MUSIC Quartet causes classical ruckus



Bond members say there is room for fashion in the classical music world.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
"I'm sitting in the sun in Hyde Park. It's lovely," Tania Davis says on her cell phone from London.
She sure doesn't sound like a dangerous revolutionary. But as a member of the flashy string quartet Bond, the 28-year-old Aussie native is roiling the usually placid waters of classical music.
These aren't your everyday chamber musicians. Bond favors short skirts and provocative photos for an image that's more Britney than Bach.
"We got kicked off the classical charts here in the U.K.," Davis says, "which started all this controversy about what defines classical. All these moody soundtracks with Celine Dion singing were allowed on but not us? That was annoying."
The Bond girls make no excuses for their risqu & eacute; approach. "We're all in our 20s; we're into fashion, and we're into pop as much as classical," Davis says. "It wouldn't make sense for us to be in long, black dresses."
With Davis on viola, Gay-Yee Westerhoff on cello, and Haylie Ecker and Eos Chater on violin, Bond employs the traditional array of instruments, but the women's music takes in a variety of regional influences from Arab to Andalusian.
They even cover a Led Zeppelin tune, "Kashmir." Let's see the Emerson String Quartet try that.
Classics with a twist
Their latest CD, "Classified," is like a chamber music disco inferno, as the quartet delves into hopped-up arrangements of Johannes Brahms, Samuel Barber, Georges Bizet and other composers.
The Bond women bring their combination of sex appeal and pop energy on tour, flying around the stage as they perform both electric and acoustic sets.
"We're not into sitting down looking at the music," Davis says. "We have lights and choreography. It's like a pop show.
Only Westerhoff is seated for part of the program. The cello will do that to a girl. Otherwise, the Bond style is up-and-at-'em.
"The aural experience is important," Davis says, "but so is the spectacle. If we sat down, maybe we wouldn't be so successful."

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