Zoe Keating and Redshift on How Technology Is Changing So-Called Classical Music

Classical music is dying, woe, woe. We've heard the dirge so many times, but nobody seems to know exactly where all the classically trained, tux-adorned musicians are going. They aren't completely extinct yet. Instead of dying out, it seems that this endangered species of musician is adapting and evolving to the 21st Century by mixing genres and incorporating technology into their music.


In particular, San Francisco seems to be a hotbed for this new generation of musicians. Cellist Zoe Keating, who plays her instrument with a foot-controlled laptop to create layers of sound, observes that in S.F., “There's a natural Venn diagram that happens between technology and music.”

SF Weekly spoke with cellist Zoe Keating, new music ensemble REDSHIFT, and award-wining composer David Lang to find out how classically-trained musicians are re-composing their field.

Zoe Keating, whose layered cello album Natoma has four times hit #1 on the iTunes classical charts, will be performing tonight at the Great American Music Hall. Next Thursday, S.F.- and N.Y.-based REDSHIFT debuts a new set of compositions, Arctic Sounds, that incorporates field recordings of Alaskan Wildlife. Their show includes a piece by David Lang, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

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