This past Friday night, classical music blended with pop music in Schwab Auditorium when pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz performed their concert called Shuffle.Play.Listen. for a captivated audience.
The duo plays music that ranges from the classics of Igor Stravinsky to the more alternative bands of today like Arcade Fire and Radiohead . Using classical instruments, O’Riley and Haimovitz intertwine the past with the present. The concert featured the duo’s work that can be found on their double-disc album of the same name.
The performance was about two hours long with a brief intermission between two sets, at which time O’Riley and Haimovitz signed autographs.
There were no programs given to the audience, allowing the pair to have complete control to change and rearrange the set, as well as scratch their “itch to play Russian music” that night. O’Riley joked about the ambiguity of the set list, thanking the audience for trusting himself and Haimovitz with the night’s menu.
“[It has] evolved from the very beginning,” Haimovitz said of the concert.
Although the audience was left in the dark, no one seemed to mind as O’Riley and Haimovitz began to play the Prelude to Vertigo — a commemorative performance to Bernard Herrman n, who wrote the scores for all the Alfred Hitchcock films, including Vertigo . The auditorium fell silent, as everyone became lost in the music.
In between songs, O’Riley and Haimovitz would give brief explanations for the music the audience was about to hear, before maneuvering through the chords and notes.
“It’s [strange] how they can transition between songs so easily,” Aron Griffin (sophomore-engineering science) said.
At the end of the concert, O’Riley and Haimovitz received positive applause from an enthusiastic audience.
Shuffle.Play.Listen. is a part of a larger project by the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts called the Classical Music Project . The goal is to show today’s students and faculty of Penn State the importance and impact classical music has on society.
“These are two tremendous artists collaborating together,” said George Trudeau , the center’s director, as he introduced O’Riley and Haimovitz at the concert.
The Classical Music Project has much more in store for the spring semester, including the next performer the Brentano String Quartet . The complete schedule for upcoming events for the project can be found at cmp.psu.edu.