A Thing or Two About a Tune or Two: When Rock Meets Classical

Richard Reed Parry


Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry is another rocker-turned-classical worthy of note who’s June release on Deutsche Grammophon features several of the performers mentioned in this original article.  Read the full review from Pitchfork here.

The following segment of Fun Friday originally appeared on January 25, 2014. Don’t want to wait until Friday for your dose of classical music humor? Check out the archive of  Fun Friday posts.



Call me revolutionary, but I like to combine things that don’t usually belong together: eggs and hamburgers, french fries and milk shakes, peanut butter and rice, Mexican tacos and Korean barbeque.  Perhaps it’s my ENFP inability to make a decision and my incurable distractedness, but I enjoy the endless variety of life. Following our guest blog post by the lovely Caitlin Cassidy, “Rocking out to Carmina Catulli”, I decided to focus on the wonderful and weird blend of classical and rock music. It’s good to know that others agree: sometimes the greatest inspiration comes from the oldest of dudes.

One of my favorite bands, Muse, is known for their appreciation for and shameless sampling of the greats. Here they sample Camille Saint-Saëns in “I Belong To You / Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix

Here is the marvelous Jessye Norman’s interpretation:

And for your educational pleasure, a great list of rockers who are also composers:

Jonny Greenwood



















(and a great Rolling Stone article)

Bryce Dessner

Steve Reich

Photo Credit: Jay Blakesberg

Photo Credit: Jay Blakesberg


















Nico Muhly
















Here is Radiohead quoting Paul Lansky at 00:42-00:53

Everyone knows that Billy Joel likes uptown girls and honesty, but not everyone is aware of the fact that the The Piano Man himself is actually classically trained and is now is finding his way back to his roots. Here in his “This Night”, Mr. Joel quotes Beethoven’s “Pathetique Sonata”.

And here is his classical album for solo piano.

For another great list of classical/rock crossovers head over to Classic FM. And check back every Friday for more A Thing or Two about a Tune or Two (or “TOTAATOT”, as we like to call it – it’s chaistic!). Don’t forget to follow Refinersfire on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. And subscribe to our newsletter. Let’s spread the word about great music!

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