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Calgary Philharmonic goes to the dark side

By Alana Augart, January 22 2015 —

On Jan. 28, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) will explore new territory, specifically The Dark Side of the Moon.

In conjunction with the band Jeans ’n Classics, the CPO will present the album that catapulted Pink Floyd from arthouse recognition to global fame alongside some favourites from their follow-up, The Wall.

“This came about as a suggestion by Jeans ’n Classics,” says  CPO artistic director Heather Slater. “They put together tribute shows featuring the band out front and the orchestra playing wind sound, a unique way to hear these classic rock tunes.”

As one of the first popular concept albums, The Dark Side of the Moon was created to be listened to as a whole, rather than as individual songs.

“It’s very easy to have music in little bites today, and the orchestra is quite different — it’s listening to a piece in full and understanding the narrative that connects the songs,” Slater says.

While it may seem unusual for rock to be combined with orchestral music, Slater says Pink Floyd is ideal for theatre. With Pink Floyd known for their elaborate stage performances, Slater likens it more to a classical music performance than other rock bands of the 70s.

For those not familiar with Pink Floyd, Slater says the experience is a great introduction to the classics, both in terms of rock and orchestral music.

“The live experience of the orchestra really takes this performance over the top,” Slater says. “They’re hearing what is historically some of the greatest rock music ever written, in a live setting.”

This is not the first time that the CPO has fused popular music with orchestra, says Slater. The CPO often combines rock and pop music into their performances to appeal to a variety of musical tastes.

Though many see the symphony as highbrow, Slater sees this performance as a way to open the world of orchestra to everyone.

“This music resonates with people,” Slater says. “It brings in people we wouldn’t see otherwise, and we hope they leave with a new interest in the orchestra as well.”

Tickets start at $25. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

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