Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra
Gabriel Prokofiev is a London-based composer, producer and DJ. He is the grandson of the 20th Century composer Sergei Prokofiev (you may have heard his ballet music 'Romeo and Juliet' as it's the theme tune of the BBC's The Apprentice television programme!).
After studying to be a classical composer at Birmingham and York universities, Gabriel Prokofiev first made a name for himself within the worlds of Hip-Hop and Garage music founding a record label called NONCLASSICAL in 2003. Throughout his career so far, Prokofiev has written electronica music plus a wide range of orchestral pieces, chamber music, vocal works, film scores and ballets.
He was initially reluctant to write 'classical' music for fear of being compared to his granddad, but then an opportunity came along that he couldn’t turn down and he returned to his classical roots. In 2006 he was asked to write a concerto for DJ and orchestra. His concerto was performed at the Proms in 2011 and has become a huge success, performed all over the world.
Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra
Prokofiev wrote Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra in 2006 during a time when he was wrestling with his creative loyalties between classical and electronic music. According to Prokofiev, a promoter asked him to write a concerto for a DJ using turntables, with the aim of bringing classical music to new places and new people. At first he didn't like the idea – thinking it might turn out to sound terrible – but then he had a brainwave. What if the turntable player used the sounds created by the orchestra and manipulated them? It would be like a battle of sounds.
To begin with, the piece shook up what was expected of classical music, but when it was performed at the BBC Proms in August 2011 with world champion DJ Mr Switch as soloist, it was met great critical acclaim.
Listen out for: How the orchestra and soloist interact. A concerto is a composition for a solo instrument (sometimes more than one solo instrument) and orchestra. Typically, the solo instrument is a piano, or an instrument from one of the sections of the orchestra; however, in this case, it is, of course, a set of turntables
21st Century - 2001 – to present day
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