Classical music and the world outside

Here’s an e-mail I got from a friend this week, someone who works in the classical music business in New York. No need to say anything to introduce it. It speaks, wistfully, for itself:

So this weekend I finally got around to screening some of the DVD’s of the Bernstein Young People’s Concerts; it’s amazing how far we HAVEN’T come.  Who could imagine a Music Director actually leading a series to help people learn how to listen, and a national TV network broadcasting it?  And they’re GOOD. 


Then I went to MOMA, and I tell you what, it’s hard to leave there thinking art is dead.  It was mobbed.  (My take-away on ‘The Gates:’ I remember the first time I saw the “Mona Lisa” I thought, ‘that’s nice.’  Walking through ‘The Gates,’ though, moved me nearly to tears.)    


On the way home I stopped by Ray’s Famous Pizza at 88th and Broadway for a meatball parmigiano grinder — er, hero.  There in the tiny plot of formica tables were two apparent old street bums, arguing over who was the better playwright: Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller or Edward Albee.   


Then I got home and learned that the New York Philharmonic had won 3 Grammys for “On the Transmigration of Souls,” which will probably lead to 100, maybe 200 people around the country rushing out to buy it tomorrow.


I truly believe orchestras have it within their power to become relevant againthe only thing stopping them is themselves.But that seems to be the biggest challenge of all.   

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