A solution from Melissa Dunphy, which is cited on our "Solutions" page, but deserves to be read in full. Melissa sent it as a comment (thanks, Melissa):Not to toot my own horn (OK, I am tooting my own horn; we composers sometimes have to do whatever we can to get attention), but I wrote a political cantata that was performed in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival last year, received a fair bit of national press, including features in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.[Greg says: tooting horns is allowed. … [Read more...]

Performance reborn

A followup -- more constructive, maybe -- to my multicomment-inspiring post on the East Coast Chamber Orchestra. (And Janine Jansen.)Call this another in my "solutions" series. So let's say we agree that many classical performances need to be reinvigorated. Not because they're awful, not because they're not committed and vigorous, but because there's something somewhat impersonal about them. That would have many causes; the emphasis on precision, and the emphasis (in music schools) on playing in proper style (so that classical music becomes a … [Read more...]

Needing rebirth

This will be a hard post to write, and I hope it won't be a downer. But I heard two dismaying performances this week, and I want to understand what dismayed me. Both performances were by young musicians. One was Janine Jansen playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Concertgebuow Orchestra in Washington, and the other, also in Washington (and also at the Kennedy Center) was by the East Coast Chamber Orchestra. The chamber orchestra seemed in advance like a dream come true, for anyone who wants classical music to change. Young musicians, … [Read more...]

Solutions, continued

I'm going to need a new kind of title for these "solutions" posts.But first -- the "Solutions" blog page is now up, accessible in the "Resources" section of the blog, on the right. Or of course through the link in the last sentence. Many, many thanks to Douglas Laustsen, who was one of the people who volunteered to help with this, and who created the page and will maintain and update it. (And on the subject of volunteers. I'm developing a variety of projects, all connected with the subject of this blog, and I can always use help. Thanks to … [Read more...]

Snow day solutions

The big storm has hit New York. Juilliard closed for the day. My class is canceled. One great way to use the time I've just been given -- post more solutions! Here are some that came in as comments. I should also note that I've had some responses to my call for help, and that the blog sidebar on solutions is coming "with all deliberate speed" (to quote a famous line from the Supreme Court). Here are today's solutions. Note that I'm posting them simply in the order they came in. Thanks to all who sent them! From Paul Gambill, something he did … [Read more...]


I love where the solutions idea is taking us. And I'm serious about collecting the responses in a sidebar to the blog, in the "Resources" section on the right. But I'm a little overwhelmed by the work involved. No need to get into a list right now of my many projects, but I'm reaching the limit of what I can reasonably handle. Even though maintaining the "Solutions" page is nothing but simple grunt work. I just don't know if I have time for it.So I'd love to find a volunteer. Would someone like to help, collect the things for the page, maintain … [Read more...]


On Saturday afternoon I went to see the Met's streaming Simon Boccanegra in a multiplex in Rockaway, NJ. The audience was old -- dismayingly old. I know I've written quite a bit about the aging audience, but this time I was shocked. This wasn't an audience like the one that shows up in the Knight Foundation's survey of attendance at concerts by an assortment of orchestras -- where there's a mix of ages, even if more than 60% of the people are 55 and over. No, this audience, to judge from appearances, was almost entirely over 60. The theater the … [Read more...]

Solutions III

Here's another success story, about new ways to promote what otherwise was a standard (though evidently quite wonderful) classical performance. This was a semi-staged production of Gluck's opera Armide, done by Opera Lafayette in Washington and New York, and reviewed by my wife Anne Midgette in the Washington Post:Opera Lafayette celebrated its 15th anniversary on Monday night with a gesture that, before the fact, seemed almost quixotic. The company, which usually performs in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater -- seating about 500 -- … [Read more...]

Solutions II

I love the reactions to my "Solutions" post. Just as I'd hoped -- people posting comments, telling us about their own solutions, their own new ways of presenting classical music. In Britain, the Netherlands, and the US. Keep them coming!I'll try to feature as many as I can, not just in the sidebar I'll create, but on the blog. Unless/until there are too many, of course, in which case we'll have to figure out another way of getting them attention. Not that too many solutions would be a bad thing!So here's something from Matt Huber, who took my … [Read more...]


I think it's time to emphasize solutions on my blog. I've made so many criticisms of the classical music world -- justified criticisms, I don't hesitate to say. And I love the theoretical discussions we get into, which I'm often (but, wonderfully, not at all always) the one to start. But still it's time to move forward, which doesn't mean scrapping the critiques -- which are needed; how else will classical music institutions ever change? -- or the discussions. Alongside these things, though, we need solutions, things people are doing to change … [Read more...]

Chapter two riff

Follow this link to read my latest book riff, a long time coming. It covers chapter two of the book -- see the book outline -- titled "Dire Data." For a shorter version, go here.The book, of course, is Rebirth: The Future of Classical Music. There's now a sidebar on this site, off to the right, devoted to it. There you'll always be able to find all the book material I've made available. You can also go to it directly, by clicking here.The subject of the new riff -- and the correponding chapter in the book -- is the crisis in classical music, … [Read more...]