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Lou Harry's A&E

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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

Red/blue state music

January 5, 2010

In the Washington Post online today, music writer Anne Midgette opines on what she sees as a clear divide between red and blue states when it comes to symphonic music. She writes:

"The red states are those who love the classical tradition with a deep passion.... But their real love lies with the mainstream canon: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and all the byways and tributaries of that stream. ...What higher goal can one have than to devote the bulk of one’s listening time to the study of those great works?"

She continues: "The blue states love classical music no less. But they worry that it’s dying out because it is so entrenched in the past... The blue states want to encourage...new growth, and ideally to see it better incorporated into the mainstream classical tradition....They react with knee-jerk horror to programs that don’t include a contemporary work.... They also feel, quite honestly, that what’s being done in new music is more vital and alive than a constant diet of works one and two and three centuries old, wonderful as those pieces are."

I encourage you to read her complete story here.

Is this too simplistic? Does the overwhelming majority of symphonic music attendees want the classical classics with only a small percentage receptive to new work? If so, is that a problem with the audience or with the music itself? 

Further, where do you see the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and its programming? More importantly, perhaps, where do you want to see the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and its programs?

With a full-season to schedule (including Symphony on the Prairie), is there room to be both a red and blue orchestra?

And do you feel the same way about smaller, regional groups such as the Carmel Symphony Orchestra?

I know that's a lot of questions. Pick one and let me know your thoughts.

 

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