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Every generation produces musical figures that history looks back on as icons, revolutionary artists who have changed both art and culture. In the past century, those hallowed names would necessarily include James Brown, Hank Williams, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin…but is it too early to add Kanye West? Though some (many?) may groan, pop producer and composer Johan doesn’t think so. Instead, he sees West’s rap bona fides and grandiose public persona as an opportunity to introduce a young generation of listeners to one of music’s most outsized names: Ludwig van Beethoven.
As the title suggests, Yeethoven is a mashup of six of Beethoven’s compositions and seven of West’s, presented by a 50-piece chamber orchestra led by up-and-coming conductor Yuga Cohler. As unlikely as the pairing may initially sound, there’s no denying both artists’s frequent indulgence in the bombastic. Once you hear “Hold My Liquor” juxtaposed with “Symphony No. 7 in A Major,” you too may become a believer.
Last year’s LA concert (available to listen to in its entirety on SoundCloud) sold out quickly, sparking interest from Lincoln Center to put on the event’s first East Coast performance as part of its Young Patrons 101 Series. For this sequel, Johan has added newly orchestrated tracks from Kanye’s most recent album, The Life of Pablo, including fresh takes on “Ultralight Beam” and “Father Stretch My Hands.”
Why You Should Go: Whether your tastes skewers towards hip hop or classical, this unique concert will meet you where you’re comfortable and then expand your horizons in a drastic new direction.
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