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Legendary Drummer From "The Police" Goes Classical With Symphony In Ventura County

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Former "Police" drummer Stewart Copeland performs West Coast premiere of his new classical work with New West Symphony this weekend

He’s one of rock music’s most famous drummers. Stewart Copeland was one of the founders of legendary band “The Police,” which had smash hits like “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take.”

Now Copeland is performing and composing a totally different type of music, with a full symphony orchestra.

This week the Ventura County based New West Symphony is presenting the West Coast premiere of Copeland new work, Tyrant’s Crush.

Copeland studied and loved classical music as a child, before taking a major detour. The music of Jimmy Hendrix hooked him as a teenager, and he spent the next two decades in rock, becoming a superstar as co-founder of “The Police.”

The group disbanded in the 1980s, and Copeland began doing movie soundtracks. Several years ago he started composing and performing classical music.

Tyrant’s Rush was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony, where it made its world premiere under conductor Marcelo Lehninger. Lehninger is Music Director of the New West Symphony, and brought the work to the orchestra.

New West Symphony General Manager Alexander Gurevich says pairing Copeland and the symphony is creating some cutting edge music.

Copeland’s new work is just part of the program being presented at the Symphony’s season finale this week. Symphony Music Director Marcelo Lehninger says the premiere will be accompanied by two classics: the overture to Die Fledermaus, and the suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

Stewart Copeland says he hopes the blend of classical music will attract audiences of all types, and perhaps open some minds.

The New West Symphony’s season finale include a 7:30 p.m. performance Thursday at Santa Monica’s Barnum Hall, an 8 p.m. show Friday at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, and an 8 p.m. show Saturday at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.