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From Bach to Radiohead: Introducing the wild Up Modern Musical Collective

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The new wild Up musical ensemble debuts tomorrow night at Jensen's Recreation Center in Echo Park, under the direction of 26-year-old Christopher Rountree. The evening will traverse a musical timeline that begins with J.S. Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto" (1721) and ends with Radiohead's "In Rainbows" (2007). This 24-piece musical collective also seeks to bust the mold of classical music equating to serious stodginess.

We asked Rountree a few questions about the ambitious-sounding wild Up show:

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wild Up's Christopher Rountree | Photo: Michael Chang
What can we expect at tomorrow's show?
You can expect to laugh, to have fun, to be moved and to drink some beer. We’re playing music from the last 300 years, most of it new, and premiering orchestrations of Radiohead, in a suite called "I See It Coming" by Joshua Bornfield. There’s also cabaret, J.S. Bach, yelling, Igor Stravinsky and local John Adams.Is wild Up only for lovers of classical music?
Wild Up is for everyone. All of the music we perform sits in multiple spheres: the “classical” music we perform might sound like rock music, the pop music might sound like Bach, Brahms or Satie. When we do something avant garde, it will be sardonically laughing at its serious self.

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Don’t get me wrong, lovers of classical music might love what we’re doing, but I don’t think they’ll be alone.

How did the 24-piece collective come together?
The collective is made up of friends, and friends of friends. The musicians are young L.A. professionals who trained at the best universities and conservatories on the globe. The things we have in common are that we all live in Los Angeles, we all like to play together and we all believe that this type of art needs to exist.

The initial spark for the group happened just as I was finishing my graduate work at the University of Michigan and finishing my tenure as music director of the Michigan Pops. A few friends and I realized that we’d all be in L.A. as of August. I noticed that this type of experience didn’t exist in L.A. and I asked the people that I knew here if they wanted to make it happen.

Radiohead's Pyramid Song (2001) by wild Up