String quartet to put unique spin on pop songs

What do Mozart and Lady Gaga have in common? More than you would think. At least, that’s what Well-Strung has been demonstrating. Since forming in 2012, the string quartet has developed an impressive following, performing classical takes on modern pop music. In fact, their act is so popular first violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, violist Trevor Wadleigh and cellist Daniel Shevlin have played all over the world, including a recent appearance on the “Today” show.

Soon, Well-Strung will make their South Orange Performing Arts Center debut when they appear on March 21. But for New Jersey native Shevlin, the show will be more than just a concert – it’s a homecoming.

“I absolutely love it,” Shevlin said about performing in his home state. “I’m really excited. I think it’s great.”

Anyone expecting a boring concerto at a Well-Strung show will be sorely mistaken. In addition to arranging string versions of contemporary hits, the group plays traditional compositions as well as mash-ups of classical and pop songs. They also sing, which Shevlin said is especially unique because it’s very challenging to sing and play an instrument simultaneously.

All the effort is worth it, though, as Shevlin pointed out Well-Strung has fans of all ages and musical tastes.

“People have come up to us and been like ‘Your classical pieces are awesome, but I never thought Kesha or Britney Spears would ever sound like that,'” Shevlin said. “And also the reverse happens where people who are into pop music have been like ‘Your classical stuff was so cool. I never thought it could be so fun or interesting.'”

One such fan was SOPAC board member David Stone, who is producing their concert and donating 100 percent of his profits to North Jersey Pride, a gay rights organization. Stone said he was “awestruck” when he saw Well-Strung perform and thought it would be a great opportunity to bring them to South Orange.

“I think this show can be enjoyed by anyone who loves any genre of music,” Stone said. “It’s an exposure and an experience unlike anything they would anticipate.”

Sean Quinn can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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