BSO to fuse Brahms and Radiohead in May concert

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Photo by Maryland GovPics on Flickr.

This is what you get when you put the music of composer Johannes Brahms side by side with art rock legends Radiohead: a “mood of anxiety and brooding pathos.”

So says arranger and conductor Steve Hackman, who will join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on May 15 to weave together the works of these two artists whose creative work is separated by more than a century, the orchestra announced today.

Specifically, Hackman will be leading the orchestra, along with three guest vocalists, in a performance that weaves together elements of Brahms’ “Symphony No. 1” and Radiohead’s seminal album “OK Computer.”

“Brahms, unendingly plagued by the shadow of the great Beethoven, took more than a decade to write this symphony, for fear of not living up to his predecessor, and that pressure is felt in each tightly-wound measure,” Hackman said in a statement. “For Radiohead, the themes of social alienation, consumerism, emotional isolation and political turmoil are channeled electrically through every anxious note and lyric of ‘OK Computer.'”

It’s not Hackman’s first time pulling together the worlds of classical and pop music. Previous arrangements have paired Tchaikovsky and Drake, Bartók and Björk, Beethoven and Coldplay, and Copland and Bon Iver.

Tickets, which range from $25-$55, are on sale and can be purchased by calling (410) 783-8000 or visiting

Brandon Weigel

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