To use today’s marketing parlance, classical music needs to rebrand itself. The moniker, “classical music,” simply does not have the snap and pop of active, evocative terms like “jazz,” “rap” or “rock.”

So what to call it? A few names have been floated, and all of them have obvious flaws. They include “serious music” (All the other genres are frivolous?), “art music” (Could that be any more pedantic?) or “concert music” (Isn’t most music performed in concerts?).

Man, we are sure hearing a lot about needing to change our name. I’ve read this over and over. So what … are we attempting to trick people into liking us now? I wonder.

Churches are doing this too. Have you noticed how the local denominational church might now not even show that denomination on the sign in front of the church. You might see “New Life” or “Radiant Life” instead. “Community” plus something else is another popular church name. Go figure!

I laugh at both, really. Just like I laugh at parents who call some food something different to trick kids into eating.

I just think people are smarter than that.

Is this middle school? I’m not sure pointedly trying to be cool helps anyone or anything.

-Hilary Hahn

Thanks, Ms. Hahn!

But, that being said, I know that there are a ton of people who disagree strongly with me. And I’ll admit I can be wrong about some things. So what do you think we should call “our” music? Hmm?

And, for the record, I think Hilary Hahn is incredibly cool. But then I’m old so my thinking that really doesn’t count.

PS Here is what the newspaper I pulled the quotes from automatically adds when I cut & paste. I do like to give credit (or blame) where credit (or blame) is due!:
Read more: Orchestras, opera companies must make splash to be heard – The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content:


  1. Do we really need to worry about what we call classical music? I confess to being a little perplexed as to why anybody thinks we need to give it a different label. Why don’t we just expose our children to all different kinds of music and let them decide what they like?

  2. I must say, though, that it bothers me when people use the name “classical music” to talk about everything from Telemann down to Shostakovich. Bach is “baroque,” Schumann is “romantic.” Only a small portion of what we play is truly “classical.” Most of the time I’ll call music by the time period that it fits into, but if I need to refer to the whole thing I prefer “concert music.” But this is more of a pet peeve than a reason for a new name.

    As an afterthought, even if musicians decided to to change the name, how would they persuade the world to use the new one?

  3. There is the big c Classical and the little c classical in my little opinion Nate. Sort of like Catholic and catholic. I would deem the “all of it” as Classical, and the era “classical”. But that’s just me.