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Catwalk news: What orchestral musicians will be wearing next year

Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony have teamed up with the 2013 Parsons Festival and the Mannes New School of Music to come up with a more trendy outfit for stage wear. So far, the only image they have come up with is what lunatic asylum inmates were wearing circa 1913, but there’s a smug college video to watch and an unutterably verbose press release.¬†Sample quote:¬†The BSO and The New School share a spirit of innovation. It was great fun to unleash the students’ and musicians’ creativity to produce functional and fashionable performance attire. -Marin Alsop

orchestral garments

orchestral garments2

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  1. Good grief. The death knell for classical music has finally sounded.

  2. FYI – Here’s a little more on their project, including a report on the runway show Sunday night:

  3. Curious lack of mention of the fact that the piano in the photos is clothed as well!

  4. John Porter says:

    The photos here are part of the design process, not the finished product. If you go to the WQXR website which Brian linked above you can see the actual concert attire, which looks very nice.

    • Tomas2 says:

      You would think people devoted to one art form would be less dismissive and disrespectful of the creative process of another art form.

  5. Alison Fujito says:

    On the video, the student says that they are collaborating with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra–but the photo shown is of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

  6. John Porter says:

    “Smug video”? I give them credit for trying something new. I watched most of it and thought the solo piano piece with video was terrific. The students all played well and they all seemed to be having a good time. More power to them!

    The only thing that was surprising to me was the involvement of Mannes. I haven’t heard much about them for a long time and didn’t think this sort of project was their thing. They have some fine theory teachers there and I thought they were mostly about Schenker, Schacter, and those guys.

  7. Is that an outfit or a dust cover?!

  8. Why insist upon changing the dress–I don’t buy my ticket to go watch clothes being displayed unless it’s for a fashion show. If we keep trying to be everything to all people, then we will surely ensure the demise of the art form. My opinion only.

  9. Yet another reason to despise the US classical music scene.

    Take something so utterly trivial and turn into the….FUTURE OF…..

  10. Spencer Snyder says:

    I went to the New School and worked closely with parsons students during my 3 years there. Most Parsons students are either arrogant rich-kids or pretentious, avant-garde snobs, all of whom have been indoctrinated by the Brooklyn hipster movement. I met not a one Parsons student who could have distinguished between Beethoven and Bach but certainly could profess their dubious love for Cage or Zorn. Of course when asked specifically what Cage or Zorn, typically 4:33 was the answer. They also have a strong penchant for “found sounds”. FOUND SOUNDS ARE NOT MUSIC. They are in no position to participate or contribute to an art they are not part of nor understand. If I had to guess, these costumes were more likely conceived to the “music” of Katy Perry or LMFAO than to the music which would be performed when wearing this god awful asylum garb.

  11. Tomas2 says:

    Marin Alsop is always talking about breaking down barriers for more people to enjoy classical music. Perhaps people who were raised on classical music and are already dedicated concert goers don’t realize this, but a LOT of people avoid the symphony because they a) don’t know what THEY are supposed to wear and b) find the dress of the musicians extremely stuffy and off-putting. Why should I watch a bunch of stiff people in tail coats sit on stage for 2 hours? People who are not “sophisticated” but might sincerely want to go to the symphony really are stopped by stuff like this. If you’re not already passionately in love with something, you aren’t going to give it a try if you feel unwelcome. It’s similar to the feeling of embarrassment that some get when they clap after a movement instead of waiting til the end like they’re “supposed” to.

    Anyway, this is just to say please don’t dismiss this as an irrelevant or stupid or destructive project, because it actually does relate to a significant topic in terms of getting people to come to a concert hall. It’s also a cute way to get people to pay attention to what’s happening at the symphony. Being emotionally at one with Mahler is not the only reason the masses attend concerts.

  12. Tomas2 says:

    Also, Norman, as a writer I am not sure why you find the press release “unutterably verbose.” In your example, I see two pretty straightforward sentences with clear subjects, verbs, and objects. The quote communicates a very simple idea and uses no $10 words or complex grammatical constructions. You should know from verbose, given the amount of impenetrable essays and criticism you must read on a weekly basis!

    Perhaps it’s just that you so dislike the project, even the press release is unworthy of consideration?

  13. Spencer Snyder says:

    Grammatical grievances tend not to be made until one has exhausted the rest of their case.

    Also, I think lack of funding for the arts and thus peoples unawareness prove a much bigger obstacle than simply not knowing what to wear. I imagine a man in front of a mirror holding a suit in one hand and a hawaiian shirt in the other, alternating which one he holds to his body. Checking them out, examining which seems more appropriate. Wouldn’t want to embarrase himself should he run into Karajan’s ghost after the concert. Eventually he just gets frustrated, throws both outfits to the ground and exclaims, “FORGET IT, I’m puttin’ on sweatpants and goin’ to the movies!”

    • Ok that’s cool, it’s a big topic in the field but not for you, so don’t worry about it.

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