O’Riley’s take on Radiohead

If you have ever wondered what Radiohead would sound like performed by a classical pianist, this is your chance to find out.

Christopher O’Riley’s unique vision of transcribing modern rock into classical arrangements has begun to redefine the possibilities of classical music and has taken his wide range of musical tastes and fascinations to a new audience.

O’Riley has taken Radiohead’s most brooding and obscure songs and turned them into full-fledged classical masterpieces. The complexity of the band’s music is thoroughly revealed in a softer and possibly more moving manner likely to make even non-Radiohead fans take notice.

O’Riley has had quite an extensive classical background, having studied classical music at the New England Conservatory under Russel Sherman. Whether touring with the world-famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra or appearing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, O’Riley never fails to bring his own unique approach to classical music. In addition to performing with a variety of established orchestras, O’Riley also hosts a popular classical music radio show called From the Top on National Public Radio (NPR). Known as a classically oriented young talent show, From the Top has opened doors for O’Riley in many ways.

“What we do on the program is important in that we present kids who not only play beautifully, but have full and wonderful lives above and beyond what they do in music. Before we came along there really wasn’t that kind of outlet,” O’Riley said to the Orange County Register.

Since much of O’Riley’s work with modern rock music has inspired a younger audience base as well as students studying classical music, he has become the artistic director of the International Young Artists Festival held on Hilton Head Island every May. Many young musicians feel at ease with O’Riley’s humility, gregariousness and openness to new ideas regarding classical music.

In addition to his touring schedule, radio show and educating the young and talented, he has already released two Radiohead interpretations. Both True Love Waits and Hold Me to This received four stars from Rolling Stone magazine, the former of which was released in spring 2005.

O’Riley is putting the finishing touches on his latest album, Home to Oblivion: An Elliot Smith Tribute. Nick Drake, Tears For Fears and George Harrison are among other interpretations in the mix for O’Riley.