When I first saw Project 60/40 perform, I was floored. Four ladies so talented, creating a style of music so unique- I dare say it's unparalleled- made me want to know more about them right away. After some research and a coffee date with the performers themselves, I learned that they use their classical backgrounds to reinvent modern music, and vice-versa, breathing new life into old favorites and making contemporary tunes accessible to all generations. As they say themselves, "Whether it be collaborating with composers, writing their own arrangements, or improvising, Project 60/40 is dedicated to keeping the performance of music alive through their unique ratio: 60% Experimental, 40% Classical." As it turns out, their beautiful talents come with a lot of training. They all have at least three degrees from respected musical conservatories and practice an average of 8 hours a day. The result of so much hard work, combined with each musician's style and creativity, yields a product that is a blend of classical, pop, rock, folk, electronic, and gypsy music. Is all of that really possible? It is, and it's also purely instrumental, not to mention completely mind-blowing. The group consists of Kathryn Andrews stunning us into silence on the harp, Sara Sherman dazzling us on the piano, Lea Ivanovic hypnotizing us on the bass, and Hilary Castle bursting our hearts open on the violin. In addition to Project 60/40, they all play as soloists and accompanists, as well as teaching and participating in community outreach programs whenever they can. It hardly seems fair that such skill and passion exists in four individuals. But they're not just gifted, as one of them explained- in order to play like they do, "you have to love it, you have to be obsessed with it."
Definitely worth checking out their upcoming performance in New York City's The Cell on December 9th; doors open at 7pm with a cocktail hour setting accompanied by DJs, and the ladies go up at 8pm. If you're not around, browse through their website and myspace page. I guarantee you've never heard anything like Project 60/40 before.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Project 60/40, credit: Aleksandra Dubov.