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These pop artists who have also embarked on classical music

Next July, the ex-Daft Punk Thomas Bangalter will propose a new piece, composed for symphony orchestra, to accompany a ballet by Angelin Prejlocaj in Bordeaux. Before him, other popular composers tried their hand at orchestral music.

Thomas Bangalter, in 2014 in his Daft Punk costume at the Grammy Awards © AFP / Christopher Polk / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

Five months after the announcement of the end of the Daft Punk group, one of its members finally gives news through the Bordeaux Tourist Office. In July 2022, the Bordeaux ballet will create the piece Mythologies choreographies by Angelin Prejlocaj. And to the music: Thomas Bangalter. For this show that “explores contemporary rituals and founding myths that shape the collective imagination“, the former member of the group of robots will compose a new work. But no electronic music in the key: it is the orchestra of the Opéra de Bordeaux, conducted by Romain Dumas, who will interpret the score.

But Thomas Bangalter is far from being the first to leave the ranks of “amplified” music to venture into “classical” music (in the broad sense of the term). Before him, others also ventured there: one of the most prolific is Paul McCartney. The ex-Beatle has signed no less than seven classical music albums – including a film soundtrack and an album released under pseudonym. A tour de force for a musician who began by having learned the piano on his own and does not know how to write music: if he gets help from arrangers for the first discs, he uses computers to compose and write the album sheet music Paul McCartneys Standing Stone in 1997.

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Like Bangalter and McCartney, another musical jack-of-all-trades, Damon Albarn, also had some adventures in orchestral music. The Blur keyboardist and instigator of Gorillaz has also composed several operas, including Monkey, Journey to the West in 2007, which was staged at the Châtelet in Paris, or Dr Deebased on the life of mathematician John Dee.

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And, did you know? Pink Floyd lead singer Roger Waters collaborated with the French lyricist Etienne Roda-Gil on the creation of an opera recounting the French Revolution. “Ca ira”, created in 2004, has never been performed in France.

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And in France ? One of the most experienced in the exercise is William Sheller. In fact, the interpreter of Proud and mad of you or of A happy man composed more instrumental works than song albums, but not all have been immortalized on record. We owe him several symphonies and concertos, a wedding Mass, as well as some film music.

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But he is not the only one to have tried it: do you remember that the first album of Michael Berger after his youth in the yé-yé was an instrumental work for “piano, symphony orchestra and pop formation“? Puzzle, released in 1971, was a bitter commercial failure. It has never been reissued, not even in all of his albums released in early 2021.

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Years after his death, Michel Berger also saw his work starmania adapted in the form of an opera, in 2008 in Quebec.

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