Categories: Hear This

This Band is Making Crossover Classical Cool


In a mere two weeks, Clean Bandit’s latest single, “Symphony,” has climbed to No. 1 in iTunes’ Top Songs chart, and racked up more than 18 million views on YouTube. Credit that either to the story in the music video, a tragic tale about two gay lovers, one of whom dies at the end, or else to the song itself, a heady mix of live instrumentation and electronic flourishes. But one thing’s for sure: Thanks to Clean Bandit, classical crossover is finally getting its 15 minutes of fame.

Formed by four British university students, the band — now a trio — combines classical traits, like three-part movements, string instruments, and solos, with modern pop and EDM flourishes like bass drops, build-ups, and delays. Even though Grace Chatto handled vocals, along with cello and percussion, in the band’s early songs, Clean Bandit has switched to using outside singers, like Sean Paul and Zara Larsson, for its more recent stuff.

Not since 2007, when Rhydian appeared on the UK version of X Factor, have we seen an artist strum up as much interest in Mozart and Shostakovich concertos and symphonies as Clean Bandit.

Clean Bandit
With Zara Larsson and Starley, at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 3, at The Fillmore. $27.50;

Jessie Schiewe

Jessie Schiewe was the Music Editor for SF Weekly from Fall 2015 to Summer 2017. She is now the editor and publisher of OK Whatever (, an online publication dedicated to all things weird and strange. You can send her mail at

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