Steve Hackman, Creative Director of FUSE at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, patches the gap between audiences of classical and modern music at Heinz Hall. Hackman mixes different music forms to represent who he is as an artist . He is not just any other composer or artist. Hackman is carving a path in classical music as he blends it with popular genres.
“Aaron Copland V. Bon Iver” showcased with special guest and local Pittsburgh band, Beauty Slap, on Wednesday, January 28. With three vocalists, Hackman graced the crowd with a blend of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” with Bon Iver songs.
The reason for this unique mixture of genres is to introduce audiences that only attend the symphony to Bon Iver and Bon Iver fans to Aaron Copland.
“To apply contemporary musical techniques from the popular world (mashing up, remixing) to the classical world and thus create a bridge between the two,” said Hackman.
“I want to share beautiful music and I want to share my journey,” said Hackman when describing his main message through his work. There are people who go against the grain by doing what they want to do, and these are the people that he plays for.
“It is possible that classical music has not evolved enough in the past century, or perhaps has evolved along a track that the majority of the public was unwilling to follow it down.”
Hackman explains how classical music has become distant from contemporary and popular society. “Man has sought the means to express himself creatively as long as he has been on Earth.”
Art is crucial in society and classical music has never lost relevance in his eyes.
Audience member, Zach Dowdell, enjoyed the concert.
“I thought is was an excellent fuse of two styles,” he said.
Another audience member Emily Pickell commented not only about the music but the composer’s looks.
“I cried five times and it was very easy to get into. I won’t lie I came because the composer was so good looking,” she said.
This is not the first time Hackman has composed a mix of genres. He has a history of mixing classical with pop music. From 2009 through 2013, he composed and conducted a concert series, “Happy Hour” with the Indianapolis Symphony strongly showcasing his style of mixing two genres. Hackman also created “Brahms V. Radiohead” in 2013 and “Beethoven V. Coldplay” in 2014.
The next FUSE project Hackman is presenting is March 9th at Heinz Hall. This show is different from “Copland V. Bon Iver.” “As it does not draw upon an existing pop artist and is instead my original songs mixed with Stravinsky,” said Hackman. This show will feature a singer, rapper, drummer, electronics, female choir and orchestra.