Common sense

The mainstream classical music world, I sometimes think, lives in denial. Tell it that its audience is aging, and some people simply don’t believe it. Others say it doesn’t matter, because the audience always has been old. (Not true.) Or else it doesn’t matter because younger people, as they age, will turn to classical music.

Whereas when model railroaders age — their median age was 30 in 1970, and it’s over 50 now — everybody in the model railroad world starts saying, “Yes, goodbye, it’s over.” Which is only common sense.

If you don’t see younger people taking part, why think you have a future? (The link takes you to a blog post of mine with complex stuff about the age of the classical audience. Scroll toward the end for the model railroad part.)

And now comes more common sense, this time from the beverage industry. The business section of today’s New York Times has a lengthy piece on the Coca-Cola Company. In it, we read that younger people aren’t drinking carbonated drinks the way they used to:

Taken as a whole [the story says], soda sales still handily outweigh all other beverage categories combined, but the trend lines are ominous for a “sparkling beverage”-dependent company like Coke. William Pecoriello, a Morgan Stanley analyst, found in a survey last year that teenagers, who used to be among the biggest consumers of soda, increasingly prefer other beverages.

“If you lost that generation, as they age they aren’t suddenly going to start drinking carbonated soft drinks,” says Mr. Pecoriello. “That’s the importance of Coke closing the non-carb gap.”

“As they age they aren’t suddenly going to start drinking carbonated soft drinks.” Common sense! So let’s get back to classical music. The National Endowment for the Arts, in one of its periodic reports on the age of the classical music audience, found that the number of younger people going to classical concerts basically collapsed in the 1980s, and hasn’t recovered since. (These links go to NEA publications, which you can download from the NEA’s website. Then you’ll have the same data I have.)

If younger people aren’t going to classical concerts nearly as much as they did in past generations, why assume that as they age they’ll suddenly start going? Follow William Pecoriello’s lead; read the writing on the wall.

There is one ray of hope. The number of younger people playing classical music — as opposed to sitting in the mainstream classical audience — has stayed the same. In this way, classical music is very much unlike model railroading. It has an active core of younger people. So, in principle at least, it ought to also have a younger audience — except that mainstream classical events turn off the great majority of younger people, including (as I hear all the time from my Juilliard and Eastman students) even friends of all the young classical music professionals.

So, like the beverage industry, classical music must diversify. A company like Pepsi (Coke lags behind) has fruit juice, energy drinks (Pepsi owns Gatorade), iced tea, and the largest-selling bottled water in America. Young classical musicians, all on their own, are giving concerts (in clubs, for instance) that attract younger people. But this is still a tiny slice of the classical music world. Will the mainstream classical music biz read the history of Coke and Pepsi, and start giving new kinds of concerts, too?

(In large quantities, I mean. The tiny toe-in -the-water experiments they’ve tried so far just aren’t going to cut it.)

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  1. says

    Who’s attending new-music concerts? Alex Ross wrote a while back about the number of new-music ensembles in NYC now versus 40 years ago. I’m curious about whether the audience is aging there as well as elsewhere.

    The new music audience is mostly young, as far as I can see (though it would be lovely to have real data). At least in New York, It also seems — again, I’m judging mainly from what I see — to be made up at least in part of young composers, and young musicians who play new music. These people are sometimes mistaken (by critics) for some kind of rock audience, because young composers and musicians dress the same way that the rock audience does.

    But still, many new music concerts — and there are new music ensembles in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Charleston, SC (and maybe other places) that draw large audiences — are part of the emerging new wave of classical events, which really could change the face of classical music.

    Not that this is anything new. Steve Reich and Philip Glass drew large young audiences 30 years ago. What _is_ new, as Alex says, is the number of new music concerts. But this, in certain ways, can be deceptive. There are many new music concerts in part because there are many young musicians who want to give them — just as there are many classical CDs released because there are many musicians who want to make CDs (and making CDs, these days, is easy). The similarity is that neither endeavor makes much money. (The CDs, in fact, are mostly money-losing, because musicians pay to make them.)

    Which is why new music concerts won’t save classical music — yet. Very few people make a living playing them. Even established new music stars (like the members of Ethel, at least a couple of years ago) have to play mainstream gigs to put food on the table. The mainstream is still the financial engine of classical music, and that’s why threats to it should be taken very seriously, even by people who care much more about concerts that give us something new.

  2. Larry Fried says

    Can you please give some specific examples of what you mean by “giving new kinds of concerts.”

    Two things that (if they’re done right) have worked wonderfully: play classical music in clubs (perfect for chamber music and new music), and put classical music on a program with alternative rock or dance music.

    More generally, informality works — musicians avoiding formal dress, talking to the audience, looking like they’re having fun or else that they’re raptly absorbed in the music. Improvisation works. Allowing the audience to move around, applaud when they feel like it — these things work. New music seems to be a draw. Likewise serving drinks, or at least having them available.

    Branding your organization, so that people expect to come and have a good time — that works. Cf. Red, An Orchestra, in Cleveland, which attracts over 1000 younger people to each of its concerts. Some of them, I’m told, wear red when they attend. They’ve identified with the organization. Of course, the programming is terrific, and that’s essential.

    Also: shorter concerts. Concerts that start at 9 PM, 9:30, or 10 PM. (Mostly Mozart in New York has had success with that.)

    Most of these ideas demand smaller settings than the normal concert hall. Red does attract 1000 people, as I’ve said, and the London Sinfonietta, mixing postwar composers and dance music, attracted about the same number. Concerts in New York of alternative rock and classical music have been drawing from 400 to 800. I don’t know that anyone has tried something successful in a 2000-seat hall, but I could easily be wrong.

    What doesn’t work, I think we know, is the standard concert format. And as always, with these new paradigms, the pressing problem is to make them pay — to find a way to generate the kind of income standard classical concerts generate, while doing something new. A string quartet playing classical music in a club isn’t likely to make much money, and it’s hard to see how long-term careers based on these new ideas can be built until the money is there.

  3. says

    I am 26 years old, and I do not worry in the least about the long-term outlook for the audience for classical music.

    First, I see many, many young persons in the audiences of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and recitals by visiting artists sponsored by the Schubert Club here in the Twin Cities. I see young persons who appear to be in high school, young persons who appear to be in college, and young persons who appear to be in their 20’s.

    If any segment of the population is under-represented at orchestral concerts and recitals here, it is audience members in their thirties. Why is this? Because many persons in that age group are raising children, which means that they are going to church functions and school activities many nights of the week, and cannot, as a practical matter, set aside time to attend concerts.

    Second, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra sells out a significant percentage of its concerts, and attendance at Minnesota Orchestra concerts is at a multi-year high. There IS a large and educated audience for classical music in the United States.

    (By the way, audiences at concerts of both Twin Cities ensembles do not strike me as particularly old, and certainly no older than audiences were ten years ago, when I first started attending concerts, which suggests to me that there will be excellent attendance here for many years to come.)

    Third, I cannot help but notice that attendance at concerts in Europe, everywhere on the continent, is excellent, with many, many young persons to be seen in audiences everywhere. The only country on the other side of the Atlantic where concert attendance is poor is Britain.

    Why is this? Because persons in the U.S. and Britain are working more hours than they were thirty years ago, while persons on the European continent are working fewer hours than they were thirty years ago. As a result, continental Europeans have more leisure hours than citizens of the U.S. or Britain.

    If classical music were dying, it would be dying in Europe, too, would it not? And that is simply not the case–classical music, and the audience for classical music, remains robust in continental Europe.

    I think that poor attendance in the U.S., where it exists, is probably a function of high ticket prices–concertgoers cannot go as often as they would like, because of the hit to the wallet–and changing societal trends, such as Americans working longer hours and delaying child-rearing until both spouses are in their thirties.

    The significance of these trends is that many persons delay their concert-going until they are in their fifties, at which point the kids have been raised and educated, and at which point the working parents are approaching retirement and reducing their work commitments.

    IThanks for this, Andrew. It’s good to have your point of view.

    But at the same time, it’s always tricky to judge the overall state of classical music — or any other large-scale activity — from our own experience. I’ve seen striking numbers of younger people at Boston orchestra concerts, fewer in New York, hardly any in Cleveland and St. Louis. The Twin Cities may be an exception to what’s going on globally (certainly both orchestras are on a high right now, compared to most in other cities, and cultural life in Minneapolis and St. Paul has a few notches above what you see most other places). Or the crowds you see at concerts may look pretty full, but may still be 10% to 15% smaller than they would have been two decades ago. Certainly all available statistics (some not publicly available, unfortunately) show orchestra ticket sales down by 10% to 15% over 20 years.

    And extensive anecdotal data — aggregate statistics, unfortunately, aren’t available (though they are for individual chamber music series — suggests that ticket sales to chamber music are strongly down in the last decade or so. In one city I visited not long ago, the chamber music series had around 700 subscribers, and had lost, I was told, 20 to 30 each year for the past decade. Which means that 10 years ago they might have had around 950 subscribers (figuring an average loss of 25 people each year), and that their subscriptions, in the last decade, have fallen 28%. I don’t have any reason to think this isn’t typical.

    I’d be curious to know where you got your information about Europe. From everything I’ve heard, things vary greatly from place to place. The European students in my Juilliard classes certainly don’t think classical music is in healthy shape in Europe. They think it’s declining much as it is in the US, though maybe the decline isn’t as far along as it is here. I don’t have statistics for total European classical ticket sales, but I’ve seen some figures, just by chance, from the Danish Radio Orchestra that show their audience aging far more drastically than American orchestra audiences have been. The guy who compiled that data thinks it’s typical of Europe.

    About people in their 30s. What you say here is the received classical music wisdom. People don’t go to concerts in their 30s, because they’re busy with kids. But do they go to the movies? To pop concerts? (There’s a wonderful passage in John Seabrook’s book “Nobrow,” in which he goes to a Chemical Brothers show and then goes home to his family.) To ball games? When people in their 30s say — as surveys show they do — that they’re not going to classical concerts because of child care issues, maybe that means they just give classical concerts a lower priority, and in fact do other things, dealing with child care because the other things matter more to them.

    It’s an article of faith that people in their 30s today will start going to classical concerts when they’re in their 50s. They’re not listening to classical music now. Why should they change? And age data gathered by the National Endowment for the Arts over the past two decades certainly doesn’t show people making this choice. Instead, a single generation of concertgoers — those born in the late 1940s and early 1950s — were the largest group buying tickets to classical concerts in both the 1990s and the 2000s. They weren’t being replaced by an equivalent number of people 10 years younger. Since NEA figures also show a drastic drop in people under 30 going to classical events ever since the 1980s, why should we assume that these trends won’t continue?

    And then there are financial problems, which are a whole other issue. Even very well-run orchestras — as I’ve seen from working with some of them — feel a financial crunch these days, even in cases when ticket sales are reasonably high. The crunch becomes especially vivid when current financial numbers are projected into the future .I doubt there’s a major orchestra in America that doesn’t feel a pressing need to bring in more money than it’s currently raising. Without new sources of cash, the projections into the future don’t look good at all.

  4. says

    I’ve been reading these comments about the dire future of classical music often (especially in your blog). And while I’m sure that the statistics you provide are valid, I feel that the “dire future” approach is not helpful. What I mean is that when other industries experience problems they often take an approach that publicizes how great and wonderful the industry is! This to me makes more sense- look at the results that Peter Gelb has achieved with the Metropolitan Opera this past season- suddenly there was an audience all across the country. To me this is the approach to take. Of course not everyone has the budget of the Met, but we can all benefit from proclaiming the wonders and interest of classical music, instead of lamenting it’s death at every turn.

    Well, I don’t think I lament classical music’s death. What I’ve tried to do is call attention to the problems that the classical music mainstream has, and above all call for changes in what they do. Business indeed (and I think I’ve often said this) provides a model. Though I do think that simply publicizing classical music isn’t enough. Businesses — my recent example of the soft-drink industry provides a perfect example — normally adjust to changes in the outside world by providing new product lines. Coke used to just make Coke — now there’s Dasani water, Sprite, Diet Coke, and much more. Classical music organizations need to do the same. (See my my response to the comment asking for examples of new forms of concerts.)

  5. BPJ says

    While I agree with many of the observations Mr. Sandow has been making, I think the soft drink analogy is misplaced. First, of course, we always have to be cautious about analogies between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. The latter exists to provide something beyond that which the market can support: this is true of museums, homeless shelters, nonprofit theatres, charity hospitals, and orchestras.

    Second, we listen to classical music for fundamentally different reasons than we grab a Coke. A recent article in The Economist, “Classical Music: Reports of its Death are Exaggerated,” notes: “classical music’s special properties–its mixture of complexity, depth and order….give classical music its particular value, encouraging listeners to reach for similar characteristics in their lives.”

    Exactly. And many of us find ourselves looking more for those qualities now than we did a few years ago. I just turned 50, and I didn’t start going regularly to concerts until my mid-30s.

    Here in Atlanta, we appreciate our Coke, but I think a better analogy to classical music would be wine, with its greater complexity and depth. Plenty of young people graduate from cheap beer to fine wine, and that is the appropriate analogy here. Of course, winemakers and music makers need to market well, and find ways for potential new customers to broaden their palates.

    Finally, I have to say that my experience is like that of the guy in St. Paul. In Atlanta, ticket sales have been increasing. Robert Spano has brought a healthy dose of new music – often featuring an onstage interview with the composer just before the piece. And there are programs which are aimed specifically at new concertgoers, about an hour long, with discussion of the music and audience questions.

    It seems to me that the view from New York is influenced by looking back at a “golden age”; for much of the country, our experience is different. We don’t really have a golden age of 50 years ago to look back on (although I do have warm memories of some Robert Shaw choral concerts 15-20 years back). I think many young people will find that over time, they yearn for something more than what pop music can offer. And you have some excellent ideas for how to market them a product of greater depth and complexity.

  6. says

    As for Europe, I wish I had data to share. All I’ve got is this tantalizing note about Dr. Thomas Hamann’s doctoral work using system dynamics at the Hochschule St. Gallen at While he and I have discussed it, I have not seen his dissertation.

    Dr. Hamann also published “Die Zukunft der Klassik” in _Das Orchester 2005/09_ (,214698.html). You can see the first three pages of that article as a free sample, and it does include some data. He claims that it’s not an age- but a cohort-related problem; see figure (Abb.) 2 in that excerpt for the implications of his claim.

    Our discussion about age ( used the same type of approach as did Dr. Hamann’s, FWIW.

    I will note that Dr. Hamann seems to claim that getting more young people involved in playing instruments is important. Not having read his entire dissertation, I can’t comment about his claims. I’d be careful about assuming that his claims lead to a support of what some may perceive as the Knight Report conclusion on the relationship between learning an instrument and attending concerts, though; see There seems to be an effect, but it’s seemingly not nearly as big as the proximate number in the report might suggest.

    As for the thought that predictions that dire futures may not be helpful, that’s a good question. Some might wonder about “self-fulfilling prophecies.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter, in her _Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End,” claims that the first step in successful turn-arounds is facing the facts. (The second and third are cultivating collaboration and inspiring initiative and innovation.)

    Bill, thanks so much for providing the link to the Hamann material. My German is just good enough (just barely) to get the gist of what he’s saying, with the help of his graphs. It’s clear from everything he says that the age of the audience in Europe — or at least in the places Hamann has studied — is exactly what it is in the US. And it’s subject to the same trends. At the end of the free sample of his work that’s provided, there’s a telling statistic: Between 1994 and 2002, the proportion of the German classical music audience that’s under 60 years old declined from 68.2% to 53.2%. That audience, in other words, is aging.

    Abb. 1 – -we’d call it “Figure 1” — in his presentation is also very telling. It compares the age distribution of the audience at the 2003 Lucerne Festival to the age distribution of the entire Swiss population in 2002. People under 50 are, compared to the overall population, underrepresented, and people over 50 are wildly overrepresented. This tallies with my own data, which shows that the median age of the American orchestra audience is now much higher than the median age of the American population (though 50 years ago the two median ages were very close to the same). Hamann’s chart rather decisively refutes — at least for the Lucerne Festival — any notion that the classical music audience is older than it used to be because the population as a whole is older. The Lucerne audience is _far_ older than the Swiss population.

    And then there’s the cohort effect. In Abb. 2, Hamann charts two possible futures for the classical music audience. If the age of the audience is determined by lifestyle decisions — if, that is, people normally decide later in life to start going to classical concerts, and will continue to do this in the future — then in 2020 the German classical music audience will have approximately equal numbers of people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. But if the age of the audience is now being determined by the taste people born in different decades form early in their lives — and if this taste doesn’t substantially change as they grow older — then the German classical audience in 2020 will essentially be from 50 to 70 years old, with very few people in its 30s and 40s. Although in Abb. 1 the Lucerne audience already looks like that, only worse! By far the dominant age groups are people from 50 to 70.

    And here’s Hamann’s conclusion, which I really should have quoted first. I’m giving it in my own translation (helped by Microsoft Word’s translation capability):

    “Without proactive measures in education, cultural policy, and cultural media, the demand for classical music performances in the next 30 years will fall by 36 percent.”

  7. says

    Greg, I found another article by Dr. Hamann, this time complete. See “Werden die Klassikhörer von den Generationen der Pop-/Rockhörer abgelöst?” at It will exercise your German; there does appear to be an abstract in French.

    As one might expect, the data and the argument is more complete in a complete article such as this one. The first part of the article seems to debunk the idea of people dropping out in their middle ages and returning later; from his research, it seems that classical music, at least in Germany and Switzerland, has lost out to popular music among people born since about 1960. Nearer the end of the article, he posits what might help bring classical music back for the generation following the current “Generation Pop/Rock.” Playing an instrument plays a big role for him (it’s interesting that his 77% result from a survey he took at the 2003 Lucerne festival aligns quite well with the Knight report’s 74% of concert-goers who played an instrument or sang as youth), but it’s only one of the factors (if the most important in his mind). I’m still mindful of the fallacy of assuming that the probability of X given Y is the same as that of Y given X, but that reduces the number (perhaps by two thirds), not make it zero.

    When I hear this, I recall a statement my father once made. Thinking of rock music of the 60s, he commented that every generation seemed to have their own music that their elders couldn’t stand. When he was growing up, he liked jazz, and his father didn’t. I wonder how much that anecdote generalizes. I wonder if that was a phenomenon that arose near the start of the twentieth century and (apparently) declined after the 1960s.

    Perhaps this is an entrée into the question: was music for youth and music for grown-ups less diverse in the nineteenth century and before? Did earlier youths’ musical tastes mature into classical music, staying largely in the same genre, and did that change with the coming of jazz and show music (and, as I think you once said, musical influences brought back by GIs from Europe after one or two wars) in the early twentieth century? I imagine that youthful jazz lovers of the 1920s continued to like jazz as adults, but jazz (at least some of it) and classical seem somewhat related — similar instruments, etc. — so people might attend classical concerts as a “mature” outlet for their musical interests. Did perhaps the move to rock split people far enough off of classical music (an electric guitar with fuzzbox doesn’t seem much like an orchestral instrument) so that they no longer matured into classical music devotees (almost) at all?

    One final question: what’s the story in Asia? I think I’ve read anecdotal evidence of interest in Western classical music in China, for example, but I don’t know its magnitude.

    Thanks for all of this, Bill.

    I think there’s a cultural move away from classical music. Sociologists now talk about “cultural omnivores” as being typical — people who take in all kinds of culture, high and low. That’s even true of hardcore members of the arts audience. So there’s less reason for people to turn to classical music as they age. They find music they like elsewhere. Even I do that. I’m on a gospel music kick right now, and, this week, anyway, find it much more satisfying than anything classical.

    As I’ve e-mailed you privately, I also think there’s a phenomenon nobody has studied yet — former members of the classical audience who don’t go to classical concerts any more, or buy classical CDs. As I wrote you, some people in my family fal into that category. It’s hard to blame them. The classical music world, mainstream variety, doesn’t do much to sustain interest. The same stuff, over and over again. Once, maybe, that wasn’t a problem — certainly a generation ago, performances were more individual, so there was something to look forward to when you went to a concert. Not any more.

    As for Asia, that’s so much talked and written about now. There’s a big audience, especially, or so people say, in China. I’m not sure what that’s about. From what I’ve read, there seems to be a status factor. Nouveau riche Chinese parents want their kids to have cultured accomplishments, and classical music seems to be one of these. I don’t know to what extent this is true, or if the same thing happen sin Korea, where there’s also a big audience. Nor do I know what “big” means in this context! I do know that it’s possible to read about current Chinese culture and not see one mention of classical music, but maybe that’s just an accident of selection in my case, a curiosity about things I happen to have read.

  8. says

    Audiences may be declining in Europe just as in the U.S., but surely the arts in Europe are healthier since funding is more secure. In America, ticket sales are vital for the future of ensembles and the irresponsible government gives almost nothing in the way of arts funding. In Finland, however, concerts are so subsidized that I wonder if ticket revenue for a sparsely attended concert can even cover the salaries of the host of coat checks and caretakers at Finlandia Hall.

    Some might claim that it’s sad that there isn’t more of an audience for classical music, but I take a Milton Babbit-esque perspective: I really could care less if the man on the street digs classical music, as long as cash keeps flowing into IRCAM.

    Government funding is declining, sometimes very sharply, in Europe. The Berlin Philharmonic, for instance, now gets just half its budget from government sources. So now there’s a scramble in Europe to raise money, just as we do in the US. And there’s a big market for American consultants and orchestra executives to go over there and show the Europeans how money is raised.

    Ticket sales are also declining. In a response to another comment, I mentioned the work of Thomas Hamann, who’s studied the orchestral auadience in Germany, and predicts a very sharp decline in it over the next two decades. If you browse through German publications dealing with orchestras, the mere titles of the articles show that they have the same concerns we do.

    As for IRCAM, I think it’s fine to have music that only a few people like, but it’s unhealthy to have that sustained in a world where there’s no audience at all. I mean that Webern was wonderful, no matter how few people heard his music, because living composers did have an audience during his time. So even the composers who worked in their own private worlds were somehow fed by currents sweeping through their societies.

    Hothouse plants like IRCAM are a different story. in a profound way, nobody cares, and that cripples what goes on in places like that. There’s an anthropological study of IRCAM, by Georgina Born, and it’s sobering reading. At least in the years when she was resident there, studying what went on, very little music was actually written. And there was no consensus at IRCAM that the pieces that did get written were any good.

  9. says

    Born’s monograph is worthless. For some bizarre reason, she expected the place, founded personally for Boulez, would produce all styles of music, letting even hired engineers with no training in composition create stuff, and her personal dislike of contemporary music colours what was advertised as a dispassionate study.

    Plenty of music was being produced at the time. Boulez’ Repons, early Saariaho and Barriere, and the year after Born left George Benjamin and Magnus Lindberg produced very fine pieces.

    Amazing! You really think Georgina Born says what you paraphrase her as saying? Please cite chapter and verse. I didn’t find anything even remotely like that in the book. Please also cite examples of her “personal dislike of contemporary music.” For her to note, as she does, that there was great hostility at IRCAM to pop music and also to new postmodern classical music doesn’t show any bias on her part. She’s simply stating a fact, and IRCAM’s leaders — whose taste is a matter of public record — would surely agree that her description of their taste is correct.

    The most telling critiques in Born’s book have to do with IRCAM’s supposed rationality — the belief, around IRCAM, that things were done logically. While in fact chaos reigned, in many ways. The amount of time (just for instance) involved in producing electronic scores — the length of time worked per minute of usable results – -was almost insane. And that’s just the tip of iceberg, as Born reports.

    She certainly cites the pieces you cite, as worthwhile achievements. But there weren’t many of them, a point not so much made by Born, but made to her, by people on all levels of IRCAM whom she interviewed.

    As for her alleged belief that unqualified engineers should have been allowed to compose, I think that’s a hugely skewed reading of what she says. She says, at least as I read her, that technical support staff who in fact were qualified composers weren’t given any status that would allow them to compose. There was, she says, a rigid hierarchy at IRCAM, and it excluded from composer status people whose composing skills were actually quite notable. Another point she makes about the engineering staff is that in many cases they were the ones who created the sounds used in a piece, and not the composers. She doesn’t then say that the engineers should have gotten all the credit. But she does think they should get some kind of co-credit, perhaps (this is my analogy, not hers) the way editors and cinematographers get credit along with the director, when a film is made. Born notes that, despite IRCAM’s avant-garde self-image, the view of artists that prevailed there was full of 19th century romanticism — the artist as all-powerful. It’s a very challenging book.

  10. says

    Worries over here too, Sir. Yes in Europe (Finland). What differs from place to place is the age: I lived in the ’90s in Germany, in the ’00s here. When I visited a concert few months ago (Köln Philharmonie) after a long period away from the country, I was shocked from the old people in the audience. You see, I was used to the younger audience in Finlanda. Then again, Segerstam conducted Mahler 7th with the Helsinki Philharmonic, and suddenly no youngsters anymore…

    Young people need a larger diversity in programming, that’s true. For example, how many times can anyone -apart from opera funs- listen to Carmen?

    But then the problem is, who chooses the program, who runs the orchestras, who decides about the music, and the musicians?

    Why 10% (might be 20 or 30%, still small) of the musicians get 70% (or 80, or 90%) of the concerts? How can ex-musicians be interested in classical music when they cannot like what is offered exactly because they’re not the typical audience? They understand afterall music. How much one can take in this profession and not react one way or another?

    I see everyday -in their profession, in their interviews- colleagues who couldn’t care less about the art and their colleagues! And I’m talking about famous people, the kind of 100 concerts/year, and hudreds of thousands income. It’s all about me, me, and uhm, me! We supposed to be cultivated, aren’t we?

    Anyway, 50.000.000 children in China play (study) the piano. When we open the borders (or they open them) there’ll be no problem anymore…