Monday, October 15, 2007

Post-Classical Symposium

DePauw University's School of Music will be hosting a symposium on Post-Classical music education next month (November 30-December 1). Members of ensemble-in-residence eighth blackbird will be involved, along with Joseph Horowitz and Greg Sandow. Symposium organizer Eric Edberg has blogged about the symposium, though unfortunately the blog he created for the symposium seems to be offline. But I thought I'd mention the symposium now because Stephen Brookes has written an article about Horowitz's Post-Classical Ensemble in the Washington Post, thoughtfully reproduced on his own blog. The idea of re-energizing concerts is good, but it must take into account the fact that many classical music lovers like the ritualized atmosphere of the average concert, with prescribed costumes and/or behavior. And that there is nothing wrong with that attitude. The difficulty comes in balancing the desires of the "old" audience with the "new" audience, as is shown in Eric's own experiment with a post-classical concert environment (read the comments). I think Horowitz's programming ideas are very interesting and seem to be successful, as is the Bang-on-a-Can model, and multitudes of other ideas. Alex Ross' latest New Yorker article talks about how the internet has been used in a wide variety of ways to promote music (sadly he doesn't give me any link-love). Much like the Long Tail concept in music publishing, I think many musical ensembles can adapt to the Long Tail concept by aiming for niche audiences. Not all ensembles need to do the same thing, there is no one magic pill that will work for all audiences. That is the frustration I get reading some of the polemics by Norman Lebrecht and Greg Sandow, that they portray an idea that there is one concept of "classical" that has died or is dying, and only they can save it. This is probably unfair, but it is still the impression I get. So, what are your thoughts on Post-Classical music composition/programming/education/etc?


Chris Foley said...

You should take a look at the Canadian Music Centre's New Music in New Places program, which seeks to re-energize the recital form by bringing "Canadian contemporary music out of the concert halls and into the lives of Canadians". Here is a url with some interesting upcoming concerts in the 2007 New Music in New Places festival:

Best of luck with the symposium!

Eric Edberg said...

Maybe the symposium blog was down temporarily--the DePauw servers have been finicky in recent days.

The URL is

and it's working at least right now!

I found it interesting (and a delightful coincidence) that the piece you site quotes both Horowitz and Sandow, whom we are bringing together in the symposium.