Critics Debate Sir Mix-A-Lot's Show At Seattle Symphony

Jun 12, 2014

Sir Mix-A-Lot is joined on stage at Benaroya Hall by the Seattle Symphony and a troupe of spirited dancers.
Sir Mix-A-Lot is joined on stage at Benaroya Hall by the Seattle Symphony and a troupe of spirited dancers.
Credit Seattle Symphony YouTube Video

Critics are squabbling over Seattle Symphony's latest program: teaming up with Sir Mix-A-Lot and some dancing women at Benaroya Hall in a performance of "Baby Got Back."

You don't associate orchestral music with liking big butts and not lying, but the video of the performance is a hit — more than two million views on YouTube so far. (Scroll down to watch the video.)

Part of that credit goes to the “lady in the black dress,” the Seattle hotel sales worker Shawn Bounds, who you see breaking out all of her birthday party/wedding reception dance moves on stage right in front of Sir Mix.

In his review of the concert New York Times critic, James R. Oestreich wrote: “I won’t presume to review things so far outside my ken as Sir Mix-A-Lot. But I am left to wonder what a symphony orchestra can meaningfully add to this kind of repertory, notwithstanding Gabriel Prokofiev’s rudimentary orchestrations here.”

OK, but does this kind of thing widen the audience for classical music?

Phoenix Symphony music director Tito Muñoz said no. “Pop concerts create an audience for Pops concerts, not an audience for classical symphonic concerts.”

Maybe, but Bounds said she had never been to the symphony before, and she’s thinking of returning.

Meanwhile the Seattle Symphony is doing three Stravinsky ballets later this month.

Conductor Ludovic Morlot said, “Maybe I’ll invite a few ladies onstage."