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Mit Klassik in die Billboard Charts. Wie Chad Lawson ein klassikfernes Publikum für Bach und Chopin begeistert

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Mit Klassik in die Billboard Charts. Wie Chad Lawson ein klassikfernes Publikum für Bach und Chopin begeistert

© Josh Goleman

Der amerikanische Komponist und Pianist Chad Lawson spricht die Musiksprache junger Leute und stürmt die Charts mit Bach und Chopin.

Musik aus dem Internet, schnell gefunden, heruntergeladen, konsumiert. Keine CD-Käufe, kein stilles Verweilen und zuhören mehr, stattdessen teilen mit Freunden, ex und hopp. Die so genannte Spotify Generation gehört nicht zur Zielgruppe klassischer Musik.

Das zu ändern, ist Chad Lawson angetreten. Der Künstler entdeckte seine Leidenschaft für Musik mit fünf Jahren, als er zum ersten Mal die Rock’n Roll Band Sha Na Na hörte. Es folgte ein Jazzstudium, bevor er mit „The Chopin Variations“ nicht nur den Richtungswechsel zur Klassik vollzog, sondern damit auch ein junges, bisher eher klassikfernes Publikum erreichte.

Chad Lawson: “With the music industry changing at such a rapid pace towards digital, the advent of streaming services has not only changed how we ‘hear’ music but in how we compartmentalize it as well.  I believe one of the first things we are noticing is the void of genre classification. At one point we had a very confined box for every artist and relagated a labeling or category for that artist. I like to use the analogy of the record stores of yesteryears where you would go directly to the genre of your liking, find something and then leave the store.  There were no crossing-the-lines to other genres to just ‘browse’ even.  If you liked pop, then why on earth would you be found in the Country & Western section? Liked straight ahead jazz? Stop by Death Metal on the way out just for kicks. And if you knew nothing about Classical music, well, it was just to overwhelming to even know where to begin much less understanding what an Opus was or why Bach always had BWV in every title.  Oh well, maybe next time when I have the chance to browse.
But, at least in my own experience, we’re seeing where genres no longer really have an influence on our listening selections. And for Classical music, this couldn’t be a better opportunity to take advantage. We’re seeing a resurgence in Classical music because we have an audience that’s never been exposed to it in such a way.  We’re beginning to lose the term ‘Classical’ and just have ‘music’.  With that being said, on my previous release The Chopin Variations, Modern Interpretations on Chopin Works, I wanted to take Chopin’s pieces and re-introduce them. Have most people heard of Chopin? Perhaps his name at least. Had they ever really sat and listened to his music? Many had not.  So, let’s remove the term ‘Classical’ from the equation and create an album of piano, violin and cello retelling his pieces in a format that is in the style of today’s listening audiences.  The response was overwhelming.  But when all is said and done, my absolute purpose in doing this was to attract new listeners to a style of music they were not familiar. And then, the emails came in. “I had never listened to Chopin before, but after hearing this I’m really curious what the original piece sounds like.” wrote one. “I hadn’t listened to Chopin since I was a child taking piano lessons, I’ve since re-enrolled in lessons and can’t wait to return to the piano.” The emails were endless tellings of either renewed interest or a new beginning.  And in order for any entity, be it Classical music, Apple or even a core subject taught in a university, there has to be an element of discovery.” 

1,7 Millionen Mal pro Monat wurde seine Musik auf Streaming Plattformen angehört. Kritiker loben, Chad Lawsons Musik sei für Leute, die Klassik nicht mögen. Nun liegt sein zweites Album „Bach Interpreted: Piano Varations on Bach Chorals“ vor. Ähnlich wie das Vorgängeralbum kommt es zart und leise daher, intensiv und wunderschön.

Chad Lawson: “Bach. Even just the name alone, Bach. Even to those who are absolutely clueless to music in general have seen or heard his name. Whenever there is any education regarding music it almost always starts with Bach. From the earliest age to Music Appreciation 101, he is seldom overlooked.  And, for great reason.
I believe Bach understood there were going to be levels of varying degrees in playing his music. He didn’t discriminate. He wrote for beginning pianist to the most adventurous of undertakers. I think he would pen simple pieces to draw the musician in and then allow them to grow through his more challenging pieces.  Personally, I think that’s how we have to look at this style of music. Every listener/musician has to start somewhere. I would find it hard to believe that a beginner listener of Classical music would purchase Rite of Spring and appreciate every element of it from start to finish.  But, if that listener/musician started with Prelude in C Major from Bach’s Well Tempered, worked through it and enjoyed it, chances are they will continue unwrapping the many boxes of the lineage perhaps to Stravinsky and beyond.”

Worin liegt das Geheimnis, junge Menschen, die bisher mit Klassik nicht vertraut sind, dafür zu begeistern?

Chad Lawson: “I have two small children. Both under the age of 7.  The older of the two has started violin lessons.  Initially he would say things like “I wanna rock out!” So, I began showing him videos of violinist that would ‘rock out’. I started with Judy Kang since she was on the Chopin Variations recording but also toured with Lady Gaga. Then I pulled up videos of Lindsey Stirling and Mark O’Connor (of whom I’m a great admirer of). He was in awe. Did I pull up Paganini’s Caprice No. 4 in C Minor? No, because he wouldn’t have understood it. But in time, he will. And that is where we have to be patient and simply allow for ‘fun’ in a style of music that can often be mistaken for ‘uptight and sophisticated’. Again, it has to be brought back to a ‘discovery’.  What is something that is going to grab the attention and create an interest?
And with that, two other things remain.  Patience and perseverance. This has to be something they enjoy doing (and there will be times where it’s not much fun) but the more enjoyment that goes into the instrument, the more that will come out of the instrument. And goodness knows it may take a year or two before he’s ready for his first recital but the purpose isn’t to place an instrument in his mind and drop him in front of an audience.  The purpose is to enrich his life and give him an appreciation for the art of music.”

Thanks, Chad Lawson!                        

Chad Lawson 1

© Michael Finster

Konzerte in Deutschland:
Donnerstag, 15. September 2016 Berlin Lido
Samstag, 17. September 2016 Münster AV Picknick
Donnerstag, 22. September 2016 Hamburg Reeperbahn Festival
Freitag, 23. September 2016 Magdeburg Moritzhof
Samstag,  24. September 2016 München Einstein Kultur
Sonntag, 25. September 2016 Erlangen Kulturzentrum E-Werk



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