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Mozart gets an upgrade: Trism to host classical music rave

DJ Mr Van Walsh agreed to come all the way to Columbus from his residence in Amsterdam to help put on this innovative classical music rave. Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Jan Walsh

In the United States, strobe lights and DJs haven’t been associated with classical music –– until now.

Trism will host what organizers say is the first-ever classical music rave in the United States Tuesday, featuring live classical music infused with electronic dance music.

Live acts from Sweet Teeth, Xioma and CellOhio will kick off the evening starting at 9 p.m. DJ Mr Van Walsh will take over the event for the rest of the night with music ranging from traditional classical dance music to classical music mixed with EDM.

CellOhio, a student ensemble made up of cellists, put together the event and reached out to Brendan Jan Walsh, whose stage name is DJ Mr Van Walsh, because of his experience hosting classical music raves around the world. He agreed to come all the way to Columbus from his residence in Amsterdam to help put on this innovative show.  

Clara Davison, executive director of CellOhio, explained that the inspiration for this event was to show that classical music can be fun, even if it is not generally considered “dance music.”

“We wanted to have a dance party with classical music because we think classical music is so fun and easy to dance to and there is a super elite and super strict association with classical music and we wanted to tear that down a little bit,” Davison said.

This idea is similar to the one that Walsh and some of his friends came up with a few years ago when they were discussing how to create a friendlier atmosphere for classical music enthusiasts looking for a good time.

Walsh, who has been arranging raves in Amsterdam and elsewhere internationally since 2013, said the idea came about through group of classical music lovers who were frustrated by the etiquette required in concert halls.

“We sort of did a brainstorm, and one girl suddenly yelled out, ‘I like to rave! Why can’t we do a rave?’, and from that exclamation we sort of got together and said we were going to do a rave,” Walsh said.

As of today, Walsh has been a part of more than 20 successful raves with audiences as large as 1,500 people. Prior to its American debut, the rave has traveled to other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Belgium and Turkey.

Admission is free, but in hopes to host more events like this in the future, CellOhio plans to ask for donations from attendees.

Davison urges those who are interested in seeing something different to check out the event.

“If you want to come see something that is totally new and has never been done before on this continent, come hang with us and make music history.”

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