Is Classical Music Relevant?
One of the pleasures of life is hearing beautiful music performed in a beautiful space. In Columbus, that might be one of our restored theatres, the Ohio or the Southern. Maybe you attended one of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra’s outdoor performances last summer at the Franklin Park Conservatory.
Beyond the beauty of the music or the space, what makes music relevant for you?
That was a question being asked by educators and students at the New England Conservatory (NEC) when they decided to recreate a performance of one of John Cage’s more thought-provoking pieces…58.
58 is a piece John Cage wrote in the last year of his life. He had visited the New England Conservatory of Music for a festival of his music the previous year. When the conservatory decided to celebrate the Cage Bicentennial in 2012, 58, written for performance by musicians positioned beneath the arches in the Landhaushof of Graz, Austria…one musician under each of the 58 arches. It was performed in a setting as close to the original as could be found in Boston – the Christian Science Plaza, designed by I. M. Pei. Take a look in the video above.
NEC President Tony Woodcock wrote that “finances represent a huge consideration but could they be just a symptom with the foundational cause being something far more serious? I would suggest the source is diminished legitimacy and relevance in a world that has changed more in the last 30 years than at any time in the last 5,000.”
Mr. Woodcock suggests a complete changing of the music-presentation model is necessary – musicians, management, and board need to be equal partners in deciding what an organization presents to the community. He asks “Is this democratizing the art form and taking it away from its elitist roots? Yes, probably.
However such a reimagining is not a political act. Rather, it is the logical outcome of recognizing that our world has changed, and there are other needs and expectations to be met in a much wider community.”
Let me know what you think. You might just have the idea that breathes new life into the the way music and musicians relate with our community.
Read Why music is important: The orchestra crisis (Huffington Post)