In Conversation with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy

As the world’s most popular album listening event, Classic Album Sundays tells the stories behind the albums that have shaped our culture and in some cases, our lives.

The classic album listening concept was started in 2010 by radio host, DJ and journalist Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy. She founded Classic Album Sundays to address how we listen to music in the 21st century, and as a stance against the increasing devaluation of music. Their events offer the time and space for fans to dynamically engage with their favourite albums, as opposed to hearing music as aural wallpaper stuck in the background of our increasingly hectic lives. They allow listeners to enjoy music contextually, communally, uninterrupted, and in the best sonic detail possible.

We spoke to Colleen about Classic Album Sundays: Classical Uncovered, which will take place at Chats Palace on December 3 with featured artist, Richard Reed Parry.

What is the concept behind Classical Uncovered?

Last year we hosted a Classic Album Sundays and Spitalfields Music collaborative event with special guests Max Richter and André de Ridder featuring ‘Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’ which was a huge success, so we decided to do it again and eventually make it into a series! We want to provide an entry point into the big and sometimes scary world of classical music, so we are inviting artists who straddle both the contemporary classical and electronic /popular music worlds to both educate and encourage future classical music fans in a cool and dynamic way.

What excites you about this event with Richard Reed Parry and his chosen album?

Electronic music and classical music are not as far apart as some people may imagine. When Wendy Carlos Williams first released Switched-On Bach, her electronic realisation of one of classical music’s greatest composers 50 years ago, it was a smash hit and won three Grammy Awards! The late Japanese electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita was inspired and a few years later released his electronic interpretation of pieces by one of my personal favourite composers, Claude Debussy. Tomita’s 1974 LP, Snowflakes Are Dancing, was fresh and modern but also poignant and emotive. It also won four Grammy Awards!

I’m so excited to dive into this album with Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. It is one of his favourite albums and together I feel we can relay the album’s story, its significance and legacy in an engaging way. Then we’ll all kick back, turn off our phones, turn off our minds, close our eyes and listen to the album in its entirety on our audiophile hi-fi, experiencing it in a new way. We’ll have a little Q&A to finish, too.

Thanks to Spitalfields Music for inviting us back!

Grab your tickets for Classical Uncovered here.