Dennis Mangan has a post about white folks and having an interest in classical music,
My brother the classical music critic posts his take on Stuff White People Like #108: Appearing to enjoy Classical Music. It jibes with my experience; you've got to hang with some really pretentious people before you see anyone even attempt appearing to enjoy classical music. In the circles in which I move,you're doing well if you know what an orchestra is. Quoth Tim:
Admitting that you like classical music these days is to confirm to others that you are either a) a nerd, b) gay, or c) hopelessly beyond help. If you ever want to stop a conversation, just mention Stravinsky.
One of his commenters, Dave in Hackensack wrote,
A few years ago, my girlfriend won a free trip for two to Boston to see the symphony there. We got the VIP treatment because my girlfriend's employer at the time was a major corporate sponsor. The first piece the symphony presented that night was something old and enjoyable, which was followed by a cacophonous piece of noise -- an excerpt from some forgotten opera written in the second half of the 20th Century.
At intermission, in the bar area for the big donors, I asked the symphony employee who had been chaperoning us about that horrible piece. She sort of acknowledged that it was rough on the ears, but said that the symphony had to get its patrons used to that sort of thing so it could become part of the cannon. That sort of attitude can't be making classical music any more popular.
This afternoon, I turned on the BSO from Symphony Hall on WGBH and Dave's experience was replicated. Two Mozart Arias began the program. Then a work the BSO commissioned by Gunther Schuller titled Where the World Ends was premiered. It did not come close to mediocrity. I don't know how the training program DinH mentioned is going, but the applause was tepid.
Hey, I hardly rise to the level of dilettante. Still, with confidence I claim to have better taste than James Levine. After all, he took up his post proclaiming devotion to the works of Arnold Schoenberg.
Supposedly, a lot of Bostonians have lost gobs of money in the current downturn. In the foreseeable future I doubt torturing the subscribers will be a good business plan.