Music News & Reviews

Philharmonic pays tribute to David Bowie

Bowie, shown in 1995, died a year ago at the age of 69.
Bowie, shown in 1995, died a year ago at the age of 69. Associated Press file

The Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera is aiming for the top of the pops at the anniversary of the death of David Bowie.

Bowie’s death on Jan. 10, 2016, at the age of 69, came as the SP&O was planning its 2016-17 pops series, according to the executive director, Alice Sauro. Bringing Bowie’s music to Sacramento was something the arts organization thought it needed to do.

“We felt it was a meaningful time for everybody to be able to think about him and all of his contributions and celebrate,” Sauro said of the British rock musician.

“The Music of David Bowie: A Rock Symphony” on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Sacramento Community Center Theater blends orchestra with electronic instruments, drums and vocals. Richard Carsey will conduct.

“It brings the music to the consumer in a different way, and at the same time you’re getting that richness of the full symphony orchestra, which you wouldn’t get from just a regular rock-’n’-roll concert with just the band,” Sauro said. “And that’s I think what makes this pairing so meaningful to people, is that you’re really getting an enhanced version of everything.”

Handling Bowie’s vocal parts will be Tony Vincent, who starred on Broadway in “Rent,” Green Day’s “American Idiot” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He also played the role of Galileo Figaro in the Queen musical “We Will Rock You,” and was on the second season of “The Voice.”

Mixing the orchestra with a rock band “blows people’s minds who have never been to this type of concert before,” Sauro said. “They had no idea that that could happen. And watching everybody at the Queen concert really showed me that people really enjoy this.”

With its pops series the SP&O hopes to attract people who might not necessarily attend performances of classical music. In its inaugural pops series, the SP&O performed “The Music of Queen” in 2015 and a Hollywood movie-themed John Williams show in 2016. The Bowie performance is one of three concerts in this season’s pops series along with a Beatles tribute in November and a Beach Boys show to come in April.

“You know, everybody has their own taste in music, and if we can expose music to more people, that makes me happy,” Sauro said. The SP&O, according to Sauro, has found that listeners who come for the pops offerings often decide to check out the symphony’s classical performances as well.

The Bowie concert will have “fun elements” for concertgoers, Sauro said, adding that people are encouraged to attend dressed as their favorite version of the performer.

The Music of David Bowie

What: A symphonic salute by the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera Pops Series

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14

Where: Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

Cost: $18-$58

Information: 916-808-5181,