This past Friday, April 4th, I saw a seriously cool string quartet, called SYBARITE5. The band has five members, Laura Metcalf (cello), Sarah Whitney (violin), Angela Pickett (viola), Louis Levitt (double bass), and Sami Merinian (violin). While I have had little experience with live classical music, early into the performance, I learned this much: SYBARITE5 is not your typical classical string quartet.
This became abundantly apparent when Ms. Pickett joked between songs, “Have you heard of Radiohead? Well, if not, I hope they’re your favorite band by the end of the night.”
For our readers unfamiliar with Radiohead, one could argue that the band writes music among the most stylistically alien to the traditional sounds of classical tunes.
My favorite piece from the night was a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” off of their 2007 release, In Rainbows. SYBARITE5 blew their mission to create a soundscape out of the water. Simultaneous airy melodies floated freely through audience, wrapping listeners in a cocoon of awe. They used their bows not only to caress the strings of their instruments, but also to slap against their instruments, uniquely imitating the tight drumbeat in the original.
This quality of inventiveness rang true of the entire performance. The group is young, and looks like they could just be friends who’ve recently graduated from college. They seem to aim to challenge the conventions of classical music. Almost like the opposite side of the coin moving towards electronic music. SYBARITE5 pushes classical music in the same direction by playing Radiohead covers on instruments otherwise absent from that part of the music world.
Having been one of the few string ensembles I’ve experienced live, SYBARITE5 has made be eager to see what other varieties of classical tunes exist in the music world. If SYBARITE5 can perform beautiful interpretations of the peculiar Radiohead, imagine what else might exist? Maybe a classical version of Weezer’s album, Pinkerton? (That actually exists, by the way.)
Learn more about SYBARITE5.