Listen Up! – Classical


Honolulu Symphony Pops conductor Matt Catingub and Elvis Costello rehearse for Costello’s Spring concert. photo: Karin Kovalsky


Matt Catingub wants you—as an audience member. “I want people to realize that classical music is fun,” says the Honolulu Symphony Pops conductor. “Some musicians don’t like me saying this, but we’re entertainers. People aren’t coming to see how brilliant you are, they want a show.” To that end, not only has Catingub brought in big names such as Elvis Costello and James Ingram, he’s invited the local music community onstage with the Honolulu Symphony by creating orchestral arrangements for Keali‘i Reichel, Amy Gilliom, Makaha Sons and Na Leo, among others. “I can’t think of another city orchestra that can do what we do. Our local music scene is so strong, and so supportive.”

Catingub sees the Honolulu Symphony’s Pops program as being the ideal introduction to classical for those unfamiliar with orchestral music. “Who out in Wai‘anae is going to come out to see the Honolulu Symphony play Mahler? But they’ll come out for the Makaha Sons. That’s the Honolulu Symphony, too, and I love to see them there.” Next year, mark your calendars for Pat Benatar and Jake Shimabukuro.

The Galliard String Quartet. photo: coutesy of Chamber Music Hawai‘i


If you’re looking for local classical music on a more intimate scale, the groups of Chamber Music Hawai‘i have got you covered. With anywhere from two to a dozen players, chamber music performances bring you closer to the musicians, so you can better see who’s playing what. You’ll also get a better sense of each musician’s personality than you might during one of their “day job” performances with the Honolulu Symphony. Jonathan Parrish, horn player for the Spring Wind Quintet, explains, “When working with the full orchestra, we’re confined to the artistic vision of the conductor. In chamber music, we negotiate among ourselves, and battle and badger each other till we come to some unified concept of what this piece should sound like. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in that.”

And there’s plenty to listen to. The Chamber Music Hawai‘i season comprises two programs for each of the organization’s groups: the Honolulu Brass Quintet, Spring Wind Quintet, Galliard String Quartet (pictured above) and a Tresemble, which mixes and matches musicians from the other groups. View the entire 2006-2007 season schedule at


Visit and for upcoming concerts.