Classical goes naked

Well- the classical world has finally caught on to the sheer power of naked.

Hot on the heels of my naked recital post and related commentary, tonight on Channel 4’s “How To Look Good Naked,” the conductor and musicians of Stratford’s Orchestra of the Swan put themselves forward for the Gok treatment. Will they take the intimacy of chamber orchestra performance to a new level? OotS music director David Curtis is going to be a guest conductor with the Surrey Mozart Players in December- will he try to bring the power of naked to the SMP? You can watch the episode here, but you will have to pay…. (look for the season finale featuring the breast cancer survivor)

One of my colleagues in the OES recently suggested we tap into the power of naked, but selectively. She so wants us to get the biggest possible audience for our Mahler cycle that she recommended that we unleash naked “you know, just those in the band who should be naked” to get the community “excited.”

Of course, there are risks to unleashing the power of naked in the concert hall. At least two well-known conductors I can think of (including one former NY Phil MD) are renowned for suffering a condition known as “second baton,” an affliction that manifests itself when a conductor gets a little “too excited.” The combination of second baton and the power of naked may be a bit much.  I don’t suffer second baton (at least, er, not so far), but I’m still not ready to get naked for any orchestra, but maybe I’m not “one of those in the band who should be naked.” Then again, David and co. had a professional naked consultant to prepare them for their nake shoot.

On a serious note, Orchestra of the Swan was one of several orchestras (alonside the London Mozart Players and City of London Sinfonia) whose Arts Council funding was set to be cut to finance the corporate orgy of corruption and self-indulgence that is the Olympics. Next time you hear about ministers who lied about projected costs of the swimming palace, er … pool, remember that hundreds of musicians were thrown out of work, and are going to lose houses and cars and take kids out of summer camp and school, so that broadcasters, Nike and Coke can feed at the trough of worldwide TV coverage for 15 days and a bunch of overpriced stadiums will put some politically connected contractors’ kids through private college, then get used a few times a year at most once the feeding frenzy has passed.

Sorry, do I sound bitter? Maybe, but I challenge any fat cat getting rich off the Olympics to fight naked for their subsidy with a naked, out of work, freelance violist.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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2 comments on “Classical goes naked”

  1. Composerbastard

    All right!! Now we’re talking reality! Nakid mud wrastlin’ contemporary muzik ensemble…a little Downie…some Boulez? hmmmm

  2. Guy Aron

    I quite agree about the Olympics. An academic at RMIT suggested a few years ago that countries should just be able to bid to host them, and the proceeds be donated to charity. It’s hard to think of a less transparent process than the present junket-fest.

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