How we look from outside

Something I strongly believe — that if we want to help classical music survive, we have to look at our field from the outside. Which means knowing what kind of culture the people we want to attract already have. And knowing how we look to them.

I had a chance to do both these things, when I talked to a high school freshman from New York. What drew him to classical music was hiphop. He was reading about a hiphop song he liked, and discovered it was partly made from a sample of an Eric Satie piece. He learned about Satie, then went deeper into our repertoire.

Then he went to a NY Philharmonic concert, and was amazed (not happily) to see that its audience was almost completely white. Which is not what he saw in the city around him, or, I’m sure, at his school.

This should be a big lesson for us. People come to us from their culture, and might find us lacking in ways we didn’t know were so important. i’ve blogged about this, if you’d like to know more.