Monday, July 25, 2005


National nature reserves. That’s where the world of performing arts is heading. And that’s not entirely bleak either – those predicting that classical music concerts will have to give way to popcorn theatres will at least be comforted that as in national parks, littering is still a big no-no. And somewhat poetic, considering that the string instruments came from trees, and the rest of the instruments… well, are made of the same material that they use to build the park fences.

Audience support for classical concerts is generally poor, unless you’re Joshua Bell or Hillary Hahn, and in those cases, yes, the music is superb, but you’ve got at least a coupla people there who aren’t there to listen, if you know what I mean. More international orchestras are moving into community programs to attract a public more in tune with MTV. But the challenges of selling a concert of relatively static musicians as compared to the calisthenics of a Green Day one remains.

Eventually, like general public education, the protection of culture cannot remain in private funding support, but with governments realizing that the performing arts are heritage, and that it takes a greater responsibility to help the public appreciate music which has lasted centuries, over the newest fad which will likely come and go (did you know the Backstreet Boys are still recording?). Trends suggest it's already on its way. Eventually real cultural centers, a combination of various branches of human knowledge and expression, including music, the visual arts, wine brewing, the active smaller-level recording industry, and debates on literature, will also provide the connection of shared knowledge directly to the public that universities generally cannot. And greater connections will be made between things like poetry and music, that will be regarded as serious and major areas of study.

And we’ll have achieved then, what the ancient Greeks did in their time. I just wonder whether we’ll have to wear togas.

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