The Breaking The Sound Barriers CD Contest Results
The winners of the "Breaking The Sound Barriers CD Contest" have been
chosen! They will be announced below! Von Cello will also respond to
some of the comments culled from the entries not chosen. We are very
pleased by the turnout. Over a thousand people hit the contest page and
many people entered!
The contest was created in response to the fact that Von Cello's CD was
entered in the Grammys in the Classical Crossover category and was moved
by the classical committee into the Vocal Pop category. The contest
worked as follows: contestants were supposed to listen to the CD and
then write a comment as to whether or not they felt the CD should be
classified as Classical Crossover or Vocal Pop. In other words, it was a
chance for people to weigh in on the appropriateness of the classical
committee's decision. To review how the comments were to be judged, here
is a quote from the original announcement: "Comments will be judged on
wit, insight, humor and creativity."
The Grand Prize is a free subscription to the Indiebiz website, a $100
value, and an autographed copy of Von Cello's CD "Breaking The Sound
Barriers." The other prizes are an autographed copy of Von Cello's CD.
There are five winners.
We also tallied up all the opinions expressed in the entries. The vote
went as follows: 77% felt the CD was classical crossover, 23% felt it
was vocal pop. And now...the winners!
The Grand Prize goes to David White. He was very clever in the way he
tied his comments to a current event. His insight was apparent in his
recognition that what was really at stake here was a person's dream. He
also peppered his comments with humor.
Grand Prize : David White
Subject: No Choice
I'm fifty one years old now , no longer a beach boy type. I started
playing the piano at the age of five, notice I said "playing" and not
the "study" word. The truth of the matter is this - my piano teacher
of long ago taught me to do one thing, love music! I've listened at
one time or another to just about every type of music. I think I know
what would be "Classical Crossover" verses "Britney Spearmint Gummy
Bear Blues." Someone missed the boat here. I think I know the type.
"We have to meet a dateline and I think I'll put this here." That is
about as logical as a submarine captain in the United States Navy
sinking a ship full of high school students, without a torpedo, in
the worlds largest ocean! We live in wonderful times. DNA, NASA, NRA,
and BS. "Voncello" was robbed of the chance to compete! Someone
goofed here and probably elsewhere too. I don't pretend to be an
expert, but this one is not stupid. This one can recognize stupid.
Stupid is what happens when someone abandons thought. Stupid
sometimes takes lives, sometimes an arm or leg or even an eye.
Sometimes stupid is called an "accident." When stupid takes away
someone's dreams, it is no accident- it is just plain STUPIDITY!
Winner: Maggie Council DiPietra
Subject: *Classic* classical crossover
There is no music outside Von Cello's sphere of influence; he
effectively deconstructs musical genres with his work, reconstructing
in unique, but still recognizably classical ways.
Someday the NARAS people might have to deal with expanding their
categorization concepts to be more inclusive. It's not like the guy
took a sample of the LSO (London Symphony Orchestra) and laid
a rap on it! There is no question in my mind that the CD is
Classical Crossover; although Von Cello could go for a Pop Vocal
award if he wanted to, his album is much more than that, and should
stay where the *artist* entered it. I hope it makes him smile, too,
the thought of the classical committee acting all afraid of his music...
Winner: Paula Bright
I have long been a fan of Von Cello's classical work, as well as his
newer "crossover" material. Are these Grammy "classical committee"
members aware that he has numerous serious music books published by
Oxford press? Are they aware that he spent years studying with some
of the finest classical cello teachers in the world? Are they aware
that he has performed with some of the top orchestras in several
For a cellist of his caliber who has "created" these new sounds,
songs, and style -- to be denied the label "classical crossover" is
not just an injustice--it is an outright joke and insult!
If this is the way in which artists achieving the so-very-coveted
place in the Grammies are treated, then I'm not so sure it is
something that we in the music world should aim and work for with the
dedication we do.
What are these people THINKING? Surely they are joking? I'm stunned,
and to tell you the truth, outraged. Well, I'm beginning to grind my
teeth in frustration, so I'll end this missive before I start asking
for names and addresses!
Winner: Tamika English
My name is Tamika English, and I've been recording for 11 years
now, Choir was nominated for a Grammy this year. And I know my
music!!!!!! and I thank it should be a classical crossover !!!!! And
whoever said it shouldn't needs to get out of the industry...
"WHY?" Because they don't know good
classical music at all !!!!!! And I'll be glad to tell them !!!!!
I love music and know good music......let me win this please!!!!!!
Because I would love to meet that person to tell them to CLEAN THEIR
Winner: J.J. Hagger
Subject: To be or not to be. that is the competition!
We sit in judgment all the time about what something should or
should not be, is it modern rock or classic rock, can a new Robert
Plant song be modern rock by a classic rock artist?
We get tangled up in genres & the inability to recognize a musical
piece for just that, we now have moved into so many sub-genres because
we still have to have that little box to put something into when we
live in an age where the public doesn't do that anymore. Rockers like
Rap & Rappers like Rock, on the streets it's 4-Real, yet all those
nice marketing personnel will tell you it ain't so.
When you think of classical music I'm sure that we all have thought
about a bunch of old farts playing to a crowd that just shakes it's
jewelry instead of clapping, John Lennon was right. But when you look
at the bigger picture you could call Nigel Kennedy or Charlotte
Church pop music, yet they are classical artists that cross over into
all sorts of areas & influence.
Look at Steve Vai. Is he a metal artist, not if you talk to Korn
fans. Is he a classical guitarist, well the "Beethoven Brigade"
certainly would view what he does with distaste. Yet if we could
really get "Bill & Ted" to go back in time with a synth & a guitar
then we can all imagine what Ludwig would come out with.
There is the problem, old stuck in their ways people with nice cars &
nice houses & a history of what is right or wrong. I feel after
listening to the Von Cello music that all sides have a valuable point,
yet they should make the decision based on the music on the shiny
disc & not what they feel they should do. Ten reviewers from ten
genres would give the album ten very different reviews, This does not
mean they are all right or all wrong, it's just an opinion & like
a***holes, we all have them but some are more full of s**t than
You can set your watch by what will win certain genres of music
because of the blinkers on the higher level at most companies. Free
your mind & the rest will follow. If only the music industry took that
Thus ends the entries of the winners. Now Von Cello will respond to
sections of some of the entries not chosen. Some are positive and others
negative. The reason they weren't chosen was that the entries above were
judged to have fit the criteria more closely.
Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin wrote: The CD is really neither.
Von Cello responds: I can see your point. I wanted this CD to walk that
fine line between the genres of classical and rock. In fact, I wanted to
create a new type of music. I'm glad that you picked up on that.
Victoria Boland wrote: Love the flavor you've given the classics! It's today!
Von Cello responds: I'm happy that you said it's "today." I do feel that
I have entered new territory. Perhaps it is too new for certain people
Marc Wagnon wrote: After listening to a few tracks I am convinced that
this is not a
cross over album, but a provocative publicity stunt. Von Cello should
be congratulated for the latter.
Von Cello responds: I don't know if I should say thank you. The fact
that you only listened to a few tracks makes me wonder what you might
have thought had you listened to the whole thing. This CD is like those
wonderful "concept albums" from the classic rock era. It tells the story
of a cellist "crossing over" from classical to rock. Every song is
either an arrangement of a classical piece, has lyrics about a crossover
cellist, or has references to classical music. Yes I do want publicity,
but this is not a stunt. Bringing the cello into popular music is my
Nicola Cosmo Salerno wrote:
I think that "Breaking The Sound Barriers" is simply a very bad trial
to make innovative music. My opinion is that if a classical musician
is trying to do something else....well...usually he's not able to do
anything interesting simply because rock/pop is not his background.
The result is really pathetic. I've been listening to some pieces and
I found them simply ...old and anachronistic! For example, does the
composer know that the kind of use of violin cello with distortion is
something already done, for example, in avant-garde improvised music
during the 70s? Bad taste dominates the whole work, lack of ideas is
the must of this album. The sublime kitsch on the "Air on the 4th
String" by Bach is unreachable!!!!
Von Cello responds: Wow! If only you had a sense of humor you might have
won an autographed CD! (I'm sure you're upset.) I noticed that you think
I am a classical musician trying to sound like a rock musician! That's
excellent! You provide living proof as to just how successful I have
been at becoming accepted as a classical cellist. This is quite an
achievement considering that I grew up as a rock guitarist!
You ask if I know that cellists were using distortion in the 70's. Of
course I do, I was one of them! But even if I were the young upstart
that you imagined me to be, what's wrong with using distortion? What
you're saying is something like, "Does the cellist know that vibrato was
first used in the 1670's? How anachronistic to still use vibrato today."
Just because someone used a certain sound at a certain time, does not
preclude it from ever being valid in the future. After all, guitarists
are still using distortion. Do you have a problem with that too?
You commented that this CD has a lack of ideas. A cellist playing
everything from Bach to rap to folk to rock to Americana to new
age...you don't find any ideas? How about basing a folk rock tune on a
Schubert lieder, or using whole tone melodies mixed with industrial
percussive sounds to describe feelings of alienation caused by the
internet, or writing a pop tune in the style of a Bach cantata, or
making the cello sound like a train, or like Hendrix and then combining
that sound with hip hop drum loops in a rap about an angry cellist
forced to rap for a living due to the fact that our culture gives more
support to rap than to classical music? This is the only album that I
know where a musician actually describes his journey from classical
music to popular music. It's a classical crossover CD about CROSSING
OVER! No ideas? If there's one thing this CD has, it's ideas!
I'm glad that you found my "Bach To The Future" sublime. I find it
beautiful and moving myself. Your kitsch comment reminds me of a comment
I heard from a writer who said that fall foliage was nature's kitsch.
Funny...I always thought it was nature's artistry. One man's art is
another's kitsch. In any case, the best art always provokes a reaction.
By the way, you never did answer the question. You were supposed to have
written about whether my CD is classical crossover or vocal pop. Oh
well...I guess you were just too busy reacting!
John Pomplin wrote:
Yep that's it, classical crossover. You are right, you got screwed by
NARAS on that one. Consider this my vote (and entry).
Von Cello responds:
If the prize were based on getting quickly to the point you would have
won! Your handful of words speaks volumes!
I'm thankful to all of the contestants for their entries. Whether your
comments were pro or con, I am grateful for the time you spent listening
to, and thinking about, my music!