It’s hard for me to go to the annual Bang on a Can marathon, as I did yesterday, and not get impatient with the classical music world.
We talk and talk,.and talk and talk, about finding a new young audience, and there — at the marathon, in the Winter Garden in downtown New York, a big and friendly space where palm trees grow (tall ones) — was that very audience, more than a thousand people, sitting happily, listening to new music of many kinds. including, while I was there, one 40-minute piece (Fausto Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip) that would have driven a mainstream classical crowd screaming into the street. They would have called it horrible noise. But these people roared for it. I liked it, too.
So let’s just admit it. The new audience is there. And — without disparaging the Tchaikovsky-loving people that the classical world mostly caters to — it’s time for even big mainstream classical music institutions to learn who this new audience is, why they mostly won’t come to Tchaikovsky concerts, and what a fabulous shot in the artistic arm it would be for the classical music world to start doing concerts for them.