Keith’s previous post on the role of the classical musician in today’s society is something I have thought about quite a bit recently. The second chapter of Highbrow Lowbrow got me thinking about this even more. As a classical musician, I feel like I have a passion for a type of music that is going “out of style”. Other than fellow classical musicians, who else truly appreciates this art form, and is concerned about it’s future? Without “popular” status, why would society not question the need and importance of classical music?
When I go to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra, or any other performance in the classical genre, I feel as though the average age of the audience is quickly on the rise. Why is that? Who will fill these seats in Symphony Hall in the coming decades if the young audience is not there now? If there is no audience, how will classical music survive?
Non-musicians, when they think or are asked about classical music, often immediately think of “pops” music. The music played at a Pops concert is not the classical music I am passionate about. Non-musicians see a “symphony orchestra” on the stage and think it is “classical”. I tend to disagree. I feel like the integrity of classical music is weakened with these types of concerts. However, if Pops concerts are what will get a full audience, perhaps classical music needs these types of financial support to survive.
There is a serious need for classical music in today’s society, just like every other type of modern art. In order for classical music to survive, it needs to be appreciated by more than just the musicians that perform it. If our society is educated and exposed to this, classical music may have a significant future, but it is the job of every musician out there to make this happen.