When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra warms up a week from Friday, the musicians will be clad in their usual summer attire: White dinner jackets and bow ties for the men, white tops and black skirts or slacks for the women.
Tie-dye might be more appropriate.
On the day Jerry Garcia would have turned 66, the orchestra will welcome more than 2,000 Deadheads for the world premiere of “Dead Symphony No. 6,” the first orchestral work inspired by the music of the Grateful Dead.
The idea for the show came from Deadhead Toby Blumenthal, the BSO's manager of facility sales, who came across a copy of the “Dead Symphony” CD and thought it would be a perfect fit for the orchestra, which will play the music of Led Zeppelin the following night.
The Russian National Orchestra recorded the 12-movement symphony, by composer Lee Johnson, in 2005, and a CD came out in 2007. But Aug. 1 will be the first live performance.
Johnson, who wasn't a Deadhead before taking on the project, said he immersed himself in the band's music. The piece took him nearly 10 years to compose. “This is and was a massive cultural movement,” he said. “There was plenty to learn.”