Going Symphonic: 5 Guitarists Performing With Orchestras


For years rock guitarists have crossed-over into the classical realm to pair up for performances with symphony orchestras. This week Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio appeared with the Nashville Symphony for a concert featuring three new orchestral arrangement of the guitarist’s songs. This edition of Sunday Cinema presents Trey and four other axemen collaborating with symphony orchestras.

Anastasio’s appearance a few days ago at Music City’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center saw the full orchestra debuts of “What’s The Use,” “The Lizards” and “Summer Of ‘89.” Watch audience-shot footage of those first two debuts followed by a pair of videos of past appearances Trey has made with symphonies in recent years

[What’s The Use? – Captured by gayanastasio]

[The Lizards | Captured by Ben Katz]

[Stash With Seattle Symphony – September 11, 2014 | Captured by glaste03]

[You Enjoy Myself With Colorado Symphony – February 28, 2012 | Captured by Jeremiah Clark]

Renowned guitarist Eric Clapton was supported by the National Philharmonic Orchestra during a concert staged at the historic Royal Albert Hall in London in February 1990. Conductor Michael Kamen prepared a two-part “Concerto For Electric Guitar” which was led by Slowhand during the collaborative show. Watch both parts below:

[Part One ]

[Part Two]

Guitarist Warren Haynes has staged several Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration concerts in recent years. Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver hosted a special concert last year on what would have been Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia’s birthday. The August 1st show featured Haynes playing Tiger – Garcia’s custom-built Doug Irwin guitar while backed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and a core band made up of drummer Jeff Sipe, bassist Lincoln Schleifer and vocalists Jasmine Muhammad and Jacklyn LaBranch. Here’s “Scarlet Begonias” from last summer:

Late great guitarist Glen Campbell developed his six-string chops as member of the outstanding group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. Campbell’s talent as successful pop-crossover vocalist cause his expertise at playing guitar to at times go overlooked. Campbell’s incredible picking skills are on display in the below video in which he leads an orchestra on “William Tell’s Overture.” Following an introduction by Bob Hope, watch the performance from September 1974 in Central Park in New York City here:

This series of videos concludes with composer, band leader, guitarist and producer Frank Zappa. Another role on Zappa’s resume was that of conductor and he can be seen filling the position with the Ensemble Modern at Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 17, 1992. What would be his final public performance before his death from cancer in 1993 saw the arrangements of “Dog Breath Variations” and “Uncle Meat,” which are viewable below: