Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hilbert Circle Theatre, Jan. 21.
With whirling lights and drop-down video screen moments, ISO opened its 2010 Happy Hour season with a totally different approach to introducing young professionals to the symphonic repertoire. What we experienced Jan. 21 was in a class of its own, and conductor, arranger, pianist, performer, effects-designer Steve Hackman owned it. Upon entering the concert hall we experienced low blue lights and the conductor at the piano, running through John Adams' "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." The orchestra entered and unobtrusively eased into Hackman's arrangement featuring Coldplay's "Fix You" between the opening and closing of the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and later delivered Debussy's "Clair de Lune" between Stravinsky's "Infernal Dance" and the Finale from "The Firebird Suite." Throughout, the ISO provided a well-balanced sound.
To Hackman's arrangement of Thomas Newman's "Meet Joe Black: Whisper of a Thrill/Interlude," dancers Mariel Greenlee and Timothy June added a choreographic interlude akin to Nijinsky's conception for "Afternoon Of A Faun." A sell-out crowd seemed to love Hackman's laid-back style and the synthesis of today's pop culture with what may have been 'pops' at one time and now is classical.