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Composers: Where is classical music going?

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Where is classical music going?


by Silvia Francesca Maglione


In the past decades, the age of classical music’s average audience has slowly and irreversibly increased. We may distinguish between several groups of classical music audiences: from people who’ve made music part of their own careers, to simple amateurs, to music scholars, to sporadic listeners.

It has been observed that the average age of this audience is increasing, without a consistent renovation of people’s (under 45 years of age) interest. So is classical music undergoing a ‘crisis’? Certainly going to the opera is not as fashionable as attending rock concerts, but it is also true that conservatories have never been as full, and that classical music nowadays is found in small amounts, everywhere. It’s found in TV commercials that try to emphasize, through ‘evergreen’ music, characteristics of a certain product. In cartoons and movies, classical music is also greatly played, as well as in phone lines for background stand-by.
Most classical music enthusiasts are reluctant in going to formal music concerts, because, as proven by recent polls, they find it excessively long, formal and too much of a commitment.

This phenomenon occurring in the classical music world does not stand alone in our well-developed western society; a decrease of people (thus increase of the average age of the participants) attending Sunday mass has also been observed. In the XXI century
our society does not value formal congregations as it did a century ago.
The spread of classical music is undertaking the road of globalization, thus forming a remarkable difference between the nowadays’ general knowledge of a musical style, and the one (much higher) of only 20 years ago.

This may be considered as a crisis as much as ‘progress’...


The views and opinions in this blog post are those of its author.

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User comments:

The fact that children are able to differentiate between Bach and Haendel is truly noteworthy. Most probably it's an institutional initiative. It's very good news. Of course this helps keeping always a fervent interest in classical music, starting from the very young. Thank you! Silvia

   Posted by Sylvia on August 1st, 2006 @ 7:07 pm GMT



Nice article as always Silvia. I can attest that that is a typical European issue (or, at least, of certain European countries). In most part of the western world (like in the US) classical instruments, such as the violin and the cello, as well classicla music, are taught at the elementary schools. Personally I had the chance to talk about the differences between Bach and Handel with a group of children (around 8-9 years old) who merely were attending a normal public elementary school in south California. For sure in many countries music must be included in the public instructional program in order to have in the future a conspicuous cultured and classical music aware public. Current media, of course, don't help. Thank you again. Fabrizio

   Posted by fabrizio on July 20th, 2006 @ 7:38 pm GMT




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