In case it is not up yet, here is the comment I just left on Greg's last post, "Classical music diversity -- Or the lack of it."
I just want to make two very brief comments. First, I think there is a blind spot in your analysis. Both you and I have worked on the West Coast, you as a pop music critic and myself teaching in a conservatory. Where I was, a huge percentage of the music students were Asian-mostly Chinese. At least half of the piano students and a large percentage of the violin students were Asian. This was in Victoria, British Columbia. No black students, but then there were almost no black residents at that time. Well, there were a couple: the conductor of the symphony was black! So I just don’t really get the racial angle. You write “I’m not saying that people in classical music are consciously racist.” But unconsciously? The other thing is that a young and talented black musician would likely make far more money if he or she DIDN’T go into classical music, right?I think where we philosophically differ, Greg, is in our sense of what classical music is. My working definition is that classical music can be seen in two ways. One is the music of the Classical period, 1750 – 1827, but the more important sense of the word is that music that has survived the test of time. If you go to a classical music concert you might find music from the Renaissance to the present. Or you might hear a program devoted to a particular era. What you would, or should, expect is that the artists have chosen music of high quality, music that stands out for its aesthetic and expressive power. I have given concerts for voice and guitar where we started with music by Guillaume DuFay, continued with John Dowland, performed some songs by contemporary Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and ended with Blackbird by Paul McCartney. And I consider all of that ‘classical’. But the process of finding the music of the best quality means weeding out the music of lesser quality. It is in that area that I think we may have some differences, but I’m not sure what they would be. I do know that from my point of view the idea that classical music is “drastically out of touch with its time” is to mis-categorize classical music. Music that has achieved ‘classical’ status is supposed to be out of touch with its time!