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MTV For Classical Music Lovers, Live!

Audio

Aired 3/15/11

Imagine an MTV for classical music lovers, performed live! Such is the experience of a Luscious Noise concert at Anthology.

Luscious Noise Concert

Luscious Noise performs this Sunday, March 20th at 7:30 pm at the club Anthology in Little Italy.

Imagine an MTV for classical music lovers, performed live! Such is the experience of a Luscious Noise concert at Anthology.

Guest:

John Stubbs is the founder/conductor of Luscious Noise and a violinist with the San Diego Symphony.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. When you go to a concert with a light show and multimedia elements, you usually expect arena rock music or at the very least, an inventive indie rock band. What you don't expect ask a classical music concert. But now a group consisting of San Diego symphony musicians is putting a new face on classical music, the luscious noise ensemble using elements of dance, song, and video in hopes of creating the future of live classical music. I'd like to introduce my guest, John Stubbs is the founder, conductor of luscious noise. And violinist with the San Diego symphony. John, good morning and welcome to These Days.

STUBBS: Good morning to you, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Now, you were inspired to create luscious noise while walking around little Italy with some friends of how kid that inspiration come?

STUBBS: That was part of it. Actually, I had been planning it for a while. Falling in of with the space Anthology. And coincidentally, a couple of musician friends of mine, we were walking around little Italy and walked into a furniture store. And the young gentleman that saw us that was waiting on us saw our instruments and said oh, do you play here in town? Yes, we're with the San Diego symphony. Oh, well I used to go to the Seattle symphony when I lived in Seattle. I haven't been to the symphony here in town and 'cause I'm a little bit intimidated by going to symphony hall. I said oh, really. Would you feel comfortable by going to hear us at Anthology he was like yes, they'd be great! So I knew I was onto something about trying to get a different audience in to hear classical music in a different kind of space.

CAVANAUGH: Now, there's been an awful lot of talk, a lot of people thinking about how to bring in new audiences for classical music. Was that one of your -- aside from the one conversation you had, had that been a concern of yours?

STUBBS: That's been a concern of mine for a long time. But what got me originally interested was going to Anthology and seeing one of my favorite local rock and roll bands there, and it was the first time I had been thea the space. And I was just so overwhelmed by how beautiful it was, how connected it was with multimedia, just ready to go, great food, great drinks, and I had such a good time. And I started thinking about wanting to present something in that space. And then I was trying to think about, well, what could I present there?

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: I thought oh, chamber music. Let's do a chamber music concert here. And then I thought, a traditional chamber music concert might not work there, people sitting there eating with their silverware and clinging their drinks. And I was afraid that they would feel like oh, we have to pay attention to everything that's going on on stage. And I didn't think that would be the best format for it. So I started just dreaming up what would work there with classical music? And so I sort of was actually inspired by classic arts showcase that's on the local public access station late at night.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, I've seen that. Yes.

STUBBS: Not many people have heard about it, and you have to suffer through the City Council meetings to get to the end to see the classic arts showcase.

CAVANAUGH: I don't know what this says about us, but I know about it, and they have videos that accompany the music.

STUBBS: They have little -- well, you know, it's just like MTV for classical people.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, right.

STUBBS: They've got oh, a little ballet, a little this, a little that. So I started thinking, oh, that would be a way to do something. Present some live music. And then in between little live segments, have many a classic movie segment, a classic ballet segment video up on the big screen that they have there. And I thought that would be a way to kind of break up the flow of the evening so that they wouldn't -- so that people would feel comfortable about eating and drinking and not feel like they have to put everything down and just focus on the stage. So it could be just a little more casual, relaxed kind of thing.

CAVANAUGH: And the interludes, the song elements, the video elements, the dance elements that you bring in to the luscious noise concerts, they don't necessarily have to have anything literally to do with the music that's on the program. That's how I understand it.

STUBBS: Right. I've gotten kind of away from the idea of coming up with an all encompassing theme for the entire evening. I've gone more like the -- oh, like the chefs of nowadays of interesting pairings, and things just seem to flow better that way. It opens my mind a little better than trying to restrict it to one theme.

CAVANAUGH: So tell us a little bit about Sunday's show. First you will have a choir performing with the musicians.

STUBBS: Yes. I met a gentleman what's in the choir here several years ago, Sacra Profana, and he was very interested in working on the show, doing something on the show. His name -- the founder of it is Krishan Oberoi, so he will be bringing his choir in on Sunday. And we were trying to particular out something to perform, and Villalobos has this series of pieces, the Brachianas, Brazilieras, and number nine happens to be for string orchestra or choir. And that actually struck me as found to actually do both versions. Do the string version and then do the choir version so they audience can see how they both work.

CAVANAUGH: And you're also gonna be performing Gustav Holst, a fugal concerto.

STUBBS: A fugal concerto for flute and oboe, featuring principle flutist Demarre McGill, and principle oboist Sarah Schuster.

CAVANAUGH: Let's give our listeners a taste of that. This is an excerpt from the last movement of Holst's a Fugal Concerto.

(Audio Recording Played.

CAVANAUGH: This is an excerpt of a fugal concerto for flute and oboe by Gustav hotels. It's one of the selections that's gonna be performed by Luscious Noise at a concert this Sunday at the club, Anthology. My guest is John Stubbs, he's founder conductor of luscious noise. And you're right, John, you know, you don't think about having dessert with that music. It's a different sort of a mind set.

STUBBS: Right. Exactly.

CAVANAUGH: Now, you talk about the video elements that you've included in the shows, luscious noise concerts. Tell us about the video elements starting with Stanley Kubrick that we're gonna be seeing on Sunday.

STUBBS: Well, another piece that the choir will be performing, that they just recently performed in one of their own concerts was a piece by György Ligeti, called the Lux Aeterna, and it happens to be part of the score that Stanley Kubrick used in 2001, so I thought a nice way to follow that up would be the blue Danube sequence from 2001. So just a little taste of 2001 with the space shuttle going up to the space station to the sounds of it is blue Danube.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. Who doesn't remember that scene? That's fabulous.

STUBBS: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: And a scene from a documentary about Antonio Gaudi?

STUBBS: Yes. Yes. A favorite Japanese film maker of mine is Hiroshi Ishi Teshigahara. He did a film called woman in the dunes. Well, his father of an architect. So Hiroshi was always interested in architecture, and Antonio Gaudi is one of the more famous architects of the world. So he did a documentary on him. And he used his long time composer, Toro Takumitsu, did the music to the documentary. So I'm just showing a little wit of that so that the people can see some of Antonio Gaudi's work.

CAVANAUGH: Now, do you ever have live dance as part of these performances?

STUBBS: Yes, my wife Denise Dabrowski was on my very first show. And she also appeared recently in the January show.

CAVANAUGH: I'm wondering, do you get any sort of -- oh, I don't know, outraged comments from people who like to take their classical music on a very elevated level?

STUBBS: Well, that's not the audience I'm going for.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

STUBBS: I'm actually going for people that wouldn't normally come to a classical show. That's who I'm gearing this towards. And if classical lovers do come, I'm sure they'll enjoy it. But I've never had any -- you know, I've never had any negative feedback from people just wanting to go see a regular classical concert.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: 'Cause it's a different kind of space.

CAVANAUGH: What's it like for the musicians?

STUBBS: I hope it's fun for them. And there's an element of -- well, musicians are used to a tradition of going into somebody's home and maybe -- and just reading chamber music. And it's really fun for the people in the homes to be sitting there, so close to the musicians and hearing them site read music. That's part of the I think this, of let's get together and just site read some music. This is this a little different than that. Of we get one rehearsal, but only one rehearsal, and so for the musicians, it's -- we've all read through it the day before. And then that night, there's this extra sense of excitement because they have to be really on their tows, but on the other hand, it's kind of like we're at a big dinner party and just kind of having fun with the music we're performing and just, you know, the audience is going to enjoy it, and the musicians are having fun.

CAVANAUGH: How about putting it together technically? Do you have more than one rehearsal for that, or is it sort of like this you know what's supposed to go there, so that's just what happens when it happens?

STUBBS: That's exactly it. I have a -- I put something together in a program that's like power point, and I've got slides where -- that announces the tunes as they come up. And so I have it all mapped out and we just make sure the musicians get on stage in time, we have to make sure they get out of the green room.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: And get down the elevator.

CAVANAUGH: Do you really see this multimedia aspect of this as the future of classical music? Do you see something like this perhaps happening in symphony halls?

STUBBS: Not necessarily. Again, this is a way to reach out and hopefully expose people, hopefully get their interest so that they will actually attend a regular concert at symphony hall.

CAVANAUGH: Is there any kind of regret that you have that this is -- this is the thing that must be done to reach out with this kind of music? Or is it satisfying in some way that you can use all these elements in combination to provide a night of great artistic creativity?

STUBBS: Well, going back to the classic arts showcase, that has been an amazing education for me to see all of these classic performances. So I think it's of benefit to everybody to come check that out.

CAVANAUGH: Check it out and see what it's like.

STUBBS: Yeah, yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I want to let everybody know that they can see what it's like. Luscious noise performs this Sunday, it's March 20th, at 730 at the club Anthology in little Italy. And John Stubbs, thank you so much.

STUBBS: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: I've been speaking with John Stubbs, founder conductor of luscious noise, and a violinist with the San Diego symphony. If you would like to comment, please go on-line, KPBS.org/These Days. And stay with us for hour two of These Days coming up in just a few minutes, right here on KPBS.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. When you go to a concert with a light show and multimedia elements, you usually expect arena rock music or at the very least, an inventive indie rock band. What you don't expect ask a classical music concert. But now a group consisting of San Diego symphony musicians is putting a new face on classical music, the luscious noise ensemble using elements of dance, song, and video in hopes of creating the future of live classical music. I'd like to introduce my guest, John Stubbs is the founder, conductor of luscious noise. And violinist with the San Diego symphony. John, good morning and welcome to These Days.

STUBBS: Good morning to you, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: Now, you were inspired to create luscious noise while walking around little Italy with some friends of how kid that inspiration come?

STUBBS: That was part of it. Actually, I had been planning it for a while. Falling in of with the space Anthology. And coincidentally, a couple of musician friends of mine, we were walking around little Italy and walked into a furniture store. And the young gentleman that saw us that was waiting on us saw our instruments and said oh, do you play here in town? Yes, we're with the San Diego symphony. Oh, well I used to go to the Seattle symphony when I lived in Seattle. I haven't been to the symphony here in town and 'cause I'm a little bit intimidated by going to symphony hall. I said oh, really. Would you feel comfortable by going to hear us at Anthology he was like yes, they'd be great! So I knew I was onto something about trying to get a different audience in to hear classical music in a different kind of space.

CAVANAUGH: Now, there's been an awful lot of talk, a lot of people thinking about how to bring in new audiences for classical music. Was that one of your -- aside from the one conversation you had, had that been a concern of yours?

STUBBS: That's been a concern of mine for a long time. But what got me originally interested was going to Anthology and seeing one of my favorite local rock and roll bands there, and it was the first time I had been thea the space. And I was just so overwhelmed by how beautiful it was, how connected it was with multimedia, just ready to go, great food, great drinks, and I had such a good time. And I started thinking about wanting to present something in that space. And then I was trying to think about, well, what could I present there?

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: I thought oh, chamber music. Let's do a chamber music concert here. And then I thought, a traditional chamber music concert might not work there, people sitting there eating with their silverware and clinging their drinks. And I was afraid that they would feel like oh, we have to pay attention to everything that's going on on stage. And I didn't think that would be the best format for it. So I started just dreaming up what would work there with classical music? And so I sort of was actually inspired by classic arts showcase that's on the local public access station late at night.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, I've seen that. Yes.

STUBBS: Not many people have heard about it, and you have to suffer through the City Council meetings to get to the end to see the classic arts showcase.

CAVANAUGH: I don't know what this says about us, but I know about it, and they have videos that accompany the music.

STUBBS: They have little -- well, you know, it's just like MTV for classical people.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, right.

STUBBS: They've got oh, a little ballet, a little this, a little that. So I started thinking, oh, that would be a way to do something. Present some live music. And then in between little live segments, have many a classic movie segment, a classic ballet segment video up on the big screen that they have there. And I thought that would be a way to kind of break up the flow of the evening so that they wouldn't -- so that people would feel comfortable about eating and drinking and not feel like they have to put everything down and just focus on the stage. So it could be just a little more casual, relaxed kind of thing.

CAVANAUGH: And the interludes, the song elements, the video elements, the dance elements that you bring in to the luscious noise concerts, they don't necessarily have to have anything literally to do with the music that's on the program. That's how I understand it.

STUBBS: Right. I've gotten kind of away from the idea of coming up with an all encompassing theme for the entire evening. I've gone more like the -- oh, like the chefs of nowadays of interesting pairings, and things just seem to flow better that way. It opens my mind a little better than trying to restrict it to one theme.

CAVANAUGH: So tell us a little bit about Sunday's show. First you will have a choir performing with the musicians.

STUBBS: Yes. I met a gentleman what's in the choir here several years ago, Sacra Profana, and he was very interested in working on the show, doing something on the show. His name -- the founder of it is Krishan Oberoi, so he will be bringing his choir in on Sunday. And we were trying to particular out something to perform, and Villalobos has this series of pieces, the Brachianas, Brazilieras, and number nine happens to be for string orchestra or choir. And that actually struck me as found to actually do both versions. Do the string version and then do the choir version so they audience can see how they both work.

CAVANAUGH: And you're also gonna be performing Gustav Holst, a fugal concerto.

STUBBS: A fugal concerto for flute and oboe, featuring principle flutist Demarre McGill, and principle oboist Sarah Schuster.

CAVANAUGH: Let's give our listeners a taste of that. This is an excerpt from the last movement of Holst's a Fugal Concerto.

(Audio Recording Played.

CAVANAUGH: This is an excerpt of a fugal concerto for flute and oboe by Gustav hotels. It's one of the selections that's gonna be performed by Luscious Noise at a concert this Sunday at the club, Anthology. My guest is John Stubbs, he's founder conductor of luscious noise. And you're right, John, you know, you don't think about having dessert with that music. It's a different sort of a mind set.

STUBBS: Right. Exactly.

CAVANAUGH: Now, you talk about the video elements that you've included in the shows, luscious noise concerts. Tell us about the video elements starting with Stanley Kubrick that we're gonna be seeing on Sunday.

STUBBS: Well, another piece that the choir will be performing, that they just recently performed in one of their own concerts was a piece by György Ligeti, called the Lux Aeterna, and it happens to be part of the score that Stanley Kubrick used in 2001, so I thought a nice way to follow that up would be the blue Danube sequence from 2001. So just a little taste of 2001 with the space shuttle going up to the space station to the sounds of it is blue Danube.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. Who doesn't remember that scene? That's fabulous.

STUBBS: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: And a scene from a documentary about Antonio Gaudi?

STUBBS: Yes. Yes. A favorite Japanese film maker of mine is Hiroshi Ishi Teshigahara. He did a film called woman in the dunes. Well, his father of an architect. So Hiroshi was always interested in architecture, and Antonio Gaudi is one of the more famous architects of the world. So he did a documentary on him. And he used his long time composer, Toro Takumitsu, did the music to the documentary. So I'm just showing a little wit of that so that the people can see some of Antonio Gaudi's work.

CAVANAUGH: Now, do you ever have live dance as part of these performances?

STUBBS: Yes, my wife Denise Dabrowski was on my very first show. And she also appeared recently in the January show.

CAVANAUGH: I'm wondering, do you get any sort of -- oh, I don't know, outraged comments from people who like to take their classical music on a very elevated level?

STUBBS: Well, that's not the audience I'm going for.

CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh.

STUBBS: I'm actually going for people that wouldn't normally come to a classical show. That's who I'm gearing this towards. And if classical lovers do come, I'm sure they'll enjoy it. But I've never had any -- you know, I've never had any negative feedback from people just wanting to go see a regular classical concert.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: 'Cause it's a different kind of space.

CAVANAUGH: What's it like for the musicians?

STUBBS: I hope it's fun for them. And there's an element of -- well, musicians are used to a tradition of going into somebody's home and maybe -- and just reading chamber music. And it's really fun for the people in the homes to be sitting there, so close to the musicians and hearing them site read music. That's part of the I think this, of let's get together and just site read some music. This is this a little different than that. Of we get one rehearsal, but only one rehearsal, and so for the musicians, it's -- we've all read through it the day before. And then that night, there's this extra sense of excitement because they have to be really on their tows, but on the other hand, it's kind of like we're at a big dinner party and just kind of having fun with the music we're performing and just, you know, the audience is going to enjoy it, and the musicians are having fun.

CAVANAUGH: How about putting it together technically? Do you have more than one rehearsal for that, or is it sort of like this you know what's supposed to go there, so that's just what happens when it happens?

STUBBS: That's exactly it. I have a -- I put something together in a program that's like power point, and I've got slides where -- that announces the tunes as they come up. And so I have it all mapped out and we just make sure the musicians get on stage in time, we have to make sure they get out of the green room.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

STUBBS: And get down the elevator.

CAVANAUGH: Do you really see this multimedia aspect of this as the future of classical music? Do you see something like this perhaps happening in symphony halls?

STUBBS: Not necessarily. Again, this is a way to reach out and hopefully expose people, hopefully get their interest so that they will actually attend a regular concert at symphony hall.

CAVANAUGH: Is there any kind of regret that you have that this is -- this is the thing that must be done to reach out with this kind of music? Or is it satisfying in some way that you can use all these elements in combination to provide a night of great artistic creativity?

STUBBS: Well, going back to the classic arts showcase, that has been an amazing education for me to see all of these classic performances. So I think it's of benefit to everybody to come check that out.

CAVANAUGH: Check it out and see what it's like.

STUBBS: Yeah, yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Well, I want to let everybody know that they can see what it's like. Luscious noise performs this Sunday, it's March 20th, at 730 at the club Anthology in little Italy. And John Stubbs, thank you so much.

STUBBS: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: I've been speaking with John Stubbs, founder conductor of luscious noise, and a violinist with the San Diego symphony. If you would like to comment, please go on-line, KPBS.org/These Days. And stay with us for hour two of These Days coming up in just a few minutes, right here on KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Mina Rios'

Mina Rios | March 15, 2011 at 9:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful segment. Thank you for sharing with San Diego audiences.

( | suggest removal )