At the School of Music, cocktails and classical pieces now go together.
Next Friday, classically trained musicians will combine cocktail parties with orchestra concerts to present classical music in a fresh, innovative way.
“Hitchcocktails and Music,” which will take place at Salon Lulu on Chapel Street, is the third in a series of concerts in which an ensemble from the School of Music plays orchestral works in non-traditional spaces. Described by the planners as “a modern masquerade,” the event will incorporate cocktails and masks, and projections of scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds” will accompany performances of five reworks classical orchestral pieces.
Samuel Suggs, co-director of the event, said that he and Jans Peterson, the other co-director, felt musicians need to make classical music more accessible. One way to do that, he said, was to experiment with new formats.
“The orchestra is really a machine which is a compromise between the conductor’s will and the composer’s intent,” Suggs said. “We want to break free of the dogma that is within orchestral repetition and allow the individual room for creativity.”
Suggs said he and Peterson created the concert series in response to financial struggles of major orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Suggs added that the duo came up with the idea of integrating a cocktail party into an orchestra performance because the energy of such a setting would engage the attention of the audience, which is normally uninvolved at a traditional concert.
Jake Fridkis, a new member of the ensemble who plays the flute, attended a concert in the series last year and said he found that the small ensemble of nine that mingles with attendees, as well as the more intimate venue, made the music more accessible to audience members.
The music ensemble for the event consists of classical and contemporary instruments, including the violin, vibraphone and drum set. At the event, attendees will first be served the drink “The Miraculous Mimosa” — a citrus juice and champagne mix — to accompany a remix of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” which will incorporate the dubstep genre. Other performances include a rework of Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” which was re-written so that a vocal part and a vibraphone part were added to replace the cello and piano parts, as well as a disco-inspired remix of Messaien’s “Oiseaux Exotiques.”
The final score, a remix of Igor Stravinsky’s opera “The Firebird,” is served with the drink, “Igor’s Potion” — a mix of Fireball cinnamon whiskey and apple cider.
Suliman Tekalli, the violinist in the ensemble, said he wants viewers to walk away with the sense that music is not confined by genre.
“I would want them to walk away with the impression that with classical music and really any type of music, that there can be a common thread that can be tied together,” Tekalli said.
According to Suggs, attendees at the last two concerts focused more on the socializing aspect and less on the music as the night progressed. At “Hitchcocktails and Music,” he said he plans to take longer pauses between pieces and actively call the listeners’ attention to the music, rather than letting the ensemble become background music performers.
Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was released in 1963.