Bond Puts the Spice Into Classical String Quartet Performance

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Bond Puts the Spice Into Classical String Quartet Performance

How would you categorize a recording that contains pop and dance music performed by a string quartet trained formally in classical music? Is the recording classical or popular? The subject has been drawing a lot of attention in England ever since a string quartet's recording was removed from the British Classical Music Chart after occupying second place on the chart for only a week. Chart International Network, which provides data on recordings sold in England, explained that the recording has no selections by a classical composer, and that it contains too many elements of pop and dance music.

The album in question is "Born," the debut effort of a British quartet, Bond. The quartet, consisting of four attractive young women, has been labeled the Spice Girls of the classical music world. The quartet became internationally famous when news spread of its removal from the British classical chart. The recording was then swept off many classical charts worldwide.

Members of Bond include Haylie Ecker, Eos Davis, Tania Davis and Gay-yee Westerhoff, all of whom studied classical music. Haylie, the first violinist, graduated from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Eos, the second violinist, graduated from the Royal College of Music. Tania, the group's violist, received her degree from the Sydney Conservatory and earned a postgraduate diploma in performance with distinction from the Guildhall School Of Music and Drama in London. Gay-yee, the cellist, graduated from Trinity College of Music in London. These talented women share their passion for music and performing, though each of them has a taste for different types of music, including soul, hip-hop, jazz or dance.

String quartets are considered the elite of classical performance, but Bond succeeded in creating a unique sound by adding electronics and a steady beat to the traditional quartet formula. In addition, unlike members of other quartets who tend to be conservative in both their manner of playing and their dress, the girls of Bond almost dance around the stage and wear unconventional costumes when they perform. The audience at Bond's performances usually reacts wildly, screaming and clapping hands, as if they were at a rock concert.

The quartet was created by Mel Bush, a music promoter who helped musicians such as Bannesa May and David Bowie become international stars. The group uses marketing methods traditionally reserved for pop stars. Last March, for instance, Bond held an outdoor concert in New York, during which a new model for Jaguar was also promoted. The quartet often appears in clubs and on television shows. The girls cater to a younger audience, between 18 and 30 years old, unlike most classical performers who aim for conservative fans, mostly over 30 years old. Some of the works included in Bond's debut album, such as "Victory" and "Winter," have been remixed for dance clubs.

Bond comes to Korea this month to promote "Born." The quartet will perform in the lobby of the Posco building in Gangnam, Seoul, on June 15. It will also appear on some television shows and give additional performances in Korea.



by Lee Jang-jik

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