Mashing Beats with Beethoven and Bizet

Rebecca J. Margolies

Professional dancers moved to classical and electronic music at AcousticaElectronica, a party organized at OBERON last Friday night that will return to the club this Friday.

Ludwig van Beethoven might have been rolling over in his grave as classical and opera music met pulsing electronic beats at AcousticaElectronica, a party held at OBERON last Friday. The event was presented by toUch performance art, a collective of artists led by New England Conservatory and Boston Conservatory graduate students, and it will return to OBERON this Friday. A mesmerizing blend of classical and electronic music, AcousticaElectronica featured live instrumentalists playing alongside a set from The WIG, a New York-based DJ who draws inspiration from world music. Professional dancers performed acrobatic and sensual routines as they weaved in and out of the crowd, while event-goers looked on admiringly and did some dancing of their own. The Roving Reporter stopped by to check the freshness of the beats and smoothness of the grooves.

Colin P. Thurmond, producer of AcousticaElectronica and artistic director of toUch performance art

RR: What was your inspiration for putting together such an interesting show?

CPT: This idea came about between two friends and me who met at the New England Conservatory. I mean, we’re the iPod generation—I listen to house and trance all the time, and I wanted to combine that with my traditional training. This event was about putting two worlds together that make no sense together, about the past talking to the present. It’s past, present, and future all at once.

RR: Amazing. What kind of traditional training do you have?

CPT: I’ve been playing classical guitar since I was nine, and I’m currently a doctoral student at the New England Conservatory.

RR: Would you say that you’re a classical music scholar?

CPT: I wouldn’t say I’m specifically a classical music scholar. I’m a music scholar; I don’t think you need to slap a genre on it.

RR: So, would you call yourself a beats scholar?

CPT: Oh, man, I’d never say that in public. I will say that I enjoy feeling the beat.

RR: Don’t we all. How do you think composers like Beethoven and Bizet would have felt about this treatment of their most famous works, “Carmen” and “Moonlight Sonata?”

CPT: I think it falls halfway between sacrilegious and reverent. I think Beethoven would be rocking halls in Germany if he were alive. There is probably a classical audience that would find this abhorrent, and also some [people who] would find it innovative.

RR: Do you feel like maybe that was a bit too much Spandex in the show?

CPT: Can you ever really have too much Spandex?

RR: Touché.

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