I’m making a list — and checking it twice — of all the ways in which classical music doesn’t connect to our larger culture. This’ll eventually be a detailed blog post. I’d love comments. Can anyone add to the list?
1. Most of the music at classical concerts comes from the past. So we’re rarely engaged with contemporary life. (Is this one reason the people who go to these concerts like them?)
2. Formal dress looks archaic, and out of touch.
3. The musicians don’t talk to the audience. In our culture today, people expect musicians to talk.
4. Musicians subordinate their own personalities. They play the music the way they’ve been taught to. They don’t take much initiative, don’t make their concerts personal statements, don’t play the music their own way.
5. Even when new music is played, much of it doesn’t sound like the world around us. The sounds of popular music aren’t much heard, though they were in past centuries.
6. More general statement of point five: There’s rarely even a hint of current popular culture at classical concerts. That’s not true of other forms of art — novels, poetry, visual art, dance, theater.
7. The audience is old.
I know that many of these things are changing. Point three, for instance. So I’m talking about classical concerts in their traditional form.
And I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. If you enjoy these concerts, you enjoy them. It’s just that concerts with these characteristics don’t resemble other current cultural events, don’t connect with our larger culture, and therefore might not attract many people, especially younger people — no matter how fine the music is.