ELVIS COSTELLO's inclination toward unlikely musical experiments has a new home: a yearlong residency at UCLA, where Costello plans to stretch out in jazz, pop and orchestral settings. "I grew up with a lot of different types of music," he says. "Sometimes people characterize these things as a detour. It isn't to me. It's all connected."
Like his varied collaborations with PAUL MCCARTNEY, the BRODSKY QUARTET and BURT BACHARACH, the residency will explore a wide range of genres. At the invitation of UCLA performing arts director DAVID SEFTON, Costello initially planned four quarterly appearances at the Los Angeles campus. More are likely, but now even that hardly seems enough.
"It's the most exciting and challenging aspect of working with Elvis," says Sefton with a laugh. "He keeps having ideas."
The residency began in September with a pair of concerts featuring the CHARLES MINGUS ORCHESTRA, split between Costello originals and vintage Mingus instrumentals with lyrics added. Concluding the series will be the American premiere of Costello's orchestral score to a contemporary dance production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. But Costello says his forays into nonpop genres are not about cultural climbing. "It's just about what you feel about music," he says. "Believe me, there is just as much disgraceful behavior among the classical orchestras of the world as among the most out rock & roll band."