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Classical music with a twist

The Boston Quartet will present an EthnoUrban Orchestra performance at Troy Savings Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 1, with local high school musicians.

The Boston Quartet will present an EthnoUrban Orchestra performance at Troy Savings Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 1, with local high school musicians. Submitted photo

— “I do a little bit of improv every year, we do a jazz piece and some rock pieces that I arrange so some of the stuff is stuff they’d heard already, but certainly hearing it from a different source is always good,” said Gumpper.

Quartet members showed students how to fuse world music, rock, movie soundtracks, Disney and video game tunes into a cohesive performance, like the one they’ll see or participate in on Oct. 1.

“Personally, I grew up a classical violinist and when I started college and went to a summer music camp, I realized rock ‘n’ roll could be played on the violin, jazz could be played, Chinese music could be played and I had no idea you could do that,” said Vuk. “I think most kids don’t realize you can do that. This is an inspiring program.”

It’s only the first year the EthnoUrban Orchestra has been offered to schools but Vuk said it’s already been successful.

“We’ve had a lot of students that have been exposed to this music through our program say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize you could play more than Mozart on the violin’ and by playing rock or jazz they want to continue their studies,” said Vuk. “Many students are ready to quit and this reenergizes them.”

Students spent a good chunk of their workshop experimenting with improvisation.

“They talked to the kids about how to improvise and use their instruments in alternative styles,” said Gumpper.

The workshop’s scope is what sets it apart from other educational programs, said Vuk.

“The integrated approach is the most rewarding. There’s a lot of musicians that go out in schools and do workshops, it’s not a new idea, but we find our program really stands apart because we fully integrate the student in the performance and workshops,” said Vuk.

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