December 16, 2009

“The two cultures” in classical music

Lately it feels like every book and article I read mentions the “two cultures” dichotomy that physicist and novelist CP Snow diagnosed in his 1956 essay of that title. Snow was complaining about the gulf he saw arising between the sciences and the humanities, whose mutually uncomprehending practitioners showed little interest in each other’s worldviews. (Being a scientist, he naturally blamed the literary types more than his own camp.) But the phrase itself is one of those neat little dualisms that’s fun to borrow on behalf of entirely unrelated points. It offers a convenient name for something I’ve been trying to put my finger on for several years in the arts and culture sector. Today I’ll test it out on classical music, and in a future blog post I’ll see if the shoe fits museums, too.

If someone asks you why the classical music scene—think of your local world-class symphony orchestra, but also its audiences, supporters, trustees, leadership, program notes, along with your classical radio station (if you still have one), newspaper critics, the whole lot—looks and acts the way it does, you might answer by referring to those appearances and actions as manifestations of a particular set of values: the values or culture of classical music.

These might include, for example, a reverence for certain masterpieces and composers; a high value on musicianship and performance quality, and by extension on the rigor and discipline required to produce them; a deep respect for the intentions of the composer; an enjoyment of virtuosity as well as subtlety; a belief in the importance of human hands (and ears) in the production of each note; and so on.

The details of this list don’t matter here; your take on those values will differ from mine. But neither my list nor yours is likely to explain certain other facts about the classical music scene, facts we rarely even notice because we take them as givens but which can be glaringly apparent to newcomers to this scene.

The acknowledged culture of classical music doesn’t tell us why so few orchestral musicians smile at the audience, or even make eye contact before or after the music-making. It doesn’t tell us why musicians dress in black tie or somewhat less formal black-and-white business attire. It doesn’t quite explain why on-air hosts at classical stations seem to put such a high premium on elegant, self-consciously correct diction, even when they’re reading advertisements for a rug shop, nor why words and phrases in languages other than English play such a big role in today’s classical music experience. It doesn’t explain why classical concertgoers who are already sitting in their seats when I come down the row to find my own seat are almost uniformly curt about having to let me past and far less likely (in my unscientific sampling) than other kinds of audiences—film, popular music, theater—to smile and engage in the little phrases and conversations that grease the social interactions of strangers. Nor does it tell us why that audience should be so stubbornly white, with African Americans and other minorities underrepresented even when we control for education and income.

In short, the acknowledged culture of classical music doesn’t provide a sufficient explanation of the differences between the experience of classical music and the experience of other kinds of music or other forms of art and entertainment. There’s something else going on—an unacknowledged culture, largely unexamined but (or rather, therefore) hugely influential. Here’s where Snow’s phrase comes in handy, but “the two cultures” of classical music aren’t opposing camps. They’re nested value systems: a set of “core” values and aesthetic commitments that we’re quite proud of and happy to talk about, surrounded by another set of values and aesthetic commitments that we’re largely unaware of and not inclined to talk about even when somebody points them out.

It’s the unacknowledged culture that makes it hard to imagine clapping between movements or (a la jazz clubs or rock venues) after a dazzling solo, even though we all know the prohibitions against such applause are of recent and somewhat artificial vintage. It’s the unacknowledged culture that makes today’s experiments in club-and-pub classical so hard to assimilate into the rest of the field’s practices. It’s the unacknowledged culture that tacitly undermines the attempts of many ensembles and presenters to make their performances feel more culturally savvy and relevant—like the hip brochure I got last week from a contemporary music group here in Chicago whose bold design and clever text promise an energetic and lively experience but whose performance photos belie that promise by showing human beings engaged in the activity of music making without a shred of enjoyment, passion, or humor on their faces. (They look NPR-earnest and a little inward, even uncomfortable being onstage. I’ll have more to say in a future post about what performance photos announce about classical music.)

And it’s this unacknowledged culture, I think, that’s preventing classical music from finding the new and more diverse audiences it so desperately wants and needs.

What would classical music look like if we could somehow preserve that inner, acknowledged culture while replacing the outer, unacknowledged culture with something less precious and dour, something more confident and connected to the rest of life? Or better yet, replace it not with a culture but with many different cultures, aesthetics, personalities, and possibilities. How would the institutional and funding ecology of classical music change? Would different kinds of people become musicians or choose to work in classical music in other ways? Most importantly, what would happen to the audience—or rather, audiences—for classical music?

Let me know what you think. A useful distinction? How does the unacknowledged culture operate in your sector or institution? And how can we begin to make those other cultures visible so we can talk about what they mean and what they do?



17 Comments »
Anne Arenstein — January 08, 2010

Sorry to be coming to this entry late in the game although the question is eternal. I participated in the NEA's institute for classical music journalists and your experiences were discussed virtually every day.

There is a lively classical music counter culture here in Cincinnati. Classical Revolution (based in San Francisco and now world wide) has an active base here. Once a month, a local tavern hosts a four-hour program of chamber music, with soloists and ensembles playing classic literature and edgy new compositions. The place is packed with the audiences that symphonies are slavering for: under 40 and committed. There's also concertnova, an ensemble that presents multimedia events to increasing numbers of paying audiences. Both groups been getting a lot of media attention locally.

The culture will change because the audience is changing. Opera in the states isn't the same as opera in Europe, where it's a blood sport (well, maybe not in Germany). Younger musicians know how to integrate different media and will be pivotal in making these initiatives, to say nothing of the audiences themselves. As we continue to be bombarded by visual stimuli, as attention spans shorten and communication is more and more instantaneous, classical music purveyors ignore these at their peril.

Greg Sandow — January 12, 2010

Well, I love this. Of course, if you know my work, you'd guess that I would. But it's one of the best statements I've ever seen (including mine) of the persistent cultural problem that afflicts classical music. I'm going to assign this in my Juilliard course this spring on the future of classical music. Thanks so much for writing it!

Anonymous — January 13, 2010

As a professional musician familiar with the "backstage" part of both the classical and rock music scenes, I'd say that these thoughts are right on. [I don't know if I agree with the little swing at NPR, but that is a minor detail!]

Personally, one thing I always try to do when I play any concert is make sure I face the audience members when they are applauding, make eye contact, and give a slight nod to several people. It is one of my ways to connect with the audience.

I manage and play in a Chicago rock band that plays original music. We are relatively new, so I spend a great deal of time getting people to come to see us perform and I also make sure to thank audience members after a performance (both in person, and through emails, messages, etc.). Imagine if symphony musicians took the time to send out a few personalized letters to committed audience members or even sent them to potential audience members!

Why do people like rock concerts? For many, it's because they are personalized, the passion and excitement are palpable, and because the band members seem like real people. They sweat, trip over cords, and laugh. Watching a rock concert--even if you are watching a video of it-- makes you feel like you are part of the experience. When I pick up on a mistake and see people in the bass section of the CSO laugh, it actually makes the concert better. They are human!

Peter Linett — January 13, 2010

Great points, Anne and Anonymous, and thanks for the endorsement, Greg.

Anne, I'm heartened by the picture you paint of the Cincinnati scene -- sometimes I worry (needlessly, apparently) that it's happening in NY at places like Poisson Rouge but not in the rest of the country. So that's important, as is your point about the inevitability of this kind of change -- we just need to get out of the way!

Anonymous, I love the idea of classical musicians thanking people for coming -- and why not live on the mic, like rock musicians often do. (The Indigo Girls' "thanks, ya'll" is a signature to every song they perform, acknowledging the crowd's acknowledgement in what amounts to a dialogue.) I agree, those little human moments go a long way to warming up an evening at the CSO. Saw one last night, in fact...

Thanks, ya'll.

Janis — January 19, 2010

I think the inclusion of improv in classical music might help with letting the audience not feel like they'll get evicted if they clap inappropriately. I'm thinking of the times when Montero whips out some crazy improv based on a theme, and the audience applauds spontaneously. They aren't clapping as a reward for something that's in the past; they are clapping to express something else: pleasant surprise. Same thing with a really good guitar solo in a rock concert: you didn't know exactly what the guitarist was going to do beforehand, so they surprised you pleasantly. It's impossible NOT to clap when you're expressing pleased surprise. :-)

In a lot of classical performances, being surprised is the worst thing you can think of, because it means someone screwed up. People listen to that music all too often wanting it to be safe and predictable and sound exactly like every other version -- or if there are differences, they are so subtle and minor as to be pretty much inconsequential to all but the most OCD listener. The attitude has really choked the life out of some fabulous music, sadly.

Jon Silpayamanant — January 21, 2010

I've been having some discussions about this at Greg's blog as well as my own so thanks to Janis for pointing this one out.

I think another viewpoint to consider with respects to the programming that Symphonic organizations (and other similar institutions) don't consider is the wealth of "high art" music that already exists. The arguments regarding the decline of classical music usually polarizes Western Classical music vs Popular music (or all the rest of the world's music).

While it is true that generally these organizations tend to stick to the old warhorses (e.g. Beethoven, Mozart, Bach) what they also don't realize is that they are sticking to old Western Art music warhorses (though things are slowly changing on that front--not the least due to Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project).

What might happen if, for example, an Orchestra were to program large ensemble works from other art music traditions? Since we're talking about changing demographics and diversity I would think playing, say, a composition by classical Arabic Mohammed Abdul Wahhab might draw a significant Arab or Middle Eastern Audience.

Maybe programming some standard fully orchestrated Bollywood numbers would draw a South Asian crowd?

There are quite a number of works that have been written for Western instrumental forces taht could easily be adapted and that are already quite popular with certain demographics without having to necessarily resort to changing the whole artistic direction and marketing strategy (well, some adaptations will be necessary).

Anyway, I posted an anecdotal story at the Internet Cello Chat forum regarding playing for a non-Caucasian audience to illustrate the diversity issue here (as well as elsewhere in various blog posts through the net):
http://cellofun.yuku.com/sreply/62836

Couple of examples of Orchestras that have no problem with adapting to non-standard Western works--as much because of their proximity in region or history--to non-Western Art music genres below:

Azerbaijan mugham orchestra--combination of the classical mugam ensemble with Western Orchestral forces:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmvKtvWHe6c

Israeli Phil backing up Glykeria with Greek and Arabic folk instruments

Um Kalthoum Orchestra--nearly all the golden age Arabic vocalists had back up ensembles that consisted of significant string sections which have been a staple of many middles eastern ensembles since their introduction over a century ago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvxNs4GyeUg

When Orchestras can get serious about performing some of the wealth of this repertoire then maybe they can start getting out of the ghetto of being seen as an ensemble for White audiences.

Rebecca Hartka — January 21, 2010

A mentor of mine recently helped me to navigate some nasty academic politics by explaining to me that musicians are very tribal. It took some thought to understand what he said, but then it dawned on me. People build fierce loyalties and band together in the face of an extreme threat to their survival. Unlike early hominids who ganged up on large game, the enemies we face are those of intimidation, jealousy, even slander from people who sense our presence as a threat to their place of superiority, or a threat to their survival. In a field that brings success only to those whose skill is given a seal of approval by someone who has been deemed an expert, we can become neurotically focused on what others think, and belonging to a tribe that will bring us honor, but more importantly protection.

I don’t think that it is a stretch to guess that the deep seated fear in most musicians is that of public humiliation and excommunication from the tribe. Much effort is spent in determining who has the right to make these distinctions, and gaining their approval. We ask ourselves “when am I a member of this tribe safely? when will I ever be free of the threat of someone calling me out as incompetent, or a fake?”If fear is the underlying motivation for mastery and practicing, the answer to these questions must be never. And there is the rub. We are a tribe that values excellence and so these checks on each other serve a positive purpose of maintaining a legacy of high skill that we have been given the task of carrying forward to the next generation. Excruciating initiation rites, such as auditions and doctoral exams, select for persistence and strength of character.

I recently decided I was done with this. I decided that it was between myself and the composer, and that after 26 years of lessons, a doctorate, a position at a University, and an inner artistic conviction that was tired of being ignored, it was time to be my own boss. I trusted myself to have enough integrity that fear no longer needed to be my motivator, and that I was strong enough to stand behind what I did 100% and take responsibility for my faults. The results were amazing. I felt liberated and impassioned. My music flowed out of me in a more powerful way than ever before. People were moved to tears. Nothing mattered to me except communicating with my audience with the most intention, articulateness and passion that I was capable of. I performed my first solo concerto with an orchestra, and felt as if I had found my way home.

For full blog go to
http://rebeccahartka.com/blog/?p=49

Janis — January 22, 2010

"In a field that brings success only to those whose skill is given a seal of approval by someone who has been deemed an expert ... "

This probably goes a long way to explaining why the internal classical culture (the "official" one, not the individual musicians) tends to look down on popular music. They see it as not peer-reviewed. :-) Audiences alone have determined what the best things are, and not an anointed expert.

Jeff Prillaman — January 22, 2010

This is an excellent article and resonates strongly with both my passion for performing and my passion for engaging the audience directly. As a Tenor, I've never had the option of not directly engaging the audience.

I think it is very interesting to think of Janis' comment above regarding the impact of audiences along determining the value of the performance. The populist approach to excellence can be achieved but it is indeed tricky to navigate the tribal nature of classical musicians in "less and large metro" areas..

Thank you for taking the time to write this and I look forward to future reading.

Best Regards,
Jeff Prillaman
Executive Director Da Capo Va

Jon Silpayamanant — January 22, 2010

Oops--forgot to post the Glykeria link in my response above. Here are a couple from that concert:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXhalmN6DFM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU96m5EKico

Janis, while it's generally true that audiences determine what becomes successful in the pop music world I think it's easy to overstate how much this is the case. But in my experience playing in groups that lend itself well enough to performing in local and regional band circuits which constantly puts me contact with local bands and rock/pop musicians in various cities, as well as touring around the country with a Grammy award winning Country music act I've seen as much "tribalism" (as Rebecca refers to it) as there is in Classical music.

It may not seem to be as much of a driving concern for the pop music field for various reasons but I think word of mouth within those music communities goes along way to enfranchising would be especially newer musicians who haven't quite "paid their dues" as they often refer to it.

This includes the actual musicians, the clubs that tend to book them as well as the audience members who frequent various genres.

Just as it's sometimes getting framed in the context of Classical/Versus Pop, people in the Pop music community like to think of the Classical Music world as being stiff and uppity and insufferably informal without having ever experienced anything but the highly stereotyped formal concerts on PBS specials and the like which rarely present anything but mainstream Classical concerts.

But to give a prominent example at the national/international level just consider how closely tied the careers of the community of musicians I work with. Ray Price, as part of his show banter, often refers to some of the artists that helped give him his start in the business (e.g. the late Hank Williams III).

And a number of the current top country music acts got their first break and informal 'training' being a member of the same back-up band of Ray's that I'm currently playing with, the Cherokee Cowboys or as the result of him having sung and recorded their songs, thus bringing them some measure of fame (Willie Nelson, Mel Tillis, Johnny Bush, Bobby Flores).

Individual shows (such as the Willie Nelson picnic we played for) as well as full length tours (the Last of the Breed Tour Ray did with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard) and collaborations (the recent Grammy that Ray and Willie won for "best collaboration with vocals") have been built on these relationships. In fact most of the acts that perform at the very successful annual Willie Nelson picnic (as well as other big festivals he plays) are either friends of his, instrumental in getting his start in the industry, or simply "bands that he likes."

Audiences in any field are as much created by what's going on behind the scenes as by what the audiences actually demand. Marketing driven efforts and Advertising wouldn't work if audiences couldn't be shaped to some extent after all. It's just that some of that happens in house (i.e. are "peer-reviewed" driven) rather than just by consumer choice.

Ken LaFave — January 23, 2010

Rock, pop and hip-hop are personal and direct because the musicians performing the music are largely the musicians creating it. Classical culture reverses the natural ontology of music by placing undue emphasis on performance while relegating composition to last place.

If symphony orchestras were to form close alliances with composers who regularly supplied the vast majority of what those orchestras performed - plus the odd Beethoven overture here and occasional Mozart concerto there - "classical" music would transform from a sonic museum into an art created for forces of a certain instrumentation, employing notation and created BY LIVING MUSICIANS. The doors of creativity would be flung wide open and the form would become personal, direct, and heart-winning. Audiences might even become more interested in Brahms, Mahler and other precursors to the music of today's composers.

David M Guion — January 23, 2010

William Weber (in Music and the Middle Class, among other writings) described the beginnings of a distinction between classical and popular music in the 1820s and 1830s more than thirty years ago, and pointed out that arguments between lovers of Beethoven and Rossini then were little different in content from arguments over Beethoven and Elvis Presley in his time. At first, the arguments had nothing to do with class distinctions--at least not in Europe. They took place within the aristocracy and the upper reaches of the middle class, which essentially merged into one class around mid-century.

The acknowledged culture of classical music is still all about artistic values, and not at all about class distinctions. Lawrence W. Levine (in Highbrow/Lowbrow) described how "upper" classes (in America) began to claim classical music, Shakespeare, etc. as their own and exclude the "lower" classes. That is where a lot of the unacknowledged culture of classical music came from.

It appears that the unacknowledged culture has become subconscious. At the same time that most arts organizations are trying to reach out to new audiences--younger, more racially and culturally diverse--unrecognized habits from unacknowledged culture get in the way.

"Classical" composers of the 1950s through 1970s or 1980s (Babbitt, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, et al.)--I'm mangling the meaning of "classical" beyond all recognition, but can't think of a better word--developed a real contempt for concert audiences and began to speak to their own niche. The percentage of new music on classical concerts, dropping steadily since Mendelssohn's day, reached the vanishing point.
Now that a new generation of composers really wants to connect with the audience for classical music, we've forgotten how to nurture them. That might also play a role in the unacknowledged tradition, as if we were in the business of conserving ashes instead of passing fire to a new generation.

I have devoted some considerable attention to these issues in my blog and other internet writings. Peter has made some very important observations. The concept of acknowledged and unacknowledged culture clarifies the issues a great deal.

Yvonne — January 24, 2010

I'm surprised by Ken LaFave's comment: «Rock, pop and hip-hop are personal and direct because the musicians performing the music are largely the musicians creating it. Classical culture reverses the natural ontology of music by placing undue emphasis on performance while relegating composition to last place.»

I would have said it was the exact opposite: Classical culture places emphasis on the *composition*, while the role of the performer is subsumed to that of the "vessel", the means by which the "work", the composition, is celebrated. This is one of the reasons why – in the current era – performers dress in black, grand pianos are black, etc. and why most classical concerts sell on repertoire rather than artists. It's about fidelity to the work, the score: in other words, it's the composition that's taking first place.

Compare that to pop/rock where the performers are given first place. When we say a song is "by" a performer we're assuming their creative role in its production, and we still say it even if it's a pop song that has in fact been composed by some unpromoted/barely acknowledged songwriter. This is made explicit in the database hierarchy of something like iTunes: Artists > Albums > Songs, then Composers. Whereas if that database were set up for classical music it would be: Composer > Work > Movements/Tracks, then Artists and by extension Albums

(I do agree, however, with the view that one of the most significant differences between classical and pop/rock is that classical compositions are not, for the most part, being performed or directed by their creators.)

Megan Browne Helm — January 25, 2010

I love the anthropological argument from Rebecca. And "Hi" Anne! I am a reviewer in KC and I sometimes feel very sorry for audiences who, like sheep, buy tickets and sit through performances that should be better. I am particularly aware of body language on stage. When a guest conductor takes the podium and not a single orchestra member raises their head from their stand to even glance at him (as if they all haven't memorized the Schubert 5!) I know I'm in for a long night.

So many orchestras I've seen in the last year look world weary and downtrodden. Where is the joy? I'd rather pay money to hear a high school orchestra and chorus.

Heather McCowen — April 21, 2010

I know I'm coming WAY late to the party. I heard about this blog post yesterday morning, when Peter hosted a great discussion with Greg Sandow in Chicago. So I'm wound up about this subject having had a great discussion about it yesterday.

As a veteran of the both sides of the stage (both at the highest professional level and the lowest amateur ones ), I remember telling my friends: "When I stop having fun doing this, I will stop playing in orchestras". I think that's why the concert on Monday night was so great for me.

(http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2010/0...)

It was a hell of a lot of fun. And the reason orchestral musicians want it quiet in the audience isn't because "we hate the audience and just want to commune with Mahler's ghost" as a comment on another one of Peter's blog entries put it, but because we worked REALLY hard to get this piece of music gorgeous, and we're ready to share this moment with you, and you can't possibly hear how awesome it is and SHARE the experience when you're talking or hacking up a lung. It's like having something to say, and people aren't paying attention enough to hear you. But if you like what you hear, PLEASE do clap!

I've often thought that it's a shame all audience members can't have the experience of playing in an orchestra, because it's so damn fun. It is, it's collaborative, it's loud, it's heartbreaking, its sublime. And Finally, at the concert, we get to share. . .

The stuff about not smiling on stage? That's utter bullsh-. Never once have I ever followed that rule. However, for some, It's done out of respect for the music, and the really hard task ahead of us, and frankly, because many of us have horrific stage fright, and we're about to expose our tender musical underbelly.

But if you ever watch a group that's called "dynamic and charismatic" they are always smiling and laughing when they play (The Biava or Pacifica string quartets come to mind). Soloists too, but it takes FOREVER to get so comfortable with the art form that you can effortlessly communicate what ever it is you're trying to communicate without getting tripped up by the mechanism (the trumpet, the bassoon, your own voice).

Now, the TRUE artist is the one in the CSO, who upon playing Beethoven's 5th symphony AGAIN, will look deep and find new ways to make it interesting, or at the very least, recognize how much fun it is to play. I know musicians like that, they are the ones that are a joy to watch and listen to, and they understand that at the end of the day, they are using the medium of Beethoven and their oboe to communicate directly with a whole mess of people. I think of it like a great center fielder in baseball. Is sitting in the outfield boring? you bet, and you'll do it over and over again, but doing it well every time is the key to greatness.

Remember also, how we train musicians. We tell them to stay in a practice room for 6 hours a day and get better, how on EARTH does that train them to smile on stage? We need to work on our audience engagement, but it certainly isn't because some of us stopped caring. I think we need to really examine how we're teaching students to engage when they are training to be musicians. . .

Charith Premawardhana — May 01, 2010

Lots of great points here --
When we started Classical Revolution 3 1/2 years ago, it served several purposes at the same time.
For the musicians, it gave us the chance to establish RELEVANCY of what we love to do.
After playing for years in various levels of professional orchestras, I became personally very tired of playing for the same demographic - old, rich, white people.
Through Classical Rev, we have the chance to play for people our own age in settings where they can feel comfortable.
It gives the chance for the music to speak on its own terms -- despite the fact that there are many aural distractions, such as chatter, espresso machine, occasional ambulance -- the music is able to speak extremely personally in these conditions.
This is because there is no outside motivation -- its not trying to sell a product or agenda, or even an organization, its just simply trying to be music as much as possible.
Our musicians love that the environment provides the opportunity to strive towards direct communication with our audience - 1 on 1.
Since 2006, we have presented over 400 chamber music events in cafes, bars, art galleries, backyards, living rooms, parks, etc...
Most of these events are open-invitation reading sessions.
Musicians vary from Conservatory students and seasoned amateurs to professional full time orchestra musicians, established chamber musicians, and concert soloists.
The common tie is an immense love for chamber music and the desire to express the emotions that exist within the repertoire to a young, receptive, and uninitiated audience.
We are still experimenting with modes of presentation, but what we have done to this point is play a lot of great music for a lot of people who've never heard it before and who now enjoy it.
But, the question is -- why???
Why is it important for people to hear this music?
Is it???
That discussion is open.
For me, I love to play it -- I love the sound of the music bouncing off receptive ears and coming back into mine.

One further point -- I feel it is very important for classically trained musicians to play other styles of music.
I feel that there are many bad habits (musically and socially) that develop from following too closely the staid classical tradition.
My biggest pet peeve of course is the often-seeming random and haphazard timings taken at the ends of phrases.
This bugs me more than anything -- if its not written in the music, why do you have to slow down at the end of every phrase???
---"Oh, its because, uhh.... uhh.... thats how they do it on that recording that everyone says its good, uh...."
BS
I currently play with a jazz-folk singer, a r&b / soul band, a jazz-hip hop symphony, and an indie rock band and i learn different things from each of these types of music and all these different musicians, and they all inform they way I play Mozart.
Oh and PS -- they are all awesome musicians.
We get in trouble when we think what we do is the best there is out there everywhere and other forms are somewhat inferior. ALL types of music are valid -- what differentiates good music from bad is how closely the musician can communicate directly with the audience.
This is what makes Beethoven and Mozart great musicians -- they are still communicating directly with us over 200 years later!!!!

PEACE

Charith Premawardhana
Founder and director, Classical Revolution
Violist -- Jazz Mafia Symphony, Meklit Hadero, The Congress, Foma, etc etc etc...

Rick Robinson — March 02, 2012

I just learned about this great article and comments and must throw in my 2 cents (isn't the internet wonderful?).

The disconnect of classical music is partly that our established institutions (symphony orchestras) have grown fat as relevance took a back seat to quality. Orchestras became increasingly competitive as "world class" and we essentially classed ourselves out of the larger market while pop music became competitively RICHER in style.

By pubbing and clubbing, we can begin to center on the WORLD and de-emphasize the CLASS in "world class".

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.