A top tenor heard a busker singing Puccini and it stopped him in his tracks
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Rock music and classical music might seem like they would be completely opposed to one another. One champions outrageousness, guitars and excess, while the other oozes refinement, poise and good taste - but there are a surprisingly large number of instances where these two seemingly adversarial worlds cross over. Join us as we explore the heady combination of rock and classical!
As a member of Deep Purple Jon Lord performed his famous Concerto for Group and Orchestra over 30 times. After the original score was lost, it was recreated in 1999 and was finally recorded and released in 2012, just months after Lord passed away. Many consider the piece to be the first example of classical music and rock crossing over. This picture comes from the premiere performance with Deep Purple, and Malcolm Arnold conducting.
The Sunday afternoon slot at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival was given a shake up thanks to the English National Opera's stirling performance of Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries. Now if that's not enough to clear your festival hangover then we don't know what is…
Don't worry, we're not in Fifty Shades territory - the title stands for Symphony & Metallica. This landmark recording from 1999 features the multi-million-selling metal band's songs being performed in collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Kamen. Not for the faint-hearted.
For Sting, writing some of the best-loved rock songs of the last century just wasn't enough. No, he wanted to really get back to basics - by recording an album of John Dowland's traditional English folk songs on the lute. And why not? Here he is performing at the Classic BRIT Awards in 2007.
Jeff Wayne began his musical career composing advertising jingles, but his career took off when he composed and recorded his musical version of the HG Wells novel War Of The Worlds. For the most part it's a prog-rock epic, but the famous theme from 'Eve Of The War' and 'Forever Autumn' are full of orchestral clout. Stage versions of the album have been performed with classical stars like Russell Watson (pictured) and Rhydian Roberts.
While he's usually at home dressed as a wizard and cowering behind an impressive bank of keyboards, Rick Wakeman is also no stranger to the orchestra. His concept album 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' features the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir in a narrative album based on the Jules Verne novel of the same name.
While we're on the subject, King Crimson's Greg Lake left the band after the release of 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' to join Emerson, Lake and Palmer - where his classical influences really took flight. This legendary three-piece not only tackled Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, but also Aaron Copland's Fanfare For The Common Man too.
One of the UK's most enduring and respected bands, Radiohead's later work shows some classical influences, mainly thanks to guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who himself has worked with Pierre Boulez on several occasions. Not only that, minimalist legend Steve Reich composed his piece 'Radio Rewrite' to re-imagine two of their songs.
Another example of prog rock showing its classical influences, The Moody Blues performed an epic concert with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 1992. The live recording features some of the band's best-known songs arranged for band and orchestra.
If you spent a large portion of the 80s singing 'West End Girls' into a hairbrush, then get ready for a surprise - the Pet Shop Boys composed the music for their first ever ballet in 2011. Entitled 'The Most Incredible Thing', it's based on a Hans Christian Andersen story and premiered at the Sadler's Wells theatre in London.
Superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti took her music to the festival crowds earlier this year as she played the main stage at the T in the Park festival in Kinross, Scotland.
The David Beckham of the violin proved he was happy to get down and dirty with rock repertoire with his mammoth Rock Symphonies album. Putting Vivaldi and Bach alongside Metallica and Led Zeppelin is certainly a bold move, but it paid off for Garrett.
Lead singer of avant-garde post-punk band Killing Joke Jaz Coleman underwent a musical transformation in the '80s. After temporarily quitting his band in 1982, he studied classical composition and conducting for ten years and now works with some of the finest ensembles in the world, and even composed symphonic arrangements of the music of The Doors and Led Zeppelin. In fact, German conductor Klaus Tennstedt dubbed Coleman the 'new Mahler'. Praise indeed!
Oratorios, ballet music and a fellowship with the Royal Academy of Music might not be the most rock 'n' roll milestones in former Beatle Paul McCartney's life, but his various compositions for classical ensembles have taken on a life of their own.
As bandmate to Classic FM's Alex James, Damon Albarn blazed a trail through the 90s Britpop landscape. Who would've thought he would later end up staging a full-blown opera based on a 16th-century Chinese novel, called Monkey: Journey To The West? It clearly wasn't a flash in the pan either, because Abarn also masterminded another opera based on the life of philosopher and scientist John Dee (pictured).
The original voice of an angel Charlotte Church burst onto the scene with her choirgirl image and soaring soprano. She then underwent a pop makeover in 2005, and just a few weeks ago tweeted a picture of a recent vinyl shopping spree - she'd bought records by Radiohead, Elbow and the Cocteau Twins among many others.
Turkish-Cypriot composer Tolga Kashif made waves in the classical and rock worlds when his Queen Symphony was premiered in 2002. Taking some of the band's best-known songs and turning them into lush symphonic affairs did the trick, and Kashif repeated his success by composing his Genesis Suite, based on seven different songs by the prog rock legends.
Speaking of Genesis, their frontman Peter Gabriel released a purely orchestral album in 2011 called New Blood. Taking some of Genesis' best-loved tracks and re-arranging them for a symphony orchestra, the album is another great example of a rock musician bridging the gap.
He's best known for his renditions of classical guitar masterpieces, but Australian maestro John Williams was also a founder member of the rock group Sky, and even performed with Pete Townshend from The Who on a version of 'Won't Get Fooled Again'.
King Crimson were one of the first rock bands to embrace classical music in its most modern forms, introducing elements of modernism, classical melody and challenging atonality in their debut album, 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'. Anyone else think Robert Fripp (bottom left) is a dead ringer for Mahler?