I find myself thinking a lot about the state of classical music, how it is affected by today’s culture and society.
I recently read an article in the new york times about Gustavo Dudamel, LA Philharmonic current maestro, and his more than iconic appearance. The article continued on(inadvertently, after multiple searches on NYtimes, I can no longer find the article, sad) to discuss the attributes of Dudamel: hair, youthful good looks, latino background, etc. Particularly Dudamel’s publicity in coming to the his new home with the LA Philharmonic and how much media publicity followed him on his journey. Much mindless fotter later, the article goes on to ask a series of questions such as, “Is dudamel’s character really what we need to save classical music?” A string of questions and comments surfaced like this – and, you know, it sort of irritated me.
Times change, concepts of fashion, quality, stance, merit, has changed since the early 1940’s. Look around, men are slowly beginning to learn how to wear jeans that fit them (or even accentuate ones body, rather then the later) and girls (though not always on the side of caution or taste) are finding themselves more and more liberated with their options.
Classical music has a sort of taboo air to the uninformed younger generation. It’s stuffy, old, not hip or cool.
We don’t do much to help curve that idea. With our own stuffy and conceded concepts of music – being up tight about, oh, well everything. But, maybe what Dudamel is doing is fantastic and a perfect step in the right direction – interesting the youth. He’s hot, let’s face it – he’s on fire.
We all have grasp this same concept as well, especially the younger, up and coming classical musicians. How can we interest our younger musicians? Get them interested…influence them, show them why we love what we love – the beauty and purity of music.
We need these type of artists, the performers that go outside of the preconceived ideas of classical music artists.
Clothes and pop-culture both change, an the icons right along with it. What about classical music? A tradition set many centuries ago, wafting its air of arrogance to the younger crowd.
Shouldn’t it’s icons change to sustain its popularity as well? To influence and inspire creativity?
I could source many article on why the instrumental genre shouldn’t be conceived as popular – Stravinsky, Schoenberg, to name a few. But, lets be real – an unpopular genre of music gains no fiscal security. Musicians – us – we won’t and can’t sustain a life in such a career for much longer with out a change. Our survival, classical music’s survival, needs it.
Classical music demands a new “melange” of icons, ones that are trendy, “hip”, and can communicate on the same levels with the youth of today and tomorrow.
Is Dudamel what we need to save classical music? I think it’s a damn good start. We’ve got to change our outlook and foster a new hybrid concept of the performer.
That – my friends – was very much vomitous of the mouth.