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Internationally-renowned cellist, Jacob Shaw, visits the Costa del Sol

Internationally acclaimed cellist Jacob Shaw will be performing on the Costa del Sol this weekend.
Internationally acclaimed cellist Jacob Shaw will be performing on the Costa del Sol this weekend. / SUR
  • His fresh approach to classical music has attracted a new audience of music lovers who had previously felt that classical music would not be to their taste

The world of classical music is often associated with the rich and upper-class intellectuals. To those people who are not familiar with the classic composers, it seems to be a world far beyond their reach.

The concept that a classical music concert has to be held in a big hall with a particular type of audience is an image that one young musician is trying to shed.

Jacob Shaw, who is performing with the Scandinavian Cello School (SCS) on the Costa del Sol this week, is an internationally-renowned musician who has his sights firmly fixed on promoting classical music to a much wider audience.

He passionately believes that something must be done to bring a wider audience into classical music.

Born in West Norwood, London, in 1988, Jacob comes from a classical music background.

His mother is a music school teacher and his father played viola in the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Although classical music has been his calling, Jacob, who lives in Copenhagen, felt the need to experiment with different types of world music.

His fresh approach to classical music has attracted a new audience of music lovers who had previously felt that classical music would not be to their taste. Because he has stayed within the boundaries of classical music, his music has also been received well by the more dyed-in-the-wool aficionados.

Jacob has presented his modern, fresh approach to classical music throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

His Carnegie Hall debut in January 2015 drew substantial attention and resulted in numerous North American bookings. It also resulted in the signing of a music deal with New York-based international record label Roven Records.

In Romania, he played in a non-conventional venue to an audience who were not familiar with classical music, and they adored what he did.

As Jacob points out, "There is not some set, old-fashioned, stuffy way of presenting classical music."

He believes there is no reason why he cannot present it to those who are lovers, and also those who have no classical background at all.

"I think it is possible to present it in such a way that it stays 100 per cent true to classical music, but in a fresh, upbeat way. We are not going to alienate our regular audiences, but we can bring in a new younger audience," the young cellist told SUR in English.

Jacob remains respectful of the roots of his music, but he also recognises the importance of other world music.

He does not, however, mix, or fuse, classical music with other genres; he plays it as it was originally written, while emphasising certain elements of the folk music that inspired it.

"Music is like a simple sentence, you can phrase it in many ways. You obviously have a frame, but you need to step out of it occasionally," he says.

Modern dance

Jacob is currently preparing a project with the lead dancer of the New York City Ballet. He believes that this will be a different way of introducing an audience that may be interested in modern dance, but not necessarily in the genre of classical music.

"We don't necessarily need to freshen up classical music; we just need to present it better. To 'see the music and hear the dance' is a saying within the world of ballet, and I think this sums up what we are trying to do, " he explains.

One of Jacob's passions is teaching and promoting young cellists from around the world, and the SCS, which he founded in 2016, is the platform he uses to do this.

Jacob is visiting the Costa del Sol to promote the SCS and even though he is also preparing for two concerts this weekend, the passionate youngster took time out of his busy schedule to perform a special concert at the Cudeca hospice in Benalmádena.

The forthcoming concerts are another way of introducing new audiences to classical music. The concerts, which are based on the classic works of western composers, will combine classical music with fine dining.

"Our concept is to create an atmosphere where people can relax and enjoy good food and wine, while enjoying classical music in a small restaurant, rather than in a huge concert hall, Jacob explains in his Scandinavian-tinted accent.

Jacob tours for ten months of the year, often performing as many as 75 concerts all over the world. He will be touring the USA next month, but he reveals that playing the same pieces over and again can sometimes be monotonous: "People think that classical music has notes that have to be followed like braille. Classical music is so great for me and I can keep playing the same pieces over and over. However, to keep it fresh, I love to add an element of spontaneity," he says with a look of contentment.

Jacob Shaw will be performing at in the Danish Church in Mijas Costa tomorrow, 4 March at 7.30pm.

He will also be at the Avanto restaurant in Mijas Costa on Sunday 5 March. Tickets cost 40 euros and include welcome drinks, canapés, dinner and wine.