Dust off your samplers and stop footworkin’ for one minute, aspiring DJs! The Brooklyn Philharmonic is seeking Brooklyn-based “DJs, producers, or anyone else who works with musical samples” to apply for its Beethoven Remix Project. All you have to do is send them an application by September 15 and cross your fingers that you’ll be one of the lucky five chosen (or two of the five, if you’re a conjoined twin) to remix the finale of Beethoven’s romantically classical/classically romantic Third Symphony, the “Eroica.” Not only will you get $200 for your services, but you will also be featured on a tiny mix tape that will be passed out to an audience consisting of… Mos Def fans?
Yes, believe it or not, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, not particularly known for the down beat, is collaborating with Mos Def for a special performance in which he’ll rap over the orchestra’s reinterpretations of his songs. Not since Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” has the classical world (specifically, the opening moments of J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 2 in C minor) blended so seamlessly with the hip-hop world! And even better: one winning finalist will not only have their remix arranged for orchestra by composer Andrew Norman, but also have it performed live alongside Mos Def on June 9 at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza.
This cultural juxtaposition isn’t completely unprecedented. The Brooklyn Philharmonic, which was in such a poor financial state a couple years back that it canceled its entire 2009-2010 season, is now led by artistic director Alan Pierson, and shit’s changing quickly. If there are any vestigial distinctions leftover between “high” and “low,” the orchestra is making valiant attempts to crush them. Aside from the Mos Def performance, which will be preceded by a couple other Mos Def/chamber-orchestra shows in October, Pierson has put together a season that will feature performances of music by the usual suspects (Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvořák) alongside those by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, and even a little white artist named Sufjan T. Stevens.
Pierson is certainly no stranger to juxtaposition: he’s the conductor/director of new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, who collaborated with Dirty Projectors last year to transform the sample-heavy The Getty Address into a live performance. The group also released an album called Acoustica, which consisted of acoustic arrangements of Aphex Twin songs.
Anyway, read more about the application and remix schedule here, then get your classiest digs ready for June 9: you and your conjoined twin have a date with juxtaposition!
• Brooklyn Philharmonic: http://www.bphil.org