Hip hop gets a symphonic mash-up

It’s an hour before the show, and violist Charith Premawardhana is bowing and plucking his way through rigorous music arrangements that he’s just now seeing for the very first time. Pushing dark-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose, he leafs through a thick stack of sheet music labeled with song titles like “The Girls of Capp Street” and “Boogie Symphonette.”

Charith, 28, is a classically-trained, full-time professional musician. He pays rent by performing weekly gigs with regional symphonies in places like Fresno, Carmel and Berkeley. In less than 60 minutes, he’ll be playing viola with a wickedly talented ensemble in front of an audience, just as he’s done a hundred times before. But tonight’s show is completely different from any other. Tonight he’s performing live hip hop for the first time ever, with the Shotgun Wedding Hip Hop Symphony.

“This stuff is not easy,” Charith says as he scrambles to organize his sheet music. “I’m out of my comfort zone, but I dig it. I definitely dig it. Classical music is all about expression, but this is all about the band being tight as fuck.”

The full story at Oh Dang!

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