All We Really Need To Know Is On the Internet

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Need answers? Ask the Internet

Well, ok, not everything we need to know is available via that nifty chord in the wall, but this morning my blog and ArtsJournal.com reading made me wonder. To start, I was led to this Cassandra of a statement on America’s love affair with the strip mall, which got me thinking about my old hometown in Ohio and the general Wal-Mart-ing and Clear Channel-ing of American culture that accompanies such commercial changes in a city or town. What can we, the new music community, do to stop the beast? I, for one, don’t want to play distressed damsel and wait in the tower—though, as a writer, it will also be a sharp uphill trudge, as the outlets that have traditionally made the case for alternative art and politics are deep into similar battles of their own.

When it comes to orchestras, Mike Greenberg in San Antonio suggests that what we do, and the importance of why we do it, is so self-evident to us that we have a hard time making a case for it to the 99 percent of the country standing outside the concert hall. These folks aren’t even occasionally glancing in through the window. Greg Sandow offers a few pointers for those who want to try and do a better job of pushing the field in a new direction.

Getting attention, if you haven’t had drastic plastic surgery or done something stupid on tape, is hard in America. There have been lots of gimmicks suggested in our own and in other fields to help overcome this predicament. Some of us have tried things like this, and we might try something like this, but if getting people in the door is our aim, we probably want to think carefully before trying this in order to balance the books.

Clearly, some creativity is needed, and quickly. Sure, we’re a minority up against stereotypes, so maybe we need to gather a group of composers and performers and start cultural dialogue on par with this Swedish library. Who better to make the case than us? There’s no time to waste, unless you’re perfectly comfortable leaving your neighbors alone in their houses with nothing but endless recasts of Law & Order and CSI lighting their faces.

4 thoughts on “All We Really Need To Know Is On the Internet

  1. Garth Trinkl

    What can we, the new music community, do to stop the beast?

    — Molly Sheridan

    We think we’re art, we think we’re thoughtful, we think we’re serious, we think we represent some kind of pinnacle of thought and reflection.

    — Greg Sandow

    umm… and what pieces by American composers are you, Frank, Randy, and Greg proposing that American orchestras especially — and immediately — program to address these problems? I recall that Mr Sandow, for example, did not even care whether audiences read, and listened for, the words and meanings of his now beloved Henryck Gorecki’s Symphony #3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). To him earlier, this best-selling, almost hour long, piece was only a succession of pleasurable sounds.

    In my opinion — and granted that they should be programming much more new American orchestral music — I think that most American orchestral conductors, administrators, and advisors have a much better grasp of what new music is important than you all do.

    [I commented on the very perceptive essays by Mssrs Swed and Kozinn in my blog yesterday.]

    Renaissance Research blog

    Reply
  2. JohnClare

    Firstly, thanks for the “ask the internet” picture, I almost spilled coffee laughing so hard this morning.

    It’s true for me in a sense…I go to the web for news, research, et al…but also everything I’ve learned about html is from the internet, what can I say, I’m a geek, and since I’m in public radio, a poor geek! Classically Hip – my website

    Secondly, we should give into the mass marketing, urban sprawl and the end of the world/culture. Why not a strip mall of classical music? Violins 4 Less, Everything’s TwelveTone, Coffee+Tea+Schoenberg, and WaldsteinMart…I think the pro-sports should affect concerts – with referees on hand to officiate performances – when’s the last time you wanted a violist thrown out on a foul – or a conductor for a technical? Cheering for a passage like a goal scored…but more importantly, what about a classical music video game? I think some classical violence with Carlo Gesauldo and his music – imagine a game that kids could kill their wife’s lover and compose madrigals!

    Reply
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  4. Garth Trinkl

    Perhaps NewMusicBox could compile a comprehensive list of “pointers” for “those who want to try and do a better job of pushing the American orchestral field in a new direction”. Greg Sandow is not the only writer on the scene offering such pointers. In fact, Mr Sandow has been a consultant to the N.E.A. and the American orchestral field over the same twenty-year period in which U.S. orchestral attendance has been declining. I believe that NewMusicBox should spotlight the ideas and pointers of stronger and newer consultants to the American orchestral field.

    Renaissance Research blog

    Reply

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