On Thursday, the Phish-man and the BSO will present the East Coast debut of Anastasio’s 30-minute piece “Time Turns Elastic” at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, marking the latest collaboration between the orchestra and artists known more for making Beethoven roll over than for playing Beethoven’s Fifth.

The Baltimore Sun describes Anastasio’s venture with the BSO as the latest example of rockers “inspired to expand their artistic reach from arenas and downtown clubs to symphony halls.”

During the past few years the orchestra has worked with several rock artists, including Elvis Costello, Ben Folds and The Decemberists. And the BSO isn’t the only orchestra embracing rock musicians. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have also melded classical and rock, often with great success.

Rock and orchestra collaborations are also reaching new audiences. The BSO says 5 percent of first-time ticket buyers who made the long-hair music leap when the orchestra presented Lee Johnson’s Grateful Dead presentation – “Dead Symphony No. 6” – returned for more traditional performances.

But don’t think it’s all about fooling people into falling for classical music.

“We don’t sit around thinking about how we can trick people into liking classical music,” BSO music director Marin Alsop told the Sun. “We’re all into experimenting with things, but not wildly and not every day. The goal is to try to create an experience that is special for people. If one person comes back to a classical concert, that’s great.”

Nevertheless, the orchestra does see the upcoming performance with Anastasio as a method of cultivating younger fans.

“Trey’s music and Phish’s music are almost the perfect music for an orchestral treatment. And it’s an opportunity for us to introduce a new, young audience to an orchestra. We think it will make a lasting impression on them and be a very positive experience,” said Toby Blumenthal, manager of facility sales at the Meyerhoff. “Now they’ll know there is [a] hip, versatile orchestra and music director in Baltimore.”

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