Really radical

As I’ve thought more about my last post, and as I’ve absorbed the very interesting comments, something else occurred to me. This is very radical, I admit, but I think it follows from everything I’ve said.

Suppose classical concerts were — as a general rule — more or less like this eighth blackbird event? Then I think there’d be no gap between classical music and the rest of our culture, and no worries about classical music’s future.

Though of course that opens further questions. How large could the audience for a concert like this be? Could it ever be as large as the classical audience is now? Or would a concert like this become the alternative wing of a transformed classical music world, the way alternative rock and dance music are the alternative wing of pop, or art-house films are the alternative wing of movies?

And if this were the case, what would the classical mainstream — now closely linked to the rest of our current culture, and not separated from it — be like?

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  1. says

    This follows up on the idea of getting groups like eight blackbird into music schools. You can title this, “How do I love 8bb? Let me count the ways.”

    8bb’s residency this year at the DePauw School of Music has been a spectacular success. During this, their fourth and final visit of the year, they are performing side-by-side with students in a “Microfestival” series of concerts organized by our faculty composer, Carlos Carrillo. (Carlos, by the way, is among those who have been heavily influenced by work with Bang on a Can.)

    Imagine the impact on our students, playing “In C” with members of 8bb and DePauw faculty interspersed throughout the large group. Or the experience of a senior piano major performing movements from the Quartet for the End of Time with Matt Albert and Nick Photinos? (And various members of 8bb are playing in numerous other pieces.)

    As a faculty member at DePauw, I couldn’t be more delighted with the generous spirit of the members of 8bb. They are providing a fantastic learning and musical experience. There’s something about playing with more experienced, accomplished, and committed musicians that can be transformative for a young person; it’s a kind of laying on of hands.

    Taking faculty and guest artists off the pedestal of supreme, judgmental authority and having the the more experienced make music with the lesser experienced is similar to breaking down the wall between traditional classical music and “new music.” And I can’t overstate how much I admire 8bb for doing both.

    Hi, Eric. Thanks so much for this. Of course — as regular readers know — I met 8bb at DePauw in November, when I and they both took part in your symposium on the future of classical music. They were everything you say they are, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve come to feel so warm toward them. I’m sure they’d do wonders at any school, and you’re very smart to have snapped them up.

  2. says

    If classical music wasn’t separated from the mainstream, I would try to become a classical critic again, with the goal of actually successfully using this position to get women to date me. ‘Cause it didn’t work in the current environment.

  3. says

    I take back my earlier comment – it’s not fair to blame classical music for my intermittent dating struggles. No art form can be fairly tasked with moving that mountain.

    And it’s a mountain for many people. From what I’ve seen of them, rock critics also have trouble getting dates. You’re not alone.