Actively finding an audience

megaphone blog

Here I'll expand just a little on the second of my four keys to the future (which I offered in an earlier post): "Work actively to find your [new] audience." What this means, specifically, is that it's not enough to do what was done in the 20th century, to advertise your concerts, or put up flyers and posters. Or even to jump into our new century, and send out email or put videos on YouTube. Or start a blog, make a website, or create a Facebook page. The new audience we want to find isn't a classical music audience. The people in it … [Read more...]

The culture gap (2)

no nonsense blog

Too many people in classical music talk like this. I'm thinking of Daniel Barenboim, quoted about his latest recording of Beethoven's symphonies, a project he and his people call "Beethoven for All": Many people feel or think, without really knowing, that music is somehow elitist – that it is for people who can afford the money and the time; it’s something that has only to do with leisure. But music is not elitist. On the contrary. Music is not only not elitist, music is universal. Even though all the great composers of the past are … [Read more...]

About my four keys — the culture gap

dylan blog

Here's the start of Jon Pareles's review of Bob Dylan's terrific new album, from the New York Times: Bob Dylan’s voice isn’t getting any prettier. At 71, on his 35th studio album, “Tempest” — and a full 50 years after he released his debut album in 1962 — Mr. Dylan sings in a wheezy rasp that proudly scrapes up against its own flaws. That voice can be almost avuncular, the wry cackle of a codger who still has an eye for the ladies. But it can also be calmly implacable or utterly bleak, and it’s completely believable when Mr. Dylan sings, in … [Read more...]

Helping you

helping-hand blog

I'm happy — thrilled — with how much people like my four keys to the future. Aka the four things we in classical music must do, if we want to build a new audience, and help classical music survive. And of course (as commenters have eagerly noted) there's lots more to say about how we do these four things. I'll be saying much of it in weeks to come. The first two points, especially, can be expanded. The first one — understand and respect the culture outside classical music. — is harder than it seems. One problem for the classical music … [Read more...]

What we have to do

lonely violinst blog

Now it's time to return to the main business of this blog, which of course is the future of classical music. And also to return to something I stressed before my vacation, which is that the main business — the highest priority, the central focus — of people in our field should be to find a new audience. This ought to be a no-brainer. As things are now, the old audience isn't being replaced, or at least not in anywhere near large enough numbers to sustain classical music institutions at the size they are now. Or to give smaller groups and … [Read more...]

100 Cage

cage variations iv blog

Years ago, a dear friend, a violist, gave two solo recitals, with the same program. One of the pieces was John Cage's Variations IV, in which the score is nothing but a sheet of plastic with some black dots on it. You're asked to draw a map of your performing space, overlay the plastic on it, and everywhere a dot falls, do something. [As we'll see, I didn't remember this correctly! I'm largely right, but got some details wrong.] Which makes this one of those Cage pieces -- the famous silent piece is the best known -- that many people still … [Read more...]


me and Rafa in Barbondale

I'm happy to be back from vacation, though I'll confess that I'm a little whiplashed by weather. Forget jet lag (I was in England). What really hit me, returning to my two US homes, was moving from wet fall weather in the UK, into humid hot summer -- with cicadas wheezing in the trees -- in Washington. And then into what feels like very early fall in Warwick, NY, with the air warm in the day and cool by night, and the leaves already turning, lying red on the ground. We were in England for three weeks, and our little Rafa, now 10 1/2 … [Read more...]