Guilty Pop Pleasures Played by… an Orchestra?!


Do you love pop music? Do you love the orchestra? Then, have I got a treat for you! On second thought, just about anybody with ears should appreciate this. It’s For Orchestra and it’s a-maz-ing.

For Orchestra is the brainchild of Walt Ribeiro, a New York City composer enamored by the seemingly star-crossed pairing of Top 40 pop and orchestral arrangements. So, he thought, why not combine the two? The result is virtually indescribable, but it manages to make tunes you’ve heard 10,000 times sound fresher than ever. It’s something that you and your cello teacher can both appreciate, and may even find yourselves rocking out to in unison. Yup – rocking out to an orchestra.

As if that isn’t cool enough, he also takes song suggestions from the community – you can tweet him here (make sure to use the hashtag #ForOrchestra), or use this forum. Since he’s more open to requests than the most crowd-pleasing DJ, Walt has arranged covers of everything from GNR’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” to The Roots’ “Seed 2.0,” so you’re bound to find an old favorite made new again. But quite frankly, if you’re not hooked after watching the above rendition of “Kids,” then you’d better get your ears checked, yo.


About Natalie

As the owner of three small, fluffy dogs, Natalie has accepted the fact that dog hair being everywhere and on everything is just part of her lifestyle now. She cannot stop decorating (and redecorating) her home, and lives by Robert Venturi's words, "Less is a bore." Fresh flowers, floral print dresses, and a good gin and tonic are just a few of her favorite things.

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  1. Avatar
    Crystal (ModCloth) 02/02/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    wow, that’s pretty great!!

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    Kim 02/02/2010 at 12:34 pm #

    We have a pretty wicked Symphony here in Nova Scotia: that does Pops collaborations every season. Last year they did a Queen tribute and this year it’s ABBA. They also do concerts with great local indie artists and big names too – Final Fantasy and MIR last Fall, just to name a couple!

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    Jennifer (ModCloth) 02/02/2010 at 12:58 pm #

    Wow! That is amazing. I would never have imagined crossing Miley and an orchestra…but I love it!

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    Julie (ModCloth) 02/02/2010 at 1:22 pm #

    This is fantastic, such a good song, especially when performed by an orchestra!

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    Casey (ModCloth) 02/02/2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Amazing! Love it!

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    Walt Ribeiro 02/02/2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks Natalie! Glad you enjoy my work. I’m extremely passionate about the orchestra – lots more to come! Thanks 🙂

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    c_tyler 02/02/2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I got chills, I passed it around the office – seriously this made my day! Thanks for sharing, I’ll definitely be buying several of these covers.

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    Veronika 02/02/2010 at 4:09 pm #

    Wow, what an amazing song! I really do like it! xx

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    Amelia 02/02/2010 at 4:53 pm #

    As an oboe performance major, I try very hard not to get music snobby, but often times I wish more people would get as excited as I am about, for example, the Mahler concerts at the Pittsburgh Symphony. I’m usually a lot less interested in Pops concerts, even though I love the music, because I prefer it reserved for it’s own, fantastic environment, but I really appreciate these arrangements by Walt! I only wish they were played by a real orchestra instead, but I know how hard that is to manage.

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    Kim 02/02/2010 at 6:22 pm #

    This is fantastic…I adore orchestral music, and MGMT is amazing. Mr. Ribeiro, you are my hero.

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    Catherine 02/02/2010 at 6:26 pm #

    I’m HAVE to show this to my cello teacher tommarow! My friends who are classically trained and I actually made pop versions of some songs to. We did “Hey There Delilah” and “Toxic”. It was really fun. But nothing as epic as this video!

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    Katie 02/03/2010 at 8:33 am #

    This is incredible. Most definitely going to be purchasing some of Walt’s music! Brilliant.

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    Sydney 02/03/2010 at 10:08 am #

    This is really cool, but even more awesome is Video Games Live–best concert I have EVER been to.

    What’s better than a professional ochestra and choir performing the greatest hits of video game history?

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    Meghan 02/04/2010 at 4:10 pm #

    I absolutely adore this type of thing, thank you so much for blogging about it.

    There is something about classical twist with fresh modern sound can make anyone enjoy. I might even go so far to say I enjoy it better than the original 🙂

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