Published on Swisster on 10.12.08

A novel alliance between a hot dance club and a classical chamber orchestra is about to be launched in Lausanne. “Noces” takes place on Wednesday at the Métropole and the MAD. Over 30 year-olds, please abstain.

Pronounce the words classical music and the I-Pod generation usually responds with a grunt or a smirk. Getting them to take an interest in what goes on in classical concert halls is a problem facing orchestras the world over. Programmers and administrators are looking for solutions that need to be playful and attractive.

The USA has led the way by mixing classical and electro, Germany has followed with the Berlin Philharmonic organizing concerts with non-professional singers and only last week the Scala in Milan reserved a performance of the opera “Don Carlos” for under 26-year olds only.

Not to be left behind, Switzerland has come up with its own program, albeit one initiated by an American in Zurich. David Zinman, at the head of the famed Tonhalle orchestra has been organizing concert-discos under the label of “Tonehalle-Late” for the last six years. And always to a full house. 1’600 young adults pack the hall, discovering for the first time Ravel’s Bolero or Beethoven’s Fifth without a rap beat. But that doesn’t keep them from tapping along with their feet.

Noces is a dare-devil marriage made in Lausanne. The Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, known as OCL, is recognized as one of today’s best chamber orchestras. The Moulin à Danse, known as the MAD, is a trendy venue that has contributed to building Lausanne’s reputation as the clubbing capital of Switzerland. Together, they have put together an evening meant to rapture and electrify.

The evening begins at 8 p.m. in the foyer of Lausanne’s landmark Metropole concert hall with an hour long DJ performance by Igor Blaska of the MAD. Then the wonderfully engaging Christian Zacharias will lead the OCL through a program of Vivaldi (Concerto for four violins), Johann Sebastian Bach (the unusual Concerto for four pianos), finishing off with a piece, Noces (The Wedding, also for four pianos), that Igor Stravinski composed when he was living in Morges around 1917.

The audience will then be ushered out of the Metropole, across the street in the Flon to the MAD, where the cult DJ, Mr. Mike will be joined by two brave musicians from the OCL.

An evening of new cultural frontiers for the price of a pizza. And no old foggys.

Michèle Laird, née Haffner, was an international arts administrator (visual arts and theatre), successively in Paris, New York and London, before moving to Switzerland and becoming an arts journalist.

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