtuosic string players show it doesn’t take the traditional band setup to create a full sound.
“Someone recently wrote that classical music was the pop music of its day and age,” Omara said. “Bach was like the pop star of his day and age, and I think people have this idea that classical music is like going to sleep or studying — a lot of young people — where it can be super exciting and very interesting to listen to.”
Spinphony will soon be releasing their first full-length album, “Toccatastruck,” consisting of classical rock mash-ups and several original tunes. Backed entirely by a Kickstarter campaign, the release date is Dec. 3.
Summit Daily News: This group is a unique concept. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Brett Omara: I would describe it as sort of high-energy instrumental music. It’s really a combination of a lot of different genres. … There are a lot more instrumental groups becoming mainstream pop groups now. It’s a pop instrumental group. Pop baroque is a fun word we like to use. … It’s not your standard classical ensemble, and yet we do like to stay close to our roots. We all played in orchestras previously. … We love that music so it’s all woven in, and you’ll hear that throughout the show.
SDN: Do you feel each member of the group complements each other?
BO: We are very close, people ask us if we are sisters all the time, at least three of us because we look similar. The thing with a string quartet is that it really can’t exist without one part. The way it’s written, it’s like a band, you can’t have a rock band without the drummer, so it’s same thing. Each part is really important. The cello holds down the bass notes in my arrangements. I am violin one, I do a lot of the lead parts, lead vocal parts, and violin two and viola take a lot of the guitar parts and keyboard parts. So I’m talking about when I do the arrangements, when I’m writing them I have to take the pop songs and put them into strings, transform them. Each part is really important.
SDN: How did you get into playing the violin?
BO: I started when I was 4. We all started really young, we added up how many years we together have all been playing, it’s like 140 or something years, it’s crazy.
SDN: To what would you attribute your success?
BO: I think a lot of our success is the concept, it’s very unique. When we play at festivals and places, we are the only group doing that. There are a lot of bands doing the same music so everyone’s always drawn to the stage because it’s so different. … I think the second piece is the energy in the show; it’s really high energy. We are performers, we perform more in the style of rock group so we’re jumping around the stage, and doing choreography, and I think that’s really fun for people to see an all-girls string quartet jumping around the stage like that.
SDN: You’ve worked with many musicians and orchestras, performed on TV and in well-known performance halls, is there any one experience that really stands out in your career?
BO: One just happened recently. Last weekend we performed with the Pueblo Symphony. For the first time we orchestrated our music for an entire symphony, basically taking all a symphony’s quartet arrangements and writing parts for a full orchestra, which was a really big thing to do. … We performed backed by a symphony, we were the soloist in the front, and we had the whole symphony playing behind us. That was just this monumental moment for me, I think hearing your original music played by that many people is incredible.
SDN: Do you feel you have an agenda when it comes to writing music?
BO: I’m trying to stick in the style of it and write music that is relevant and choose things that I think will be effective to reaching people. My writing style … I kind of just go for it when I have the inspiration and then it will be a month or two when I don’t write. … The whole idea behind pop baroque, and that concept, that’s really what I’m trying to stick to and stay in that style. I went through a phase of working on more pop hits, like we did an “Uptown Funk” mash-up, and I realized there’s really not a lot of music I want to do arrangements of that’s coming out now unfortunately, so I’m kind of going back to older music now.
SDN: What inspires you?
BO: The ideas come to me, I spend a lot of time in my car driving and I’ll listen to a lot of Spotify or radio with rock top songs and I’ll do a lot of listening and get a lot of ideas from there. As far as the original pieces, those just kind of come to you, I think that’s what any composer would say, the melodies just pop into your head and you jot them down, and then there’s this whole process of writing where you sketch everything out and you have to go in and make it work together. Coming up with the idea is really easy, and then making it all work, the mash-ups work, making the parts work, is hard.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.