Norwalk family blends classical music with rock concert

Alex Markov will perform on Nov. 8 at the Norwalk Concert Hall.

Alex Markov will perform on Nov. 8 at the Norwalk Concert Hall.

Alex Markov / Contributed photo

A unique combination of musical stylings will fill the Norwalk Concert Hall on Nov. 8 that comprises two distinct concerts in one moving from Bach to rock. Starting off fairly straightforward, the concert opens with classical music by the Markov family of Norwalk, who are all classically trained violinists: Albert and Marina and their son, Alex. The gentle tones of Vivaldi and Handel give way in the second half to a quasi-rock concert backed by a rock band and 130 choir singers from area middle and high schools. Andrea Valluzzo spoke with Alex Markov about the blended concert.

Andrea Valluzzo: How did you come up with the idea of this dual concert?

Alex Marov: I always was passionate about classical music. My father is a concert pianist and my mom played in a very famous orchestra in Russia. When I came to America, I developed a taste for rock and roll. I always had this crazy vision of combining both genres into one concert. It could be an interesting journey for the audience. They get to experience the famous classical music that we do in the first half. We are going to play some Bach, Vivaldi, Paganini and Peter the Wolf and on and on. For the second half of the program, I have written a collection of songs which is featured with a choir of young people from the area. We will have strings, a brass section and a rock and roll band and they will accompany me on my gold electric violin, which was specially designed for me. So it’s a very eclectic concert — a musical journey from the Baroque period through rock and roll.

AV: When I think of a violin, I hear classical music, not rock. What led you to create a rock sound with it?

AM: When I developed this tremendous interest for this type of music, I was thinking everybody plays the guitar so I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They already had Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen so I was thinking of the violin. There is obviously the famous Paganini in classical music, there are some jazz musicians but there is not really a comparable mainstream rocker that has a repertoire for the violin.

AV: You write your own music?

AM: I’m writing my own music because most of my colleagues are doing covers. I don’t mind covers if it’s for fun or as an encore. If you are in a serious rock and roll situation, you have to write your own music. My hope is eventually the electric violin will be much more mainstream in rock and roll music or modern music in general. There is no “Stairway to Heaven” or “Kashmir” for electric violin yet so that’s what really inspires me a lot. There is a void that can be filled.

AV: You went to Darien High School. What was it like to come back here and to other area schools to work with student choirs for your upcoming concert?

AM: It’s amazing. It’s always a great pleasure because ironically that’s where I discovered rock and roll … and girls. I was brought up in a very serious classical environment. My father, concert violinist Albert Markov, played all around the world and my mother played in the famous Bolshoi Opera in Moscow. The whole rock and roll thing was such a big taboo, so when I came to America, there was something so fresh for me. And at first, I hated it actually but eventually, when I went to Darien High, that’s where all my friends turned me on to these groups.

AV: How does combining classical instruments and rock ’n’ roll give kids a new appreciation of music?

AM: It’s always important to inspire young people into classical music and culture and I think this little twist will help them realize that it’s not about what it’s called, it’s all about if it’s good or not.

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