Music Australia News

Looking back on the Classics in 2015

National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NYC. Photo by Greg Cristman
Andy Sarkozy
| December 21, 2015

Over the year, we have been thinking about what classical and art music will look like (along with its audiences) in the future.  As well as hosting a Classical Futures seminar last June, we’ve covered a number of stories in 2015 on classical music innovation from Australia and around the globe. Is the future as much outside as inside the concert hall? As intimate and socially engaged as impressively large-scale?  Embraced by many people of all ages or the preserve of a few?

We’ve selected our most popular articles over the year relating to classical music innovation, as read by you:

  1. An Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey conducted earlier this year found that classical music is the only category that attracts older Australians in greater numbers than the younger Australians. But Australians most love going to the cinema, it reveals!
  1. How can we forget the controversy of Pharrell Williams’ being fined by a US court for copyright infringement? This reminds us – again – that music has been borrowed freely since the beginning of time. We take a look at two reports.
  1. San Francisco’s Symphony Orchestra has been drawing in younger audiences with a new approach! Many of their new found audience are younger, who may never have attended any classical concerts before.
  1. Making classical music “trendier” might be the wrong way to get younger people interested. Earlier this year, Daniel Ward in The Spectator claimed that the answer starts with education.
  1. Our Classical Futures workshop brought together some of the genre’s leaders to discuss strategies Music Australia could employ to advocate for developing the small-to-medium sector.
  1. National Sawdust, a converted factory in Brooklyn, is a newly launched multipurpose facility intended to serve as an incubator for new art. Artist-led, it allows artists to program their own concert ideas and create albums under one roof.
  1. A campaign to save the bassoon kicked off in Holland this year and is now gaining momentum in an effort to stem the dwindling numbers of students taking up this instrument.
  1. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is adopting new virtual reality technology that it says offers users a fully immersive concert experience. It consists of a headset offering 360-degree panoramic views of the orchestra and location-specific recorded sound.
  1. If classical music needs re-invigorating, Ensemble Offspring holds many answers. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, its ideas about concert design, boundary crossing and audience engagement are both boldly fresh and startlingly obvious.
  1. Essen’s coalmine Zollverein has been turned into a successful arts performance complex, reports Melbourne composer Thomas Reiner.
  1. Described as the international forum for classical music professionals, the fourth edition of the Classical Next conference took place in May 2015 with some spirited debate and great music.
  1. Amid industry talk about its declining audiences and image problems, how can we really gauge the health of classical music and offer predictions about its future?



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