Monday, March 27, 2006

Resuscitating Art Music

It's spring break and I'm spending it "in the Matrix" exploring the blogosphere, adding to my blogs with mania-like intensity, and catching up on reading I've been wanting to do. In the hopes of getting some constructive criticism and interaction for my improvisation book blog, I emailed everyone listed in the International Society for Improvised Music online directory. (Now there's a way to spend a Sunday afternoon!) And already it is starting to work--while no one has posted an online comment, I've received a number of interesting email messages.

In the midst of all this, I came across the article Resuscitating Art Music by John Steinmetz, a freelance bassonist in L.A. (at least when the article was written). It's fascinating, offering a rather different take on a subject being extensively addressed by Greg Sandow in his online book in progress. Very worthwhile reading.


Terry said...

Steinmetz mentions the Bernstein Young People's Concerts. I saw a few of them as a kidlet. Over 40 years later I still remember that. It's not so much the concerts, as the lack of anything like that since, that's staggering. What's going on? Do classicists think they don't need kids, or they'll come to it all themselves?

What I learned from the YPCs was not an understanding of classical music, but rather a hint that I could understand it. That it was something that was not so esoteric and complex that it was forever out of one's league. That it made sense and one's instincts about it, if informed enough, could be pretty much right. And that's enough to make a huge difference.

Eric Edberg said...

Greg Sandow is discussing a lot of this in his writing. Especially with the decline of music education in the schools, both general and instrumental, it is incredibly important that classical performers do every thing we can to show that classical music is exciting, moving, passionate, and RELEVANT to the human experience of today.

And not just relevant, but transformative and inspirational and healing.

But it certainly is ironic that the YPCs were a turn-off to the kids who had to sit quietly through the taping of them! I remember watching them on TV, being able to bounce around and talk to my parents about what I was seeing.