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Classical 101

Programming Classical Music for a New Audience, Pt. 2

Greg Sandow is a music writer and critic who, in a recent series of blogs, has made the assertion that attracting a new audience to classical music requires writing music to reflect our times.  In this writer's opinion, Michael Daugherty is a prime example of just that...a composer who reflects the age in which he lives.

For those who grew up in the mid to late 2oth century, Michael Daugherty's music strikes a familiar chord, with titles such as Motown Metal, I Loved Lucy, UFO, and Le Tombeau de Liberace, just to name a few.

The video above of the 1st movement of Daugherty's 2003 work Fire and Blood, is a prime example of a composer who sees music in the world around him and communicates it well the his audience.  As you watch the performance, you'll have the chance to see the murals on which the music is based. On the other side of the coin, according to Mr. Sandow, is Pierre Boulez, whom he calls "a poster child for a problem classical music has — some of its most respected living composers don’t have much connection to the culture of our time." Read Boulez and Godard (Greg Sandow)

When Choirboys grow up

Well documented are the travails of some of our most-loved composers upon reaching puberty.  Haydn was kicked out of the St. Stephen's Cathedral choir in Vienna and wound up cobbling together a career for a number of years to put food on his table.  J.S. Bach turned to instrumental music (violin, then organ) after his voice changed. One group of young men decided they were not yet ready to stop singing together when their days in St Thomas's Boy's Choir in Leipzig were over. Read Amarcord: When Choirboys Grow Up (Limelight Magazine)

Gustavo Dudamel Says Music-Making Has a Huge Impact Upon Children's Lives

As you listen to your youngster saw away on a violin, squeak through the opening pages of a clarinet practice book, or find a beat on anything which resembles a drum, just remember it's good for them and their community, both now and down the road. L.A Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who came up through the program El Sistema, says even...

 "children from the poorest backgrounds are attracted to the discipline of playing an instrument and use it to infuse pride in their families and communities."

Dudamel spoke with writer and critic Norman Lebrecht.  For a limited time, you can hear the  conversation here. Read Gustavo Dudamel Challenges Two Media "Truths" (Arts Journal)