Radiohead Man Aims To Make Classical Concerts "Less Uptight"

Guitarist Jonny Greenwood picks unusual venue for orchestral collaboration in Manchester.

Radiohead Man Aims To Make Classical Concerts "Less Uptight"

RADIOHEAD’S JONNY GREENWOOD IS ON A MISSION to make classical music “less uptight” with his latest solo collaboration. While bandmate Thom Yorke is dismantling online music distribution and "bypassing the self elected gatekeepers", the guitarist is taking aim at the world of batons, bow ties and polite applause.

A composer and soundtrack scorer away from Radiohead, Greenwood is staging a concert with the London Contemporary Orchestra at Manchester’s Albert Hall tonight (October 10), and deliberately picked the venue because it is more often used for pop and rock music gigs.

“It's all about trying to play classical music with a slightly less uptight atmosphere”

Jonny Greenwood

"It's all about trying to play classical music in slightly different venues with a slightly less uptight atmosphere than is usually found in concerts,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “People are standing, it's dark, there's a bar and we set up on the stage and play whatever music we are particularly enjoying at the moment, so we decide the set-list just before we play."

A regular classical concert-goer himself, the Radiohead tendon-snapper believes the great composers would approve of his attempts liven things up.

"In one of Mozart's early letters, he's boasting about one of his concerts to his father and is saying, 'It's amazing, the audience heard the first few bars and they liked the idea so they started clapping', and it had that kind of excitement about it, which has kind of been squeezed out by the reverence and silence with which most classical concerts are done in now,” he suggested.

"And those 10 seconds of silence after every classical piece is played on the radio for it to sink in. It's a bit peculiar to my tastes."