Classical Revolution (CR) began in 2006 in the Mission District of San Francisco when SF Conservatory student-violist Charith Premawardhana began organizing quartet readings at the Revolution Cafe. The super-chill monthly series expanded quickly into casual spaces across the city each week, and eventually into 30+ cities around the world, fueled by activism to LIBERATE classical music from the concert hall.

Each Classical Revolution chapter depends on the freelance instrumentalists who voluntarily organize them, tending to mix standard classical chamber music with jazz, pop, folk and experimentation. The best chapters have good hosting. Networking with CutTime Productions, a growing army of new  ensembles, venues and musicians are sharing what they know outside the arts bubble.  CR encourages new classical startups.

Classical Revolution Detroit 2010 Photo by Jon Luebke


However, the Classical Revolution Detroit chapter (CRD) is a cutting edge leader on this growing front. It was organized in 2010 by CutTime® founder Rick Robinson, ever to take classical music boldly where it has never gone before and demystify the huge  classical tradition for a broader humanity. CRD uniquely distills Robinson’s experiences as a former Detroit Symphony bassist and Kresge-winning composer. CutTime’s extensive catalog of lively symphonic adaptations and new compositions for two small ensembles (CutTime Players®, CutTime Simfonica®) set new standards for audience learning  with lively hosting, famous music and ways to get in on the act (to meet along the bridge).

CRD can pull a room into the joy of instrumental music, even if only as background or for peak moments. Listening to the track at the top of this page while reading is proof that we discover information often as background. It’s all the better when people can participate on shakers, feedback and even conduct us!  Our audiences finally get several answers to that burning-but-unspoken question, Why classical?


Detroit Free Press Music Critic Mark Stryker wrote, “Robinson has been an innovative force in bringing chamber ensembles into nontraditional venues and classrooms, mixing it up with a variety of creative repertoire and generally proving that classical music belongs not on the fringes of contemporary culture but at the heart of everyday life”.

This should come as no surprise, since the wave of smoking laws let us take classical out on the town to become part of the life soundtrack. And yet CutTime goes further by sharing key information that answer some burning questions for new listeners. And in this way we create, for a few at a time, a pathway toward comfort at traditional concerts. Some just need one good exposure; others, a dozen. We accept that many will never come.

  • CutTime won a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, to expand CRD in 2015. Watch the calendar or the CRD Facebook page for pop up events around Detroit. (We are applying for grants in 2016.)
CutTime Simfonica plays Late Night with Lake George Music Festival at The Boathouse
CutTime Simfonica plays Late Night with Lake George Music Festival at The Boathouse


New Classical means a rather relaxed and informational style of presentation, but often aggressively so; variably wacked out, real chill or even quite close to traditional, the difference being the increased use of inspirational methods (talk). Who knew that greeting the audience around food, drink, humor, practical information and a lot of rhythm could warm up classical so much? (Duh.)

Case in point…

See? It’s time to cut classical loose with everyone!

Where do you want to see this in your neighborhood?
Be a hero: tell the owner!

Classical Revolution Detroit logo