Classical music has never been the passion of the young.

-Leon Botstein

I enjoyed reading this article. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; younger people don’t usually have the time, money or interest for a symphony concert, but they’ll get older. I happen to know they’ll get older even if they don’t. You can trust me on that one. I love reading “I’ve discovered classical music!” or some such thing at blogs of people younger than I. (And now that I’m 51 there are a lot of people who fit that bill.)

I must say, though, that the funniest blog I read was by a younger person who, when growing up, wasn’t allowed rock music. He (she?) has now discovered music other that classical and is enthralled, and realizes there is more to life than classical. So maybe some of it is that, as we get older, we “discover” new things and those appeal.

The article also included this:

Classical music has always appealed to older adults who, with the passing of years, tend to contemplate the kind of daily life conundrums that are freighted with ambiguity and complexity. The average classical listener has historically hovered around middle age. This is encouraging, as there is no shortage of baby boomers on the horizon. The challenge facing classical musicians is to persuade adults to listen, even those who have no experience with classical music. It would be swell if there were public investment in music education, but since that is unlikely, musicians and arts organizations have to assume leadership.

Heh. He used the word “swell”! Does that give away age? Seems like it might.


  1. Perhaps part of it is that as we get older we become less peer-driven and more willing to admit that we like something “uncool”? Or not – dunno.

  2. I think people tend to like what they can understand/predict. Popular music is familiar and tends to be (key phrase there. there are exceptions, of course) simpler than classical music. My theory teacher was talking about that when we listened to Mahler one day. Mahler doesn’t do what we expect, which is why many audiences wouldn’t enjoy his music. Slowly though, I think people become bored with the music they used to listen to. Heck, we even get tired of it in high school; that’s why many people only listen to things that came out within the last two nanoseconds. But eventually the artists these friends of mine listen to will stop coming out with new music and they’ll have to listen to something else. I suspect this is when many people learn to apreciate classical music.