Two paths

change blog

Classical music is changing quite a bit. And in fact I've made a list of many innovations -- some not well known at all -- for my Juilliard course on the future of classical music. But here's a thought about the changes. They happen, I've been thinking, for two reasons. The obvious reason is that classical music is in crisis, and people worry about its future. And especially about whether, in the future, there will be any audience. So changes get made, in an attempt to make classical music more accessible, more interesting to people in our … [Read more...]

There will be summer in Colorado

From John P, in a comment he posted here: I’ve learned from a post on our “Save the Colorado Symphony Web Site” that summer concerts ARE scheduled. Why they weren’t announced, or even that the concerts would take place, weren’t announced, I don’t know. But according to a member of the orchestra, summer concerts ARE on the schedule. I think this refers to the "Save the Colorado Symphony" Facebook page, where someone from the orchestra posted a rather annoyed comment, saying that summer concerts in fact were going to be part of the 2012-13 … [Read more...]

Colorado footnotes, and advice

business mobel blog

First an apology. In my first recent post about the Colorado Symphony, I mangled the link to my January post on that orchestra. Which you can find here. And now a clarification, in case it's needed. I didn't slam the Colorado Symphony, in my last post, because they're high on any agenda I might have. They aren't. But if you read what I posted last January, you'll see that I was hopeful about the new direction they'd announced, both because they boldly stated what their problems were, and because they proposed some major changes. I hoped … [Read more...]

Colorado problem

businessplan blog

Following up on my last post, about Colorado Symphony's business plan… Yes, it's bold about the problem they're having. They're not taking in enough money. And that's because interest in classical music has fallen off, so that now the number of people who care about them is too small to give them the support they need. But now comes the part I'm surprised about. One big part of their plan to make themselves more viable is to get more connected to their community. And they want to do that by giving more diverse performances, which means … [Read more...]

Colorado Bold

blog colo 2

A while ago I blogged about the Colorado Symphony, and its bold plan to remake itself. It had to remake itself because it was running out of money, and to describe the bold plan, the Denver Post used these words: [T]he CSO plans to undergo nothing less than a complete culture change that rejects music-making offered with "little thought as to whether it truly was of interest and relevancy to a large part of the community" and plays up relaxed, consumer-friendly performances that meet audiences on their own terms and in their own towns. I … [Read more...]

Frightened by storms

storm blog

In my post on the U of Maryland symphonic performance I went to, I talked about the Pastoral Symphony, and how one problem I'd long had with the final movement came from its narrative. There's been storm. Countryfolk were frightened. Now they're thankful -- for 10 minutes of music -- because the storm has passed. How can a storm be so frightening? We might say (as the program notes for the Maryland concert did) that the movement really deals with something larger, rejoicing after any great trouble has passed. And the structure of the … [Read more...]

The old days

The restaurant workers are transfixed

There's a moment from a 1950 Italian film -- Mad About Opera -- that's a touching tribute to how popular, how deeply loved classical music used to be. Or, if you like, how deeply loved opera was in Italian communities, but that's just a subset of the overall popularity. And certainly isn't something you'd see now, even in Italy. The scene is London, in a restaurant owned by an Italian. A lively (to say the least) argument is going on about a plan a young guy has. And then someone plays a Gigli record, and conversation stops. A young woman … [Read more...]

Wonderful musicmaking at UMD

The Pastoral Symphony was the highlight of the program

Sometimes exasperated commenters say they can't believe I love classical music. This post -- about some fine student musicmaking and the delights of Beethoven -- should be an antidote.  My last post was about terrific things at the University of Maryland, creative hard work done to attract a younger, livelier audience to concerts by the student orchestra. It's worth repeating what they did. The strategy, as I'd summarize it -- find the places where orchestral players most naturally meet other students. In their dorms (fraternities and … [Read more...]

Maryland adventure

John Devlin spearheaded the search for a larger audience

Here's another example of classical music entrepreneurship. Plus some work I did, that now is showing some results. I was delighted when I went to hear the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra on Friday, and found a larger, younger, and more lively audience than I'd ever seen at these concerts. The concert also was dramatically good (speaking musically, now), way beyond what anyone would normally expect of a student orchestra. More on that in another post  And of course I was curious to know how this audience had gotten there. When I … [Read more...]

Respecting the culture

lil kim blog

I already said much of what follows, in my post about Alec Baldwin's favorite records. But it needs saying again. It's crucial for classical music's future. Remember the commandment: Respect the culture we find outside classical music. So let's take another look at what that culture is. I was driving the other day, and listening to an NPR show about American vice-presidents, a subject it's easy to have fun with. So when the host mentioned George Clinton -- veep during Jefferson's second term -- all at once we heard music from George Clinton … [Read more...]