Why wouldn’t classical music be Dave Faulkner’s scene?
Teaming up with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra will be a dream come true for The Hoodoo Gurus’ frontman and songwriter when the iconic Australian band performs their hits at Symphony in the Park next year as part of the Enlighten Festival.
“I’m surprised if people don’t realise that a songwriter like myself wouldn’t be interested in music in all its shapes and forms,” he said at press conference announcing the event.
“I’ve never stopped absorbing influences. Classical has been there all my life and given me great pleasure over the years.”
The Hoodoos, who last played in the national capital in 2017, will join the CSO for a one-off collaboration on 10 March in Commonwealth Park.
Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said it would be a world-first for Canberra audiences and she expected a record crowd for what Faulkner said would be a magical event.
Ms Cheyne said the Hoodoos were a much loved, extraordinarily accomplished and incredibly enduring band celebrating 40 years together.
“It’s highly likely there will be a record crowd, the Hoodoos having such a long career, but also reaching different generations at different times,” she said.
For Faulkner, it will be another opportunity to continue to grow as an artist.
“One of the most amazing instruments ever created by humans is the symphony orchestra, and to have that as a resource for my music is beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.
But the band will have to tone it down a notch to combine properly with the CSO.
“We’re going to have to adjust how we play. We won’t be able to blast it out,” Faulkner said.
“We’ll need to get the flavours together and not interfere with each other.”
They will be working with composer and musical director Alex Turley, whose job is to bring the two genres together.
“For me, as the orchestrator, I’m tasked with finding ways of expanding the musical world outside the four musicians of the Hoodoo Gurus, who will now have a 40-odd piece orchestra behind them,” he said.
“It’s about building the music into this cinematic, epic soundscape – allowing the two genres, rock plus the orchestral side, to fuse together and create something really new and exciting.”
Turley sees it as a great honour to be involved in the project, given the band’s music has provided the soundtrack to many people’s lives.
“Among the songs Dave and I have chosen are some hits and some lesser-known tracks, some funny songs and some serious songs and some romantic songs. It really is kind of an emotional journey,” he said.
Faulkner, who has combined with Turley for one song already, said it would feel like new music when performed with the CSO.
“It’s an exploration already, and it’s begun with that song and it’s going to continue through another 18. There’s going to be a lot of music,” he said.
“I’m excited by some of the overlooked or more obscure ones because I know they’re going to surprise.”
Turley has ideas for some songs that Faulkner would not have imagined.
Ms Cheyne said the match-up came about through a simple conversation about the high quality of the CSO with a band manager who said he could connect her with someone who might be interested in a collaboration.
CSO chief executive officer Rachel Thomas said Symphony in the Park was a chance for Canberrans to experience classical music in a fun and engaging way.
“Being able to work with a band as beloved as the Hoodoo Gurus to set their songs to classical music is something we’re incredibly excited about,” she said.
The Enlighten Festival will welcome visitors from 1 to 11 March in 2024