This post is brought to you…

…by the people at MEGABUS (or however you spell it…I like the all-caps, emphasizing the MEGA aspect of MEGABUS).  I was editing my score for TWEAK for a while, but I can’t seem to focus on it without getting carsick.  Don’t ask me how I can type and watch “Up” on Netflix, but I can!

So, in line for said MEGABUS, I was behind what appear to be two vocal students at NYU.  I say this because A) they were talking about singing, and B) they were clad in tight pants, those ridiculous hipster shoes that kind of look like ankle boots except for the fact that they lace up, and both were wearing bandanas as neckerchiefs.  I looked at them and was reminded about how my friend Imani talked about what NYU students looked like, and voila!  I could be wrong, though.  They very well may be Columbia students; they dress about the same.

Getting further towards the point: one of these hipsters had an old-model camera on her, and was proudly displaying it to the other.

I often wonder about whether hipsters can hurt or harm classical music.  I was in New York the other day with the Stony Brook Contemporary Players, working sound for their annual Premieres concert, and outside Merkin Hall was a poster for the Kaufman Center’s New Sounds Live series.  The poster is clearly meant to attract the downtown crowd, with some cool photos of very cool acts (including So Percussion, who I love!), as well as a giant laughing guy with a beard, glasses, and a Where’s Waldo-esque hat.

I think that classical music’s aim at capturing new audiences is absolutely admirable and absolutely necessary.  I just wonder whether or not hipsters should be who we aim for.  Are these people capable of liking classical music other than as a fetish item?  Is what I do no better than the old camera that belongs to the hipster now sitting next to me very obviously going over French vocabulary?

Even more so, is there a correct way for people to appreciate classical music, or should we leave how we’re received entirely up to the audience?

Granted, if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll tell you that classical music’s future resides in Williamsburg with all of the aging 30-something hipsters looking to find something “appropriately artsy” to go with their baby strollers and organic food.

I don’t want my music to be a fetish item or a fad.  Do you think that this audience can be counted on to allow classical music to endure?

  2 comments for “This post is brought to you…

  1. Lydia
    11/27/2010 at 12:55 pm

    Jason – People are more complex than you portray them. Every human has a deep, rich, complex inner life. The intrinsic value of music means that it will exist with or without marketing. The ubiquitous appeal and relevance of classical music should be marketed to all audiences. IMHO.

  2. 11/27/2010 at 1:17 pm

    Lyd — you’re right, of course, about people’s uniqueness and complexity. Still, those unique people tend to be able to be grouped by common ideologies, and marketing to these ideologies can really make the difference as to how classical music is received by an audience (I’m talking about getting people in the seats; I think that once you sit down and listen, the music’s value is self-evident).

    I do like the idea of classical music being a great cultural equalizer; I wonder why that hasn’t been utilized before.

Comments are closed.