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Sonic Evolution

sir mix a lotThe Seattle Symphony, Sir Mix-A-Lot and "the lady in the black dress" have orchestrated a disruptive symphonic maneuver, reports Michael Cooper in The New York Times (6/11/14). Ludovic Morlot, the orchestra’s music director, commissioned Gabriel Prokofiev … to write ‘Dial 1-900 Mix-A-Lot" and then invited Sir Mix-A-Lot onstage to perform his hit, ‘Baby Got Back,’ with the orchestra. The effort was part of the orchestra’s Sonic Evolution project to compose works based on popular artists with Seattle connections.

Previous projects — all of which are intended to create greater relevance among younger audiences — had featured orchestral interpretations of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Alice in Chains. In this case, the artist was still around to perform live, and when Sir Mix-A-Lot took the stage, he promptly asked women to join him and dance. At least a couple of dozen women did so, including Shawn Bounds, aka "the lady in the black dress," who created "an online sensation" with "her enthusiastic dancing."

The resulting video (link) has been viewed nearly 2 million times, which is of course great exposure for the Seattle Symphony. Predictably, this has been criticized by some "as a cringe-worthy gimmick" that won’t do much to turn the younger set into symphony fans. Tito Munoz of the Phoenix Symphony says, "Pop concerts create an audience for Pops concerts," not classical symphonies. However, Ludovic believes that the gambit plants a seed among younger music fans, for a day "when they have more time and money."