Bringing Beethoven to Bed-Stuy: DJ Eddie Marz Remixes the Master for the Brooklyn Philharmonic
Beethoven, meet Bed-Stuy.
The composer’s next interpreter is Brooklyn producer DJ Eddie Marz, MetroFocus exclusively reports today. The Brooklyn Philharmonic announced Marz as the winner of its Beethoven Remix contest, which called on Brooklyn DJs and sound artists to remix the finale of Beethoven’s Third Symphony (the Eroica).
The neighborhood in the County of Kings inspires all aspects of the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s upcoming “Bed-Stuy Orchestra Concert.” The concert on June 9 features Brooklynite Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), a tribute to Bedford-Stuyvesant native Lena Horne, and a performance of Marz’s remix.
“This is life-changing, it opens up a whole new style for me,” said Marz. “Wow man, classical and hip-hop! And it’s sweet!”
Click the play button to stream “Ill Harmonic,” DJ Eddie Marz’s remix of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Eroica.
DJ Eddie Marz, 40, born Darryl Small, is a producer and DJ who has been making music since he was 16. He was the lead MC for the band 4 or 5 Dopes while in college in Los Angeles and has toured with multiple bands.
Though the philharmonic is nodding to its roots with the choice of the Eroica — the group performed the masterpiece at its debut concert in 1857 — Marz’s remix, which will be arranged by contemporary composer and 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist Andrew Norman, re-imagines a classical piece of music for a current time.
“The remix puts it [the Beethoven] in an entirely new context,” said Philharmonic Artistic Director Alan Pierson. “He [DJ Eddie Marz] takes two sections and layers them against each other and it’s completely outside the world of the piece. It sheds a new light on Beethoven’s material.”
Organized by Brooklyn-based musician Sam Hillmer, the Bed-Stuy concert is the culmination of the orchestra’s yearlong endeavor to perform music across the borough, connecting the orchestra to local communities, partly by making the Beethoven Remix Project concerts free. The idea is to have each concert reflect the neighborhood in which it takes place. In Brighton Beach, the opening movement of the Eroica was paired with a Russian film, and in the contemporary setting of Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn, the scherzo of the symphony shared a program with world premieres. Marz, whose work will be in the final Bed-Stuy concert, met Hillmer in Brooklyn while working on musical projects together, and was turned on to Beethoven Remix then.
“We are taking ideas from the classical canon and the orchestral tradition and putting them into conversation with things happening in Brooklyn right now,” said Pierson. “What is happening culturally here, and how can an orchestra contribute?”
Indeed, Pierson thinks a way for orchestras to remain relevant is to work more closely with the place they represent.
“I know that we’re in a time when orchestras are struggling,” he said. “But being relevant to communities — that’s not only us looking at this — it’s taking a unique approach.”
The philharmonic went out into the community, working with Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, to encourage community response and participation. The goal was to connect with residents in a way that had never been previously done.
For Marz, the relationship has proven more than fruitful. The Beethoven inspired him so much he has created two albums worth of work. His album, Ill Harmonic feat Beethoven, will be released on June 1.
It doesn’t hurt that Brooklyn is the center of the world when it comes to hip cultural trends.
“It’s where artists come now,” said Pierson.
Marz says he thinks Beethoven Remix will attract a whole new scene to the world of classical music.
“Yo, we’re mixing hip-hop with Beethoven! If we really pop it up, it will be humongous,” he said.
The Bed-Stuy Orchestra Concert is on June 9 at 8 p.m. at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St., Brooklyn. FREE.