Today I fly to the Netherlands, returning Wednesday night. I’ll be giving a co-keynote speech, at a gathering of Dutch classical music people, focusing on Dutch orchestras. My co-speaker is Magnus Still, a very savvy Swedish marketer, now living in Finland. He and I should make a fine one-two punch, with me giving the larger picture of why classical music is having trouble, and him giving some practical advice about what to do right now.
After that, we’ll both take part in a debate for a smaller audience, again focused on Dutch orchestras. I really relish this part of the program. It’s a chance to talk in more detail, to find out what my Dutch audience thinks, to be challenged, and to challenge back. An experience worth its weight in gold, especially since I’m doing more work out in the field these days, trying to put some of my ideas into practice. I’ll report on the latest about that very soon.
While I’m in Amsterdam, I’ll meet with the director of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, one of the leading Dutch music schools, which I notice has a pop music program, along with jazz and classical music. We don’t find that at American conservatories, though many large universities teach it. (I mean teaching people to sing, play, write, and record pop music, as opposed to studying it academically.)
I’ll also take a side trip to The Hague, to meet with the people who run the Koninklijk Conservatorium (the Royal Conservatory) there.
Should be a fascinating trip. I expect to learn a lot. And of course I hope I’m helpful. One thing seems clear — Dutch orchestras have many of the same concerns American orchestras have. I’m often asked if classical music faces the same problems in Europe as it does in the US, with the people asking me sometimes hoping that Europe, with its long and deep tradition as the home of classical music, would have less trouble than we do.
But that doesn’t seem to be so. The same cultural changes — and, increasingly, financial problems — that affect us affect them, too.
I might make some posts here while I’m gone, but I may not be able to look at comments, much as I love reading them. I’ll report on my trip, of course, when I’m back.