How an Amateur Made Classical Cool in NYC

Chamber rock series invites young fans to hear old masters
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2008 4:16 PM CDT
Cloud Cult band members rehearse in the basement of Minowa's farmhouse March 27, 2008 in Hinckely, Minn.   (AP Photo/Dawn Villella)
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(Newser) – Ronen Givony is no musician, he can’t read music, and had never organized a concert—until recently. Now the 28-year-old is considered one of New York’s top impresarios, thanks to his “Wordless Music” series, which puts top indie rock and electronica bands on the same bill as classical performers. The series is a blockbuster, drawing the young, curious 20-something crowd that Lincoln Center so desires.

Givony says he approaches music “as a fan and as an amateur.” The rock clubs around the city are packed with fans of “very weird experimental music,” he told Gramophone, “but as soon as the conversation shifts to Schubert or Bach a blank look comes on their faces. I wanted to begin converting my fellow rock ’n’ roll fans to chamber music.”