And now, Haydn's 'Farewell' symphony
September 2, 2013 12:27 AM   Subscribe

America's Orchestras are in Crisis : How an effort to popularize classical music undermines what makes orchestras great.
posted by Gyan (34 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
So I suppose more concerts of Final Fantasy scores or the best of Hans Zimmer isn't the correct answer?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:59 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

The hoi polloi ruin everything. If only orchestras would go back to being funded by wealthy people for their own enjoyment.
posted by three blind mice at 1:39 AM on September 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

Christ, there was an awful lot of context, and a tarantella that whirled exquisitely around it, but the core of that piece is solid-gold, old-fashioned, middlebrow elitism, imho.

tl;dr for those inclined (though the author prefers to glide over it, in favour of recriminations about the popularisation of programs):

a 29 percent decrease in participation in classical music over the past twenty years and a 50 percent decrease in corporate giving over the same period.

So - fewer people are going to see orchestras, and fewer companies are giving them money. But it's all the programs fault. Goodness me, is it possible that orchestras reached a highpoint some years ago and there are now simply too many for what the market will bear? This does not mean the death of orchestra, or interest in classical music, but by the same token, I think the unspoken assumption in the piece - that more orchestras are better, and they should play more often, to bigger audiences - desperately needs questioning. Orchestras aren't dying, but they are downscaling, and I don't think that's the end of the world. And if that also means they play more Beethoven and Mozart, I don't think that's the worst thing in the world, either.
posted by smoke at 1:58 AM on September 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

I read the entire piece trying to pinpoint exactly what felt so off about it, and finally came to the conclusion that the whole thing could be boiled down to:

"The reason American orchestras are dying is that they are failing to cater to my specific preferences!"
posted by kyrademon at 2:04 AM on September 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Some orchestras could be conductor less employee owned and operated.
posted by hortense at 2:12 AM on September 2, 2013

I don't see where the article does offer any solutions. It just says that what orchestras are doing isn't working, and that much of what they are doing is silly, in the author's opinion.

If fewer people and organizations are willing to put up the money orchestras require, there are going to be fewer orchestras. If orchestras are the only career open to classical musicians, there are going to be fewer of them, too. Short of government support, I don't see the any way around it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:09 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

It could be the bloody plebs' fault, or it could be that endowments to orchestras provide almost no income in these low-interest days. But yeah, 'necrocracy'; if you believe that the pinnacle of sound comes from 17th century Italian woodworkers, you're going to be stuck sounding like long-dead European blokes.
posted by scruss at 4:33 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

"That musical appreciation takes work, and that its greatest rewards are cumulative over a lifetime rather than immediate, is not much discussed."

What this seems to be code for is clear: The problem is not that The Public doesn't appreciate classical music anymore. The problem is that The Right People don't appreciate classical music anymore. The people with the free time to see a lot of shows, the income to pay for this kind of volume without wider appeal, the refined tastes not just in quiet audiences but in clothing and seating arrangements. The people who cultivate a taste for classical music like they cultivate a taste for wine.

Right? Because he doesn't want me there, in jeans, not knowing the names of all the major composers, not being able to tell you exactly what I like about each piece, buying the discount tickets, not fitting in. And yet I'm the 30-something with a bunch of classical music on my iPhone, right there with the Indigo Girls. If you create performances that people go to out of social obligation, then you create a fragile system that collapses when that social obligation--sorry, wait, that already happened. Can we not do it again?
posted by Sequence at 4:42 AM on September 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

One big difference in American orchestras affecting the bottom line in the last 30 years, is the increasing number of professional musicians employed by second and third tier orchestras. Back in the 70s, my wife at the time played oboe with the Nashville Symphony, which was, and always had been, a semi-pro orchestra. More than half the players then were wealthy but semi-skilled "amateur" musicians, who regularly "rebated" their salaries back to the orchestra as "self-donations," and played with the orchestra essentially as a serious hobby/avocation. So really, there were only about 25 people in the orchestra at that time who made any substantial amount of their annual earnings from playing in the orchestra.

And even then, it was a pittance, not a full time job. My wife also played recording sessions, and did a lot of private teaching and reed making, to supplement her income, as well as teaching at local universities, and doing a little real estate on the side. And she was a master of living frugally, or it never would have worked. Every time contract negotiations came around, the professional players like my wife talked about striking for better pay and benefits, but it was hollow talk, and everybody knew it. The orchestra association always had the possibility of readily replacing them with more semi-pros, or just putting on a chamber series with the semi-pro remmants of the usual orchestra, and so the professionals always grudgingly took whatever the orchestra association said was their "final offer," and played the season.

Now, of course, that same orchestra, marketing to the same area, is trying to play an expanded concert schedule, with full time professionals under union contracts, and support a fancy new concert hall, to boot, and losing $10 to $20 million a season doing so. No wonder it has run well beyond its financing. That financing stream was never deep or wide, even in "Music City USA."
posted by paulsc at 4:46 AM on September 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

Sometimes I feel bad about only being familiar with popular composers like Bach, Motzart, Grieg, etc. and I make an effort to expand my horizons and figure out what I'm missing, but I find a lot of less-popular compositions generic and uncompelling. Maybe my appreciation for classical music stems more from the personal memories and history I have with it vice the actual quality of the music, which is I think why video game music and move soundtracks are popular with certain people.

I guess what I'm getting at is Looney Tunes (or lack therof) is to blame for the decline of orchestras.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:05 AM on September 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

They should do what the LA Chamber Orchestra does--play Bach, Mpzart, Haydn, and Handel in old theaters and don't charge a ton. They pack the places out.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 5:09 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Once you get over the dumber and snobbier aspects of the article, there are actually some good points here.

Mainly, despite all the attempts to bring in new listeners (with poppier programs) or conservative listeners (with stodgier programs), audiences and revenues are significantly down. The attempts to secure a broader audience are total failures - they're not increasing what needs to be increased, and they're only diluting the experience for deep-cut classical music nerds. What's more, the people who actually manage and play in orchestras are often deep-cut classical music nerds themselves.

So, what is to be done?

What if we embraced the niche-ness of this interest? What if we treated this kind of musical performance as being like a concert tour, except where the audience moves and not the orchestra? What if each Deep-Cut Classical Music Nerd orchestra did one show a year "for people like us", where they simply made the show that they wanted to hear. However, this show would be coordinated with dozens of other similar orchestras across the nation so as to not duplicate programs or to schedule performances on top of one another. Then, each show could be recorded in whiz-bang 5.1 glory, sold digitally online for relatively cheap. Die-hard nerds with time and money would find ways to travel to see shows in person, and everyone else could simply listen to a high-end recording of the live performance.

It's less ideal than simply having each and every orchestra having total funding to only ever put on the shows that they would want, but we don't live in an ideal world.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:24 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

In 2012, I was given a contract to teach a group of orchestra members to raise money. It was a totally futile effort. From what I recall there were six problems at work:

1. Too many orchestras. There seem to be no end of musicians putting together ensembles. Takeaway: there is a lot of talent movement which is detrimental to development.

2. Too many orchestras competing for the same funding, but little interest in models for sustainable (slow) development. Arts managers don't understand how fundraising outside of grants and upright philanthropy actually work. In the USA, many orchestras are funded by dental clinics. Why? Why not? But these are partnerships built over the long term, something arts administrators don't understand.

3. Arts administration professionals (in general) do not want anyone else taking credit for fundraising and development other than the top tier of the staff team. Job protection is rife. If musicians raised their own funds, arts admin would be worthless except as an auditing component.

4. There is no one who wants to be responsible for the failure of a community activity. Orchestra managers would rather continue to restructure the ways they access musicians. Each successive wave of de-unionisation and corporatism is seen as a defensive mechanism but is mostly done for the sake of top tier job preservation.

5. Musicians want to not be disturbed by reality. Everyone laments Amanda Palmer but she represents one clear future: an artist who raised enough money to guide her own evolution. Whether that new confidence will result in new music remains to be seen. Amanda Palmer's new thing to not be disturbed by is the reality that she must now produce an album.

6. Orchestras, like all art, has locked out the poor. Since the end of World War 2, art has been increasingly a middle and upper class pursuit. Only La Sistema has engaged the poor but it has direct government aid and is not a growth model for lifelong involvement. Arts funding cuts do not affect the poor because they are cut out already.
posted by parmanparman at 5:40 AM on September 2, 2013 [20 favorites]

When I was a child in Michigan, AM radio played "Adventures in Good Music" with Karl Haas. Classical music was gently explained by a nice man who was able to pass on his delight for good music. I know he became easy to mock, but I LOVED him as a kid. Now I can listen to Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, explain upcoming orchestra programs on NPR, detailing exactly why the pieces are exciting and vital. This kind of education keeps classical music alive to new generations and creates audiences who want good programming.
posted by acrasis at 6:28 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't think the root problem is with orchestras per se. Till even the 40s/50s(?), classical music was a respectable part of mainstream musical culture, and you could expect some proportion of the public to take to it and become long-term patrons of classical music. Simply, that hasn't been the case for quite some time now. And the declining health of the concert hall is just a natural effect.

What's needed is some of concerted (heh) joint, universal outreach program to get young people to engage with classical music and become atleast semi-regular consumers and the primary venue in the modern era is not the concert hall but at home. The classical music corpus is, by its very nature, ossified so even the most successful outreach effort should not expect to convert more than 10-12% of regular young music listeners. But if it comes close to that then atleast a decent number of orchestras can hope to remain sustainable ventures. Ambition beyond that goal to regain some sort of prominence in American musical consciousness is frankly unrealistic, IMO.
posted by Gyan at 6:38 AM on September 2, 2013

Wow, the blatant snobbery. I left classical music behind despite having been deeply passionate about it as a young man in part because of this attitude, which disparaged all the other great music I loved playing and the people who cared about it in an effort to establish Western Art Music's (WAM, as it is known) obvious unique importance.

Here's a delightful bit of news. Slowly, over 30 years, America's top academic music departments have finally shifted to where a near majority of faculty and graduate students are working on things other than the western art music canon or classical music tradition. You used to be laughed out of the seminar room for suggesting country or hip hop or Mbele Pygmy hocketing were just as important examples of human musicality as "Mozart, Mahler, and Messiaen." You can see the evidence in the programs for musicology meetings and in the publications and journals in the field, as well as the class offerings in a top department's music major.

This howl of nostalgia for privilege (that was always a socially constructed rationalization of class power and anti-democratic Europhilia) pleases me.
posted by spitbull at 7:00 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, America's conservatories continue to pump out thousands of unneeded classical musicians, most mediocre, for a market that no longer exists (especially private teaching and public k-12 teaching). Every year a few hundred new classically trained French Horn players discover this truth. Just as in other arts and academic professions, there is no way the price of labor is going to go up when other people are making bank producing an over-supply of labor.
posted by spitbull at 7:05 AM on September 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

It's irritating enough that he thinks he knows who the serious listeners are. But what's really astonishing is that he thinks that there's a pool of underserved people longing for hardcore repertory out there. Actually, the Detroit Symphony, which has lots of problems in the most financially strapped place in America, has broadened its audience quite successfully with just the kind of programming he laments. And they still play plenty of Beethoven.
posted by texorama at 7:16 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Actually, the Detroit Symphony, which has lots of problems in the most financially strapped place in America, has broadened its audience quite successfully with just the kind of programming he laments. And they still play plenty of Beethoven.

But playing "plenty of Beethoven" is not what he wants, either. He wants a more "challenging" repertoire. That might not be interesting to you, but it is to him and many other people within a certain niche.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:32 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Serious" people should enjoy their "serious" high end audio systems and not having to rub shoulders with riff raff with inferior tastes and a lack of "serious," educated discrimination as to what "serious" music is. "Seriously," your music will sound better over your McIntosh tube amp and your Grado headphones anyway.

Seriously, so to speak -- snobbery like this article only confirms everyone's worst impressions of the classical music world and its "serious" pretensions, as well as the ham-handed condescension of most of its "populist" efforts to frantically seek relevance and funding it disdained not a decade ago as beneath itself. Don't call your tastes "serious," and everyone else's "trivial" by extension, if you want those people not only to respect your tastes but possibly to be open to sharing them. Let alone paying for them.

Do you have any idea what level of *public* subsidy the classical music industry still enjoys? It's huge. Without it, there would be no more classical music industry to speak of. And we can start with the fact that nearly every major state university has a school of music (or more than one) churning out unneeded classical musicians whose tuition is paid by the same taxpayer guaranteed student loans that are bankrupting a generation. Among useless degrees that don't prepare you for a modern life, a degree in French Horn performance is waaay up there, yet we see attacks on English and History all the time, but very little in the way of questioning the vast over-production of musicians who are exceptionally skilled at playing music very few people will pay to hear, and fewer people than ever want to pay to teach their children. Orchestras tend to be "non-profit" organizations that are broadly tax exempt, despite the prevalence of bottom-line thinking. Their halls are often built with public funds. Their donors avoid paying taxes for things like medical care and infrastructure because they get to deduct having their names put on limited-used and over-designed buildings and concert hall seats, as if those were obvious public goods.

And what is with the barely veiled racism in this editorial? It sounds like the standard right wing rant against affirmative action. As if blind auditions exempted orchestras from charges of cultural bias? Racism and white privilege are baked in to the music education system in the US. Of course "blind" auditions are going to produce lily-white orchestras. Or actually, these days, mostly Chinese orchestras (because anyone who has been around a conservatory in the last few years knows Chinese students are cleaning the clocks of everyone else, having so much more rigorous, if mostly rote, classical music training in childhood). Of course you have to diversify the repertoire and the audience to diversify the population of eligible performers, but you also have to make affirmative efforts to diversify the performers to attract people who quite correctly presume classical symphonic music is made by white people, funded by rich white people, listened to by rich white people, and caught up in a longstanding racist, colonialist fantasy of white European cultural superiority to everyone else.

TLDR: racist, classist, white privileged tripe editorial provides clues to the impending demise of the American symphonic orchestra as we have known it for about 70 years.
posted by spitbull at 8:26 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I see your points, spitbull, but outside of the public subsidies, substantively similar accusations could be leveled at most of the things that MetaFilter likes. It's easy to pick on classical music for being a largely white, upper-class pursuit, but most of the entertainment industry is in one way or another very heavily privileged. Just about any accusation you level against classical music could also be leveled at ballet, opera, or film.

For me, as someone who's not really part of the classical music deep cut scene, I see it as a case where there is this huge universe of orchestral music, but given the costs of running an orchestra, you can only afford to play very popular pieces, be it in a pop vein or in a Beethoven-y mainstream vein. That must be frustrating for enthusiasts, who would love to go see a Duruflé piece performed live, but it's not financially feasible for most orchestras to put on something like that.

It's similar to how you don't really hear independent music on ClearChannel stations, or how independent film in the US is in largely dire shape. Except, of course, independent music and independent films are "cool", but classical music is not.

It's also interesting seeing the "public funding" argument being trotted out in the context of promoting apparently lily-white activities. It's an argument perfectly comparable to Rudy Giuliani complaining about offensive, publicly-funded art. Public funding for the arts represents a very tiny portion of public spending - one would think the solution would be to help fund more (and more diverse) projects.

Barring that, it would be nice if the IRS could make it easier for arts-oriented enterprises to qualify as program-related investments.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:38 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm happy to level the same charges at "opera, ballet, and film." More than happy. My critique of classical music applies equally well to opera and ballet (which are really the same art world). Film is a bit different, to my understanding.

Also, I actually oppose nonprofit and tax-exempt status in the abstract, for any organization, especially including schools and churches and civic arts groups. As a Native American elder once put it to me, "'nonprofit' is whiteman talk for 'nice office, nice car, nice house, and no taxes.'"
posted by spitbull at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Film is a bit different, to my understanding.

It's not.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:58 AM on September 2, 2013

I'm with Stichberbeast. While I may have all kinds of issues with the stodge and uptightness of yrrr standard, upper crust classical music aficianados, I'm way more concerned about the divisions between all the various niche tastes out there -- all us non-mainstream types and how easy it is to get us tearing at each other as opposed to dealing with the real elephant in the room, which is the banal, ponderous, deadening, predictable, overexposed Mainstream. It's not awful all the time, of course, but it usually is ...
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2013

Frankly, I've never known any professional musician or fellow music student who disparaged music that was from a tradition different than "Western Art Music"; everyone I've personally known has been basically curious about all musics.

There was, of course, an awful lot of hand-wringing about Western cultural imperialism when I was going through school. There was also a lot of hand-wringing about whether classical musicianship isn't much different than being a classicist, that is, a scholar of Latin or Greek language, history, and literature (which has also been going through a similar crisis), since the vast bulk of the work is aimed at the realization not of contemporary work but of a cannon stretching back hundreds of years. Valuing any of these traditions also seems to open one up to casual accusations of elitism, snobbery, and even racism, which is quite a fetter.

The early humanists had to relearn fine classical Latin style, and even relearn Greek in order to once again gain access to the little that remained of classical antiquity. I simply hope that we can avoid losing a living contact with this musical tradition. What are the total social and cultural resources necessary to put on a performance of Beethoven's 3rd symphony? What are the resources and infrastructure necessary to produce a new work in this tradition? Certainly a sufficient number (whatever that is) of practicing musicians, the educational infrastructure to create them, the artisans who create their instruments, print and edit the music, cultural capital and investment to engage audiences and subsequent generations of musicians will be necessary to keep the tradition from simply dying out.

The article leveled an interesting accusation against orchestra management: the direction they've been going in for the last 20 years hasn't been working. Maybe some of the cynicism and condescension in the outreach efforts has something to do with it.
posted by rakeswell at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

It'd be interesting to see if the decline of music classes in public schools correlates with the decline in Orchestra attendance, too.
posted by jaguar at 11:03 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

It also annoys me that they seriously glossed over Richard Dare's child molestation charges. The girl may have married him later, but she was 15 and his student at the time of the charges.
posted by jaguar at 11:08 AM on September 2, 2013

The article leveled an interesting accusation against orchestra management: the direction they've been going in for the last 20 years hasn't been working. Maybe some of the cynicism and condescension in the outreach efforts has something to do with it.

I think you've hit it on the head there. Audiences know when a pops concert is pandering to them. And to my mind there's not much about classical rearrangements of film soundtracks and crossover pop artists that would motivate me to spend my time and money on an evening at the opera: why shell out $35 on a ticket to hear Local Orchestra's concert with Pop Artist X, when I already own CDs by Pop Artist X without the awkward sounds of an orchestra trying to match their style?

Civic outreach in a purely "classical" vein is often equally misguided or half-assed -- a subset of reluctant orchestra players coerced into playing a poorly advertised concert of overplayed, bland classical standards to an audience of squirming children -- the resentment of the audience is palpable, and the experience must be just as boring and alienating for the children as anything.

Yet the author here seems to want to throw out the entire concept of outreach to a nontraditional audience based on the failure of the pandering/half-assed approaches. What if orchestras adopted the assumption that new audiences might actually be interested in new, serious music? This author has ruled out the possibility that either young or old audience members would find new concert music as anything other than bad, boring or alienating; he lumps all new music into the category of neoliberal propaganda and offers us a single example (by a relatively obscure composer) to demonstrate the inappropriateness of new music for a youth orchestra.

So once again we have two choices -- either standards like Beethoven representing music that is high art, or conservative reappropriated pop music which is fun and easy to like, both endorsed as the "correct" choice, and we all know how much young people like to identify with things their elders have earmarked as "correct." Rethinking outreach by taking a risk on programming new music is a nonstarter, so that only leaves retreating, downsizing, and retrenching along the lines of Haydn, whose works sound "better than ever" thanks to the increased competition between all those underemployed, leech-like horn players. And nothing will get new audience members to stop listening to CDs and Youtube videos (which are a vast resource of new music) like Haydn that sounds Better Than Ever. Right?

Some of this is professional resentment on my part as a composer, of course, but when I see how new music chamber groups kick and struggle to survive, let alone promote the works of equally struggling artists, I can only play a short little sad song for Big Symphonies on my tiny, tiny imaginary violin -- for at least the tiny violin of limited sympathy will actually play my music.
posted by daisystomper at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

In the spirit of the concept of the"dumbing down" of America,let's postulate that generally, people only respond to, and support that which they are more readily exposed to. This is simple enough, but I am of an age where I recall Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts" as a regular TV offering. Hell, even pianist Vladimir Horowitz played a concert taped at Carnegie Hall on February 1, 1968, and broadcast nationwide by CBS on September 22 of that year. Of course, there's no money in that kind of programming anymore, (except rarely, on PBS)

But classical music was represented as a regular part of people's cultural lives much more back then and was considered part of the TV landscape, at least often enough to have an impact. That, plus the lack of funding for basic musical education in public schools ("Music Appreciation", etc.) has taken a back seat to football and the like, for budgetary reasons, so they say. This does not bode well for exposure and the future of listenability of classical music by more of the general public. This is nothing new, but still worth considering.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:51 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Designed by a national architecture firm that specializes in faux-historical buildings, and costing $123.5 million, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, with its massive columns and impressive portico

Boo hoo. Just how much of that $123,000,000 contributed to the quality of the sound and the comfort of the chairs ??

Play me some good music and I can live without the Cush. And ... sorry gang ... but the Nashville Symphony Orchestra just isn't (and TTBOMK has never been) a $123M orchestra.

Reminds me of all the $$$M Cushy libraries I've been in that didn't have a very good book selection. Taking pride in the wrong thing is not good for us!
posted by Twang at 3:29 PM on September 2, 2013

It'd be interesting to see if the decline of music classes in public schools correlates with the decline in Orchestra attendance, too.

I'mma gonna repeat this because it hits the nail on the head.

Classical music demands some sort of education in listening for most people.

We may be a society that buys a megaton of music, but we don't sing, and most of us don't dance.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:23 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

It'd be interesting to see if the decline of music classes in public schools correlates with the decline in Orchestra attendance, too.

> I'mma gonna repeat this because it hits the nail on the head.

Thank you. It seemed an odd omission in what seemed to be an otherwise fairly thorough article.
posted by jaguar at 7:57 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

if you believe that the pinnacle of sound comes from 17th century Italian woodworkers, you're going to be stuck sounding like long-dead European blokes.

All of the modern brass and woodwinds (that I can recall) in a symphony were invented well after the 1600's, the double bass was just getting started in the 1650s, and the rest of the string family has undergone some serious changes (including the material of the strings, and several things to adjust for that change). Outside of a few dedicated groups nobody is trying to sound like a 17th century ensemble.

Since the end of World War 2, art has been increasingly a middle and upper class pursuit.

That's always been part of the Western tradition of "art music" (versus pop or folk). Courts and churches had their own composers and orchestras just to show off how rich and powerful they were. The "Farewell" Symphony was written by Haydn as a way of telling Prince Nikolaus Esterházy (his patron) that the musicians all wanted to go home and see their wives, so it was time to stop the extended vacation at the summer palace.

I can't help but feel that a big part of why Orchestras in America are failing is because all the traditional patrons (cities, rich folks, etc.) have found other ways to show off and build good will with the general populace. People who love the current Platonic ideal of The Symphony as an entity are finding that the numbers don't always work without that backing.

What most likely will happen is what happened in the past when social conditions changed. Somebody will find a set up that works, and everyone will switch over, and soon there'll be a new thing that everyone thinks of as A Symphony. Some niche organizations will probably pride themselves on having an "authentic 20th Century Orchestra." Then some people will start complaining that the new modes stuck in the past. Others will complain that it plays too much new stuff to pander. Tastes change, but some arguments never do.

I don't think that humans have changed enough that people won't create challenging music (that is music that needs to be studied by both player and audience), just like people aren't going to suddenly stop liking to rock out. There's a place for both.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:38 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

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