Writings

 

I’ve spent many years researching chamber music in alternative venues and speaking to leaders in the field. I have 123 pages of amazing information. If you want to read it, you can download it here:


CHAMBER MUSIC IN ALTERNATIVE VENUES IN THE 21ST CENTURY U.S.:

INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF NEW VENUES ON CONCERT CULTURE, PROGRAMMING AND THE BUSINESS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC



  If you want the condensed version, here it is:

Want to see the future of classical music? Go to a bar.

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Classical musicians in their 20s and 30s are inventing new styles of classical music, changing what it means to go to a classical concert and tailoring the experience to their generation of listeners, all inside your neighborhood dive bar.


Classical music isn't a style. Spanning hundreds of years and countless styles along the way, it's a living entity and the next wave of music is coming out of bars.  That's where young composers and musicians can try new music, play with colleagues, put on their own shows, get immediate audience reaction and mingle with musicians playing other styles of music. It's no surprise that what is emerging from these places is a crazy, wonderful mash-up of classical, jazz, indie-rock, hip-hop, world and more. Eclectic tastes and an openness to popular music lead the day.  Go check out Project Trio, the Musical Art Quintet, Helix Collective and Missy Mazzoli for a taste of where classical music is headed. 


This generation has learned if you want to save classical music that you have to quit trying to educate the masses and start entertaining them. Most classical bar performers ditch both the lengthy, academic discussions and the cold shoulder treatment the audience receives at most classical concerts. Performers dress like they live in 2013, not 1813. They tell jokes and stories, introduce the band and hang out in the bar after the gig. As a bonus, they find out what people loved and what can be skipped the next time around. They refine their act based on audience reaction and post-concert chats at the bar. A show people pay to come see had better be jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, unbelievably cool or the most fun they've had in ages. If not, you end up with an empty bar. 


How do these enterprising, young, do-it-yourself musicians fill venues without the help of a team of arts administrators and managers?  They don the mantle of marketing moguls. They do all sorts of things to guarantee a good crowd. They start up weekly residencies so word grows over time. They give performances with local rock bands to share audiences. They amass huge social media followings and befriend like-minded journalists. Without PR or marketing backgrounds, musicians are mastering the ropes of getting people out to their gigs.


And who's coming to these gigs, anyway?  Well, the majority of audience at these shows are in their 20s and 30s. That's right. The coveted 20-40 range that classical music has been losing for thirty years. They're showing up to these shows. Especially when the performers are their own age and doing something original. If you build it, they will come.