Von Rosenthal: DJ without beats

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"You can see people's mouths hanging open in surprise. They're thinking: what's going on here?"

Instead of danceable beats, DJ Von Rosenthal de la Vegaz treats the trendy-looking crowd to a remix of the stately sounds you'd expect to hear in a classical concert hall. A shudder passes through the expectant dancers but after the initial shock the audience begins to appreciate the classical DJ's work.

"A DJ needs to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. And that creates an effect, even if you can't dance to it."

Peter Rosendaal, as Von Rosenthal is actually called, is a "DJ without beats". He attended the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Dutch trance DJs have an international reputation to maintain. Armin van Buuren, for instance, was named best DJ in the world four years in a row by DJ Magazine and Tiësto has received almost as many awards. But a DJ that only plays classical music is something else.

Rosendaal is not sure whether his style is unique but he suspect it is. Clubs like Berghain in Berlin and Le Poisson Rouge in New York sometimes feature DJs who include classical music in their mixes but Rosendaal claims his work is different. He has played festivals including Lowlands and Motel Mozaïque and has made a CD, Nouvelle Classique (2010).

So is all classical music grist to the Von Rosenthal mill? Peter has his specific preferences. He likes cellos, oboes and bassoons. He can't stand male voices, but he does like to use female voices. Soprano Cecilia Bartoli is one of his particular favourites.

"I don't like classical music that's loud or bombastic. Religious music doesn't do it for me either. Except for Arvo Pärt, which I do find beautiful."

Von Rosenthal has recently been getting heavily into baroque, and that means concert audiences and festival-goers can expect quite a few surprises in future.

Hear mixes and mash-ups by DJ Von Rosenthal de la Vegaz at soundcloud.com.

(im/ae/mb)