Text and photographs by Keith Rutowski
As far as orchestras go, the Brooklyn Philharmonic is in a category by itself. Over the last several years, the freelancer-composed ensemble has displayed an uncanny ability to sate even the most adventurous of musical palettes. Now, it seems that music director Michael Christie has taken another bold step in a largely untrodden realm of musical collaborations. Last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Christie led the first installment of Shuffle Mode, a series that showcases classically trained musicians from diverse backgrounds performing alongside the BP.
The lively, two-hour inaugural performance deftly muted the line between instrumental rock, chamber pop, and orchestral grandeur, and seamlessly incorporated the musicians’ mélange of tastes and origins. Montreal-based band Bell Orchestre traded off with Brooklyn’s Clogs, which was led by Aussie multi-instrumentalist Padma Newsome. The night’s set list covered everything from original work to renditions penned by the masters, including a stirring piece by the Hungarian composer Bartók. To top it off, everyone’s favorite purveyor of modern Americana, Sufjan Stevens, stopped by for a one-song guest performance. Eclectic? We’d say so.
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