In Defense of Classical Music

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David Byrne’s article that we read for class Tuesday had an offhand remark that was rather negative towards classical music that I feel I need to address. He stated, “to build temples where only “our kind of people” can hear music (opera houses and symphony halls).” Nothing could be further from the truth. I worked for the (now defunct) Florida Philharmonic and saw firsthand the amount of time and money they dedicated to community outreach and introducing classical music to new people. For an example of just how much outreach orchestras do, check out the Cleveland Orchestra’s Education and Outreach page. Even if you don’t enjoy classical music, you have to admit that professional orchestras make more concerted efforts to get new people to listen to their genre than some guy with a guitar and a MySpace page.

For those of you who are interested in seeing how the web is changing the avant-garde classical music scene, check out HunterEwen.com. Hunter is a very talented composer who I met in college. His “Interactive Series” involves compositions that were created using user-generated web input in the form of an online marketplace, a flash introduction, and online registration forms.

1 Comment

  1. asokoloff

    February 14, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

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    Interesting point – I’d also point out that David Byrne’s own music (and Thom Yorke’s) also themselves have a certain snob appeal, although to a different kind of snob than typically associated with classical music.

    Classical music potshot aside though, I think he makes a great point about the experience of music having a social aspect to it, and inasmuch as this social aspect has a group identity component to it, there is a sense of excluding others as well.