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Brahms X Radiohead

February 24, 7:30 pm10:00 pm

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall
718 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63103 United States

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Steve Hackman, conductor

This performance takes place at Stifel Theatre.

Join conductor Steve Hackman and your SLSO for Brahms X Radiohead—an epic symphonic synthesis of two landmark pieces of music: Radiohead’s album OK Computer and Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony. Composed for full symphony orchestra and three solo vocalists, Brahms X Radiohead offers a reimagined experience of each work by seeing it through the lens of the other, exploring the explosive tension and deep pathos they have in common.

Throughout this 80-minute fusion performance, Radiohead’s off-kilter, rock melodies weave in and out of Brahms’ 19th-century orchestral sound palette. Immerse yourself in Brahms’ symphony with Radiohead’s themes and lyrics superimposed and the music of Radiohead filtered through the counterpoint and harmonies of Brahms. As the music moves seamlessly from one to the other, we’re left wondering which is which and how the combinations are possible.

A few things to know: 

  • After the premiere of Brahms’ First Symphony in 1876, a critic called it “one of the most individual and magnificent works of the symphonic literature.” It had taken him almost 20 years to complete, in part, because of his anxiety about following in the footsteps of Beethoven. Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 launched the composer into international fame, however, leaving a profound impact on the art form, with many calling him Beethoven’s heir.  
  • OK Computer—with its depiction of a dystopian future fraught with consumerism, alienation, and isolation and its experimental and densely layered sound—is often cited as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. When Radiohead released the album in 1997, the five-member English band was propelled from indie-rock fame to being named band of the year by both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. OK Computer, Radiohead’s third album, was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Alternative Music Album at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
  • Steve Hackman is among a generation of classical musicians seeking to redefine the genre. He is the creator of a production concept called FUSE, which synthesizes classical and popular music. He has conducted these fusion productions with numerous orchestras and has worked with some of today’s biggest pop stars—including Kanye West, Doja Cat, and Andrew Bird—to add a classical dimension to their work. He was trained at the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School.