Arts / ANU composers top the charts

Kirsten Axelholm and Kenneth Lampl. Photo by Samara Purnell

THE head of the ANU School of Music and his composing partner have topped the charts this week.

Kenneth Lampl and Kirsten Axelholm have seen two of their albums make it to the top five on the Billboard 200’s Classical Albums and Classical Crossover Albums charts, this week.

The pair worked with US band Evanescence for the Australian tour of their album “Synthesis”, which sits at number four on the Billboard 200 charts after topping the list when it was first released late last year.

As well, the composing couple worked with one of the highest-grossing bands of all time, Foreigner, to rework some of their hits into classical styles for the album “Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus”.

The band gave Lampl and Axelholm specific instructions not to do a simple orchestral arrangement, but to reinterpret their original songs in a classical style.

American cellist and composer, Dave Eggar, while visiting Canberra,photo Helen Musa

They started working with Foreigner and American cellist and composer Dave Eggar, who has worked with Coldplay, Norah Jones, Beyonce and The Who, completing the album over the internet before recording the album in Switzerland.

On the album, the band is supported by an 80-piece orchestra and 50-voice chamber choir performing songs like their 1977 hit, “Cold as Ice” and the 1984 number, “I Want to Know What Love is”.

Lampl will conduct the augmented orchestra for an Australian tour in October this year and said: “The tour will take us, and some of ANU’s music students, to the Sydney Opera House and other iconic venues to perform in front of sold out audiences.”

Lampl told the Canberra Critics’ Circle last year that he believed it was essential for all musicians to combine an extensive skill-set in technology, and gain competency in all aspects of production, including how to mix and how to use sound libraries effectively.

Career musicians, he said, “must be able to write good music – fast”.

Now he says: “We’re a music school of the 21st century – unlike any other music school in the world… Our focus is on graduating fully-skilled musicians with a clear career path in elite performance, composition, recording and music technology.”


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