At The Purchase PAC on March 23, Portland’s premiere alt-classical group, Portland Cello Project, will bring a huge, orchestral ensemble to perform an entire program in homage to Radiohead. We asked Portland Cello Project’s Diane Chaplin some questions about the group and her own individual artistry. Take a look!
Q: How did the idea for a homage to Radiohead come about?
A: We are always searching for music that will be both fun to play and interesting to listen to. The OK Computer album is such a classic and really was a pivotal, ground-breaking recording. It has a lot of complexity, beautiful music and a kind of tortured sadness and that translates really well to cellos. We first performed the album in its entirety for the 15-year anniversary, and this current touring version is for the 20th anniversary of the record.
Q: What do you hope to communicate to the audience? What do you want them to take-away from the performance?
A: In a broad sense, I think we all just hope everyone will enjoy themselves at our shows. And the thing is, since almost everything sounds cool on the cello, pretty much all audiences have a good time at our shows. We want them to be emotionally connected to what we’re doing and excited to hear both old and new music.
Q: What drew you to begin to play the cello?
A: I come from a musical family. My parents were both pianists and teachers and I must have demonstrated musical talent at a young age, so my elementary school music teacher decided to “brainwash” me into playing the cello. She would show me pictures of cellos and play recordings for me, and it turns out she was right – it IS the most beautiful instrument!
Q: What’s your favorite song to perform at the moment?
A: I think a lot of musicians would probably answer this question the same way I’m going to: “you love the one you’re with.” Meaning that whatever you are performing is the music you love most right that second. I think we all try to pour as much of ourselves into our playing as we can, and that comes as just being really involved in whatever music we’re in the midst of at the time. That said, I do really love a lot of Radiohead songs, and not just from OK Computer – maybe for myself personally the best is when I play the solo in How To Disappear Completely.
Q: Do you have any advice to beginning musicians?
A: Advice to beginning musicians is: PRACTICE! I know that sounds hackneyed, but playing any instrument is about developing control and skill. It’s also good to listen to lots of music so you have understanding about what you are doing. Go to concerts, see people playing live. Try to get into some kind of group as soon as you can – orchestra, band, rock group, bunch of friends sitting around. It’s most fun and more encouraging to play along with others. And to advance quickly and gain more fine-tuned skills, private lessons are a must.
Tickets to see Portland Cello Project Homage to Radiohead are available by clicking here, or calling The Performing Arts Center box office at 914-251-6200 Wednesday-Friday from 12-6 pm.