How to advocate the arts (1)

It's Arts Advocacy Day. I've complained before -- here, here, here, and (in the Wall Street Journal) here -- that common advocacy arguments for the arts have problems. So to celebrate the day, here's my two cents on how it might be done. What I won't talk about is how people in the arts can't disdain popular culture. I've covered that enough in separate posts, here and here. 1. Trust the public I got some disagreeing comments to my earlier posts on this, and the two that made me sad said that we can't advocate the arts directly -- we … [Read more...]

Two things I’ve written

First, a list of innovations in classical concert-giving, which I compiled for my Juilliard course on the future of classical music. It's just a start, and leaves out far more things than it includes. Comments are more than welcome. The list needs to be vastly enlarged, and improved, maybe not for my course, but for all the rest of us. And second, a Wall Street Journal piece on the new alt-classical audience in New York. There's nothing new in it for regular readers of this blog, and the blog commenter (John), who said I'm wrong to say that … [Read more...]

Performance of my music

Life has gotten full lately, with all kinds of things, including contacts with many, many people, a lot attention to my Juilliard course, and some writing. My apologies for neglecting the blog. I've been saying that time management has to be a number one priority, but another way to put it would be -- triage rules. I'm always learning more about how to get the balance right. But here's one thing I want to announce. And the simplest way would be to quote the e-mail I sent out to my private mailing list. (Which, since I haven't vetted it lately, … [Read more...]

More testimony

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some testimony, to the power of concerts that blend classical music and indie rock, and draw an excited new audience. Here's more, sent to me in an email from a friend who works in the mainstream part of the classical music business. He and I had been at Le Poisson Rouge together, seeing a show from the Nonclassical record label (and club night) that's based in London. A show also cosponsored by New Amsterdam Records, a New York label, which, like Nonclassical, features music by classical composers who're as much … [Read more...]

Arts and popular culture (2)

Two books I'd highly recommend: Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good For You. Ironic title, of course. The book's about how complex popular culture now is.Mark Harris, Pictures at a Revolution. One of the best books I've read in years, a real page-turner, but deeply serious in its study of how French art films helped spark a huge change in Hollywood moviemaking. Along, of course, with the emergence of a new culture in the '60s. (Nice classical music reference in the title, by the way. But we in classical music can't, I fear, claim any moment … [Read more...]

The arts and popular culture

Sorry I haven't blogged for a bit. Or maybe not sorry -- found I got overloaded, forced myself every day to do more than I really could. So after my vacation, I pulled back, and especially didn't force myself to blog. As I said on Twitter today, I'm finding that time management and prioritizing have to be my top priority. But the blog is a big priority within that -- and besides, I miss it (and I miss all of your comments), so here goes. Two days ago (January 16), I spoke at a class at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a course in … [Read more...]

Short vacation

Defying the recession, I'm off to the Yucatan for a few days. Back next Wednesday. If you comment on anything here, the comments will be posted automatically, but I won't look at them till I'm home again.This trip is only possible thanks to a stupefying (but very welcome!) last-minute deal on Travelocity. Highly recommended! Look for "Last Minute Deals." Have a good few days, everyone. I'll be eager to see what comments you've all made, when I get back. … [Read more...]


Anyone who knows this blog knows I want classical music to change. But sometimes I'm asked why. Some people, who love classical music the way it is, don't see why any change is needed. And for them, of course, it isn't. Others get bothered, or even angry, at the thought of change. Often they think this means selling out to the wider culture (the supposedly horrible wider culure), and they're sure we'll lose everything profound and important that classical music offers.Often I answer by saying that classical music has to change, that it'll die … [Read more...]

Trust the audience

In the discussion we/ve been having about silent listening -- also here, and such a good discussion; if you haven't read the comments, please do! -- there's of course some disagreement. Some people dearly love the way we mostly hear classical music now, without moving, and in silence. Others (including me) would like to explore changing that. Among those who don't want change, two thoughts often surface, quite apart from the understandable complaint that noise from the audience might make it hard to listen, and also might disturb the … [Read more...]