Heavy Metal Violin Concerto

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Heavy metal violin concerto is a phrase you don’t hear often, but that’s what the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine will be performing. The name of the piece is “Dependent Arising.” We hear about the performance from Pine and Phoenix Symphony conductor Tito Munoz.

TED SIMONS: HEAVY METAL VIOLIN CONCERTO IS A PHRASE YOU DON'T HEAR OFTEN BUT THAT IS WHAT THE PHOENIX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND ACCLAIMED VIOLINIST RACHEL BARTON PINE WILL BE PERFORMING THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. THE NAME OF THE PIECE "DEPENDENT ARISING."

TED SIMONS: AND HERE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE IS RACHEL BARTON PINE AND PHOENIX SYMPHONY CONDUCTOR TITO MUNOS. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: ALWAYS GREAT TO BE BACK IN PHOENIX ESPECIALLY THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE FROM CHICAGO, RIGHT.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: YES.

TED SIMONS: DEPENDENT HORIZON. HEAVY METAL VIOLIN CONCERTO. WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: THE WORLD'S FIRST. WELL, CLASSICAL MUSIC HAS A LONG HISTORY THROUGH THE CENTURIES OF DRAWING UPON RHYTHMIC AND MELODIC INFLUENCES OF VARIOUS TYPES OF FOLK MUSIC AND POPULAR MUSIC FROM ITS TIME AND PLACE WHETHER IT IS CZECH OR HUNGARIAN MUSIC OR 20TH CENTURY COMPOSURES INCLUDING INFLUENCES OF JAZZ IN THEIR CLASSICAL MUSIC. SO IT MADE SENSE WITH HEAVY METAL BEING SUCH A LONG STANDING AND SOPHISTICATED SET OF SUB GENERAS WITHIN ROCK MUSIC AND IT IS SOMETHING THE COMPOSER AND I REALLY SHARE A LOVE OF AND IT WAS TIME.

TED SIMONS: I GUESS SO, YOU ARE NOT JUST TALKING GARDEN VARIETY HEAVY METAL BUT YOU ARE TALKING BITS OF THRASH METAL AND GRIND.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: NO '80s HAIR BANDS AND ALL THAT.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE CONDUCTOR IS CONCERNED, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, SOME OF THE MORE STRIDENT VERSIONS THEY ARE MORE PRECISION ORIENTED AND VERY SIMILAR TO CLASSICAL MUSIC.

TITO MUNOS: ACTUALLY IT IS INTERESTING. A LOT OF THE MUSIC IS EXTRAORDINARILY SOPHISTICATED AND VERY DIFFICULT RHYTHMICALLY. A LOT OF MUSICIANS ARE SELF TAUGHT AND ALL OF THEM ARE NOT NECESSARILY CLASSICALLY TRAINED. BUT THEY ARE ALL EXTRAORDINARILY TALENTED AND THEY HAVE THIS RHYTHMIC LANGUAGE THAT I THINK CLASSICAL MUSICIANS FIND IT DIFFICULT TO TAKE IN.

TED SIMONS: I WAS ABOUT TO SAY WHAT KIND OF REACTION ARE YOU GETTING FROM CLASSICAL MUSICIANS WHO LOOK AT THIS AND SEE SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT?

TITO MUNOS: IT IS FUN, THAT'S FOR SURE. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT SOMETHING THEY SEE EVERY DAY. WE HAD A REHEARSAL THIS MORNING AND THEY DID A GREAT JOB AND I THINK THEY ARE REALLY ENJOYING IT.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS YOUR PLAYING IS CONCERNED DOES IT DIFFER AT ALL? YOU HAVE GOT TO PLAY NOTES AND YOU HAVE GOT TO PLAY IT AT A CERTAIN TIME BUT OTHER THAN THAT CAN YOU FEEL THE DIFFERENCE?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: ABSOLUTELY. I THINK ESPECIALLY AS THE FIRST INTERPRETER OF THIS CONCERTO, WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY HAVE A LONG LIFE PAST US. THE FACT I DO LISTEN A LOT TO THE MUSIC THAT FORMS THE ROOTS OF THIS PIECE CERTAINLY HELPS ME TO GET THE RIGHT FEEL MORE READILY. ONCE MY RECORDING IS OUT THERE, THEN EVERYBODY ELSE JUST CAN PLAY THE CLASSICAL MUSIC WHETHER OR NOT THEY KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM. IT IS REALLY COMING FULL CIRCLE BECAUSE A LOT OF THE GREAT METAL MUSICIANS WERE INSPIRED BY CLASSICAL MUSIC.

TED SIMONS: INTERESTING. CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, FOR THIS PARTICULAR PIECE, IS THE VIOLIN KIND OF THE LEAD SINGER?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: WELL, LEAD GUITARIST. THERE IS A LOT OF RIFFING AND SHREDDING AS WE WOULD SAY.

TED SIMONS: WITH LEAD SINGERS IN HEAVY METAL YOU HAVE OZZY OSBOURNES WHO ARE WAY IN THE BACK IN THE MIX. THEN YOU GOT SCREAMERS BELTERS AND SHOUTERS WHO ARE WAY UP FRONT IN THE MIX. IF YOU ARE THE LEAD GUITARIST YOU ARE IN THE FRONT THE MIX WHOLE TIME.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: ABSOLUTELY, BUT IT IS NOT LIKE THE ORCHESTRA IS POLITELY ACCOMPANYING THIS STRUGGLE. THAT IS WHAT IS INTERESTING ABOUT THIS BECAUSE IT DEFINITELY IS INTERACTIVE BUT IT IS ALSO THE VIOLINIST HAS TO FIGHT FOR ITS DOMINANCE.

TED SIMONS: IS THAT DIFFERENT THAN USUAL VIOLIN CONCERTOS OR IS IT ALWAYS A GIVE AND TAKE IN TRYNG TO FIGURE OUT WHO IS IN CONTROL?

TITO MUNOS: IT IS DIFFERENT IN THIS CASE BECAUSE THERE IS A CERTAIN TENSION THAT IS REQUIRED IN THIS KIND OF GENERA OF MUSIC THAT MAY NOT APPEAR IN MOST OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC. YOU HAVE A SYMPHONY FOR THE CELLO AND ORCHESTRA. THERE IS DEFINITELY AND INTERPLAY AND THE CELLO IS DEFINITELY USED AS PART OF THE ENSEMBLE. IN THIS CASE THE MUSIC IS SO AGGRESSIVE, THAT SOMETIMES IT IS AESTHETICALLY BETTER TO HAVE THIS FIGHT BETWEEN THE SOLOIST AND THE ORCHESTRA TO HAVE THE FIGHTING FOR THE DOMINANCE OF THE TEXTURE.

TED SIMONS: IN THE REHEARSAL SO FAR HAVE YOU HEARD THAT FIGHT?

OH, YEAH, DEFINITELY. IT IS A DIFFERENT ASCETIC. THE WAY THEY PLAY HAS TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN THEY ARE NORMALLY USED TO. AT THE SAME TIME THEY HAVE TO BE SENSITIVE AND IT IS STILL A CLASSICAL PIECE.

TED SIMONS: THAT IS AN INTERESTING POINT AND THIS IS STILL CLASSICAL MUSIC.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: YES, THAT CROSS OVER.

TED SIMONS: I WAS GOING TO ASK THAT BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES YOU SEE THAT AND THE ROCK CROWD TURNS UP THEIR NOSE AND SAYS THIS ISN'T THE REAL DEAL AND THE CLASSICAL CROWD SAYS I DON'T QUITE UNDERSTAND THIS. THIS SOUNDS DIFFERENT.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: I THINK THE APPROACH THAT EARL CHOSE TO TAKE MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF SENSE. HE IS TAKING THIS PARTICULAR CLASS OF NON-CLASSICAL MUSIC BUT ELEVATING IT TO HIGH ART. THIS PIECE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC THAT JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE CERTAIN INFLUENCES AS MANY CLASSICAL PIECES HAVE. SO IT IS A PURE PIECE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD WHAT THE ROOTS ARE ARE JUST GOING TO HERE IT AS A PIECE THAT THE ORCHESTRA IS PLAYING AND A REALLY EXCITING INTERESTING PIECE OF MUSIC.

TED SIMONS: YOU MENTIONED EARL, WHO IS EARL?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: EARL IS THE COMPOSER.

TED SIMONS: WHEN EARL CAME TO YOU. DO YOU GO TO EARL? DID EARL COME TO YOU? HOW DID YOU TWO TO GET TOGETHER?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: SO BASICALLY, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW VIOLINISTS IN ALL OF AMERICA WHO ARE REALLY INTO EXTREME METAL. YOU CAN COUNT THEM ON ONE HAND AND EARL AND I ARE TWO OF THEM AND WE MET THROUGH A MUTAL FRIEND WHO IS ANOTHER ONE OF THEM. I ASKED EARL TO WRITE ME A CLASSICAL PIECE FOR SOLO VIOLIN ALONE, WHICH I HAVE ACTUALLY PREFORMED HERE IN PHOENIX AT THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM BY THE WAY. IT IS A REALLY COOL PIECE BECAUSE I LOVED WHAT HE WAS DOING WITH HIS BAND. HE PLAYS SIX STRING ELECTRIC VIOLIN WITH A BAND IN NEW YORK AND I WANTED SOMETHING LIKE THAT BUT WRITEN FOR MY FOUR STRING ACOUSTIC THAT I COULD USE IN CLASSICAL CONCERT. HE CAME UP WITH THIS AMAZING PIECE AND I HAPPENED TO PERFORM IT IN NEW YORK WHEN TIDO WAS IN THE AUDIENCE AND TITO LIKED THIS PIECE SO MUCH AND ASKED EARL TO WRITE A CONCERTO FOR THE PHOENIX SYMPHONY AND ME.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU SAW THE SCORE AND YOU FIRST HEARD THE REHEARSAL YOUR THOUGHTS?

TITO MUNOS: I HAVE BEEN LIVING WITH THIS PIECE FOR A LONG TIME. EARL AND I HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE UNDERGRADUATE. I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING HIM AND PART OF HIS MUSICAL LIFE FOR A LONG TIME. THIS WAS SOMETHING I WAS VERY INTERESTED IN SEEING WHAT HE COULD DO WITH. IT IS INTERESTING TO HEAR HIS INCREDIBLE VOICE AND TALENT BEING UTILIZED IN THIS WAY. SO I AM JUST ECSTATIC BECAUSE IT IS REALLY A CULMINATION OF A LOT OF THINGS.

TED SIMONS: FOR CLASSICAL NOVELISTS WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS AND GO WATCH AND FOR CLASSICAL MUSICAL TRADITIONALISTS WHO ARE NOT QUITE SURE WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO GET WHAT DO YOU LOOK OR LISTEN FOR?

TITO MUNOS I DON'T THINK YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ANY OF THAT. I THINK YOU JUST NEED TO SHOW UP AND YOU WILL GET IT RIGHT AWAY FOR SURE.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: AND ENJOY IT.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU GET RIGHT AWAY WHAT ARE YOU GETTING?

TITO MUNOS: YOU ARE GETTING A PIECE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC THAT IS IN THAT STYLE AND VOICE AND IT IS AGGRESSIVE AND IT IS VERY INTROVERTED. IT HAS A LOT OF IDEAS BEHIND, YOU KNOW, EARL'S LOVE OF CLASSICAL AND METAL AND EVEN HIS SPIRITUAL IDEAS IN BUDDHISM. HE INCLUDES THAT IN HIS PIECE AND SO YOU GET THIS VERY WILD RIDE.

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE HAD A STORIED CAREER YOU ARE QUITE THE ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN BUT YOU ARE VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN GROWING CLASSICAL MUSIC ESPECIALLY WITH YOUNG FOLKS AND DIVERSE GROUPS. TALK TO US ABOUT THAT.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: I THINK IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO SPREAD CLASSICAL MUSIC WHERE EVER I CAN. THERE IS LOTS OF FUN KINDS OF MUSIC THAT EXISTS BUT CLASSICAL JUST GOES SO DEEP AND NURTURES THEIR SPIRIT AND UPLIFTS US AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN TO HAVE MUSIC IN THEIR LIVES. WHENEVER I AM TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD, I ALWAYS GO AND WORK WITH KIDS AND HAVE MY OWN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION THAT SUPPORTS INSPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS.

TED SIMONS: IS IT DIFFICULT SOMETIMES TO GET KIDS PAST THE POP AND INTO THE CLASSICAL?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: NOT AT ALL. CLASSICAL SELLS ITSELF. IT IS JUST A QUESTION OF ACCESS. IF YOU CAN PROVIDE LESSONS, PROVIDE INSTRUMENTS, PROVIDE LISTENING OPPORTUNITIES. I SAY THIS AS A HEAVY METAL FAN WHO GOES TO LOUD CONCERTS. THERE IS NOTHING MORE EXCITING THAN CLASSICAL MUSIC. IT IS THE COOLEST STUFF THERE IS.

TED SIMONS: FOR SOMEONE RIGHT NOW WHO IS VERY INTERESTED IN THIS BUT ALSO IS INTERESTED IN THE MORE TRADITIONAL STUFF THAT MIGHT HAVE A HEAVY METAL OR ROCK TINT TO IT.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: WELL ACTUALLY, MY NEW ALBUM COMING OUT NEXT MONTH IS THE COMPLETE UNACCOMPANIED WORKS OF NICCOLO PAGANINI WHO WAS OF COURSE THE WORLD'S FIRST ROCK STAR 200 YEARS AGO EARLY 1800'S. HE HAD LONG HAIR, DRESSED ALL IN BLACK, LOTS OF GROUPIES. SUPPOSEDLY SOLD HIS SOLE FOR HIS AMAZING CHOPS. THIS GUY WAS SOMEBODY WHO WAS ALWAYS IN THE GOSSIP COLUMNS AND WROTE GORGEOUS MELODIES AND TOOK TECHNIQUE ON THE VIOLIN THAT HAD NEVER BEEN ACHIEVED. SO IT IS LIKE THE FIRST FIGURE SKATER TO LAND A TRIPLE JUMP, THAT WAS HIM.

TED SIMONS: ROCK STAR INDEED, WE WILL ASK YOU TO CLOSE OUT WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO PLAY FOR US TO CLOSE OUT THE SHOW?

RACHEL BARTON PINE: WELL, I HAVE TO PLAY A LITTLE OF THE EARL CONCERTO HERE.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE HEAVY METAL SHREDDING HERE IN A SECOND.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: CLASSICAL MUSIC AS YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU AGAIN SO MUCH FOR JOINING US WE REALLY DO APPRECIATE IT AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE PERFORMANCE. WHILE SHE GETS READY, AND WE GET READY FOR THAT, BEFORE YOU GO, HOW ARE THE TRADITIONALISTS TAKING THIS? ARE THEY READY FOR THIS?

TITO MUNOS: FOR SURE, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL IN MY TIME WITH THE ORCHESTRA, THIS IS MY THIRD YEAR, IS I HAVE BEEN DOING A LOT OF AMERICAN MUSIC OF ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF INFLUENCES AND GENRES AND IT HAS BEEN WONDERFUL TO SEE THE AUDIENCES REALLY TRUST US AND TAKE IN ALL OF THIS NEW STUFF.

WELL IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. LET'S GET TO RACHEL BARTON PINE BECAUSE SHE HAS A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR US.
[HEAVY METAL VIOLIN MUSIC PLAYING]

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Tito Munoz: Phoenix Symphony conductor, Rachel Barton Pine: acclaimed violinist performing in Dependent Arising

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