One could easily draw comparisons between world-class violinist David Garrett and Kurt Cobain — and not just because of the startling resemblance between the two. Garrett has introduced a whole new genre of music to a younger generation with his release of Rock Symphonies. The title says it all — Garrett covers songs, including Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” and Guns n’ Roses’ “November Rain.” Garrett performs at the Benedum Center on January 29, celebrating Rock Symphonies. We caught up with the violin wunderkind in anticipation of his show.

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh? If so, what did you do or see when you were here?

I had the pleasure of coming earlier this year. I performed at the Benedum Theater with my band back in February. The fans were great — they loved all the different styles of music, which was a joy for me.

Your goal is to introduce young people to classical music. How do you feel you’ve accomplished that?

Perhaps because I am younger and more accessible, closer to the age of those young audiences, and doing something different with the music. Step by step, once a younger generation comes to my shows, I hope that they see classical music has so much to offer and visit more classical concerts. That’s why we play Bach, Beethoven, and Vivaldi, mixed in with AC/DC, Metallica, and Guns n’ Roses!

What was your inspiration for Rock Symphonies?

I love both classical and rock, and thought, ‘Why not combine the two?’ Classical and rock have a very close connection. They have a strong sense of rhythm and precision, so I always felt that out of all music directions, these two work closely together. Being a musician means you’ve got to find your own path and do what you love doing.

What’s next in your musical career?

Next, I am reverting back to my core classical roots and will be releasing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto hopefully next year in the U.S. I recorded it at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra — a real thrill. In 2012, there will also be more touring in the States, Europe, and South East Asia and I’ll also start recording my next crossover album.

David Garrett, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, 412.456.6666.

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