The 5 biggest acts blurring the lines between musical genres

Not quite classical, not fully pop — here’s a look at 5 of the biggest crossover musical acts.



The 61-year-old born Yiannis Chryssomallis, has proved to be one of the world’s most enduring crossover stars, clocking album sales of more than 25 million and playing to more than five million people on five continents. Influenced by musical cultures from around the globe, blending elements of classical and world with rock and contemporary sounds, Yanni popularised the use of synthesisers alongside a live orchestra. He was last seen in the UAE performing at Sharjah’s Al Majaz Amphitheatre in November.



This Aussie-British ensemble have been described as the “best-selling string quartet” of all time, shifting more than four million records. Perhaps this is because they have expanded their repertoire beyond the classical canon, performing a wide range of pop music, from The Beatles to Lady Gaga. Bond are the brainchild of producer Mike Batt and promoter Mel Bush, who realised they could strike gold with an all-female string group mixing girl power with classical-ish music. Debut album Born was removed from the UK classical chart, apparently for “sounding too much like pop music”, but it still hit number one in 21 countries.


Il Divo

Going one better than Bond, Il Divo can claim to be the bestselling classical-crossover group of all time. Created by Simon Cowell, this time they are a smooth-looking, all-­singing male quartet, easily marketed to the boyband market. Combining members from Switzerland, Spain, the United States and France, in the past 12 years the group have sold more than 30 million copies of their nine albums, as well as picking up Artist of the Decade at the 2011 Classic Brit Awards. They were last spotted locally in Dubai in February on their Amor & Passion tour.


Sarah Brightman

English soprano Sarah Brightman enjoys household recognition as a major-league pop performer — and the audience, to boot. The former wife of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, Brightman made her name on stage in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway — most notably in showstopper The Phantom of the Opera. She went on to pioneer what became known as the “classical-crossover” genre, duetting with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli for chart-topping 1996 debut Time to Say Goodbye. With an estimated fortune of Dh200 million, she is the world’s richest classical musician.



As many classical-music fans will know, the music can all be traced back to the monophonic plainchant of Medieval days. German crossover band Gregorian channel the drama of those bygone times by performing modern pop and rock hits in a Gregorian manner. Relying on a revolving door of singers, this concept-led project is on volume nine of its successful Masters of Chant ­series, which begun in 1999. They performed at Dubai’s Madinat Arena in 2012.

Published: April 18, 2016 04:00 AM


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