Saturday, June 23
Bruce Hornsby &
the Virginia Symphony Orchestra
On Saturday, Bruce takes fans on a journey, partnering with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra to perform the Virginia debut of Bruce's adventurous new orchestral program — the latest development in what the Los Angeles Times admiringly called Hornsby’s “strange career.” Any devotee of Bruce’s live shows knows the fun is in the myriad directions in which Bruce’s songs can go; in this unforgettable evening, Bruce plays some of his newest music, which takes its inspiration from modern classical and puts it in a pop context — with some of his biggest hits woven in for good measure.
The standard procedure for one side of what’s been known as classical crossover is for pop musicians to bring their repertoire and values to the concert hall. Bruce does that and more. A consummate musician, Bruce finds inspiration across the musical sphere, from his fascination with 20th century composers including Elliot Carter, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Olivier Messiaen to his deep-seated relationship with the Grateful Dead. He talks about how often, when he’s learning a piece by one of his other modern classical heroes, for example, he slows down the tempo in order to learn and master it, and how this has struck him as revealing other possibilities for the music as he’s doing it. He calls this trying to “make it straight.” And then this pop musician betrays one of his cardinal intentions: “Because,” Hornsby says, “I’m always trying to write a good song.”