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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 17:14 GMT
Klass calls for classical change
Myleene Klass
Klass was trained at the Royal Academy of Music
Former Hear'Say singer Myleene Klass - now forging a career in classical music - has called for classical music to be made more accessible to the general public.

Klass, whose recent debut album Moving On featured music by Elgar, Beethoven, and Michael Nyman, said that classical music remained too "elitist."

"Donning a leather jacket doesn't just suddenly make you accessible, it is the whole package," Klass told BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme.

"I think that's what the classical world needs to give. Let's get everything to the same edgy degree that the pop world's got at, because it looks stronger on the television - none of this soft-focus classical nonsense.

"Let's make it edgy, let's make it current, let's make it exciting."

Wolfgang Amadeus Timberlake

Klass trained at London's Royal Academy of Music before trying for the group that would eventually become Hear'Say on ITV's Popstars show.

Mozart - the Justin Timberlake of his day?
Despite record-breaking sales for the debut single Pure And Simple, the group went into sharp decline and split in 2002, less than two years after forming.

Klass pointed out that Mozart wrote pieces for the popular audience, and that it was important to stress he was not elitist - although he is now seen that way.

"When he wrote he never wrote with that [elitist] mindset. He was a bit of a party animal. He was a real person, he wasn't a saint," she said.

"He was the Justin Timberlake of his time, and that's the closet thing that people can relate to.

"As soon as you say that, Beethoven would probably have been the Liam Gallagher of his time.

"It's just about putting it into a box that people can understand it in, without necessarily putting it into a classical box."

Much debate is currently raging around the classical music world over "crossover" artists - classical performers who are marketed to appeal to a mainstream audience.

The likes of Bond, the Opera Babes and Russell Watson are seen as either making classical music more accessible or "dumbing down."

Music mogul Pete Waterman - one of the judges on Popstars - has also announced plans to get involved, with his recent announcement of his own classical act, a boy duo called Jewel.

Self-indulgent artists

Klass said that it was important for classical artists to connect more with people, adding that on her album - which includes a song originally by Linkin Park - she had given a modern "edge" to the pieces.

Linkin Park
Klass's album includes a classical-style Linkin Park song
"The problem of classical music for me is that the audience can't join in," she said.

"They can't wave their lighters. They don't even know where to clap in some cases, because if there's three movements you're not allowed to clap - and yet you want to join in.

"You're stuck there in your seat, and classical musicians can be very insular.

"It can be very self-indulgent - 'look at how virtuosic I am, look at how wonderful my performance is'. But what's the point?

"If you can't share it with people, if it doesn't reach anybody, you haven't done your job that day."

Myleene Klass plays it safe
31 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Hear'Say star signs classical deal
13 May 03  |  Entertainment
Move to save 'endangered' music
26 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Mozart 'masterpiece' completed
15 Nov 03  |  West Yorkshire
Opera star's anger at 'dumbing down'
29 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Near'Say: Cloning the Popstars
02 Apr 01  |  Entertainment


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