Let’s say we program something that we know will bring in a younger audience. And yes, they do show up. We know the work is somewhat weak, but hey, at least we brought in a younger crowd. And we love those younger faces because anyone over 50 is a) old 2) dead or Z) not worth anything aside from the wonderful monetary contributions they are more likely to give compared to this younger set. (Or is it “all of the above?”)

What I want to know is …

Will these younger folks come back for some of the great works? Will they recognize a difference? Or will we forever play lesser quality music because that’s what they want and we so passionately want these younger people to grace us with their presence?

Now mind you, I’m not referring to any particular concert, although one in particular made me think about this. (I did not attend the concert. I do not know if the work was as weak as all the reviews and blogs I’ve read state. So I won’t mention the piece here. It was only the thing that kicked this blog entry up is all.) I’m in the middle of Tosca (it’s a “great” btw) so I’m wasn’t able to attend the “jumping off point concert”. But I’m just pondering. With all the ageism stuff I’m hearing, reading and blogging about, and with all the “it’s all dead” news we read I am forced to think about things like this more and more.

Are we doing younger people a disservice by luring them with the mediocre or, sometimes, just plain bad?



  1. Yes, the work was THAT weak, but that’s not my objection. There are plenty of premieres of more serious music that aren’t any better, so it’s always something of a roll of the dice. I just wish the rest of the program had been more interesting so the R.W. fans would be coming back.

  2. And though I’m sure many people would disagree, I’d put “Tosca” in the mediocre rather than great category. Personally, I never need to watch that dumb opera again. Thank god and Gockley for “Makropulos” this month.

  3. I would most certainly disagree with you. But I’m guessing you know that already!

  4. I don’t know if the problem is that the audience is too old as much as it is too small.

    The “disservice” can be equally spread around if we cling to the idea that there is “great” music that meets some universal definition. Is the Bruch Violin Concerto “great” music? Personally, never again is too soon for that piece.

    Our yardstick for measuring quality is not broadly applicable. Classical musicians can’t even uniformly decided who plays great and is an “artist.” Just read a few reviews of Lang Lang.

    Why should we expect the public to invest in that type of thinking. If there is symphonic repertoire that speaks a common musical language and attracts a bigger audience; we should perform it. The art is presenting symphonic music in a way that validates the price of the ticket and makes it self- evident why the audience should return.