Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why Classical Music Won't Die

The arts are having a hard time in this economy. Everyone is having a hard time in this economy, but the arts have been fighting for their right to party for even longer than this economy has been. I don't know when it started and I don't particularly care, but schools have for a very long time been faced with a choice between arts programs or sports programs and most of them have chosen sports over arts. This means an upcoming generation less exposed to the beauty of the arts. And all over the States, professional orchestras are folding and declaring bankruptcy under the financial strain of operating in this country. Others are cutting paychecks or rehearsals or seasons or benefits or players to save money and stay afloat. My own ensemble is many thousands of dollars in debt. And it sometimes seems that the classical arts are fighting a losing battle and we should probably go ahead and give up the ghost. But I don't think that time has yet come, and here are some reasons why.

1. The arts have been around, really since the beginning of civilization; that an economic meltdown could shut that down seems a little short-sighted.

2. Hearts, when exposed, are still moved -- across ages, across cultures, across socio-economic classes.

3. A creative generation, my generation, is rising up to start new groups, to restart old groups, and to take and redefine classical traditions.

4. Orchestras are starting to come around and see that this is a new time and they must operate with new tools ... they are Tweeting, touring, facebooking, making ticket deals, changing attendance rules (i.e. the Indianapolis Symphony allows you to bring your drinks into the conference hall; many orchestras now feature rush-hour concerts, designed and timed to be attended directly after work ... no special attire, just your presence), flash mobbing

In my mind's eye, and probably because I'm partial, the Indianapolis Symphony seems to be one of the few 52-week orchestras doing everything it can think of to catch up to the rest of the world, and I'm proud of them. And when I saw this video, that's when I knew that Classical Music won't die ... not in my lifetime at least. It will probably have to continue to change and adapt a bit, but it always has and I think it always will, I hope so anyway.

1 comment:

MamaB said...

I wish I was there!