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The end of classical music?


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This topic has already been discussed extensively: classical music is a thing of the past and is thus doomed to extinction. Don’t you see all those “white hairs” in concert halls?

Thanks to a post in muse affiliée, I’ve recently discovered an article by conductor Leon Bolstein, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra and of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Against all expectation, this article was published in the Wall Street Journal and confirmed what I was thinking: no, classical music isn’t dead, but quite the opposite, concerts are going well. The number of concerts has exponentially increased during the last forty years, the number of professional orchestras too. More and more young people learn to play an instrument. “An ageing public” you’d say? Classical music has never been a young people’s affair until now, and efforts made to rejuvenate the image of classical music and get new audience have just begun to bear fruit.

Would the sound reproduction be an impediment to the live concert? Would the multimedia change the culture consumer’s behavior by allowing him to do his own home-concert? Though conceivable, this trend won’t grow and won’t be harmful to the concert, but quite the opposite. No hi-fi system will replace the unique experience of the live performance. On the contrary, discs and mp3s can make a new audience go to concerts.

These days, live performance is going well, even if we’d have to find a more flexible concept of concert allowing an audience less accustomed to the concert ritual to swell the ranks of classical music lovers. Hard to please a potential audience without dissatisfying the existing one, but with time we will make it.

And now a question for you, dear readers: how should we improve classical music concerts?