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 again; the only thing stopping them is themselves.But that seems to be the biggest challenge of all.