Columbia music fans can experience a rare treat Saturday thanks to a new funding source and a boundary-pushing composer and musical group.
The premiere of composer Dan Visconti’s “Beatbox” by the genre-bending group Sybarite5 will be the highlight of a South Carolina Philharmonic concert Saturday night. Visconti’s 17-minute concerto for a string quintet and orchestra will draw the attention. He’s a young maverick with a background in violin whose work encompasses characteristics of jazz, bluegrass and rock. Sybarite5 seems an ideal interpreter of Visconti. The string quartet’s concerts veer from typical classical to classical variations of songs by rock bands such as Radiohead.
Adding to the interesting backstory, the commission for “Beatbox” was raised through a crowdfunding Kickstarter campaign. The goal was to raise $5,000, but the effort quickly pulled in $7,150.
Morihiko Nakahara, music director of the Philharmonic, talked about the impact of the crowdfunding process and the melding of genres in classical music.
“The unique nature of collaborating with Sybarite 5 – the first concerto written for a string quintet and orchestra as far as we know – allowed us to tap into the crowdfunding realm. It was gratifying to see how many individuals, including many first-time donors and several people outside of the Midlands, participated and put us over the goal.
“Will the crowdfunding replace the traditional grants and sponsorships in the future? Not likely, but we will definitely explore all forms of fundraising to suit our various projects, and in some instances, the crowdfunding will be the most effective tool to connect with a particular group of passionate arts supporters.”
As for the mixing of genres:
“What is changing in the recent years, I think, is that the whole genre bending/blurring seems to be more readily accepted by our core audience. Ensembles like Sybarite5 have been breaking these preconceived barriers between the art music and the vernacular for years through their programming and performances on college campuses and in alternative venues.
“With the recent opening of Music Farm in Columbia, I would love to see our orchestra explore more of these kinds of collaborations and dialogues happen more regularly, sometimes outside of the Koger Center. It worked perfectly as our main performance venue for the main subscription series, but I think it’s important to take the orchestra into alternative performance venues like Music Farm in addition to what we do at the Koger.”
The premiere of “Beatbox” will be the meat in a classical music sandwich. The philharmonic will open the 7:30 p.m. show at the Koger Center with “ Four Dance Episodes” from Aaron Copland’s ballet “Rodeo,” and close it with Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony. Tickets are available at scphilharmonic.com.