There may be a lot of gloom and doom surrounding the topic of classical music as an art form, but we’re not going to talk about that. Today we’re going to focus on the most unexpected ways that classical music has found its way into modern life. These are just a few of the things that assure you that classical music is not going anywhere.

Radio symphony orchestra
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Classical music in Reality TV

Talent shows are quite the rage now, but there’s a show you may not even know exists – BBC’s Young Musician. The show does not feature pop or rock performances, but – you guessed it – classical music.

Established way back in 1978, BBC Young Musician is the longest running of all the current TV talent shows (bet you X Factor doesn’t last half that long). On those grounds alone, it must be getting something right. This year, more than ever, there’s a feeling that its participants aren’t hot-housed prodigies with pushy parents, but genuine everyday kids who found their passion and stuck at it. Via Huffington Post

The show’s contestants are all under 19 years, performing classical pieces ranging from the oldest Mozart pieces to modern pieces by modernist composers such as Esa-Pekka Salonen. They also perform pieces by less-known composers like the late Gaspar Cassado from Spain. If you thought you were a classical music enthusiast, you’ll soon discover just how much you haven’t heard.

What’s even more exciting is the passion that these young musicians exude throughout the show.

…instead of finding yourself admiring what these young artists do from a distance, as if they were exhibits in a museum, this year’s players pull you inside the music, enveloping you in a sense of how it feels to be in their shoes.

They bring something guileless and entirely transparent to the stage, so you’ll catch the whites of their eyes as they hit a really scary passage and equally you’ll sense that feeling we all relish from time to time when you absolutely ace something you never thought you’d master. Via Huffington Post

Classical music in the car park

A typical orchestra performs in a typical concert hall, so there is nothing typical about the Multi-Story Orchestra, which held a concert at London’s Bold Tendencies car park. In fact, the orchestra won the audience engagement prize during the most recent Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. It was also praised for its ingenuity as well as the impact it has had on the local community.

The car-park performance was one of many attempts to take classical music out of the concert hall so that it can be heard and understood more readily by a young, modern audience. By moving away from its typical habitat, classical music might also escape its traditional associations and attract audiences that would otherwise feel alienated.

Peckham’s multi-storey car park is an established arts venue with a resident orchestra so was, Pickard said, an ideal – if eye-catching – location.

“There is something very exciting about hearing music in a different type of space,” he said. “The Proms is an international festival, it is a national festival but I think it is also a festival for London so let’s take it away from South Kensington and take it to other bits of London where I think we will find a different type of audience… certainly in Peckham.”

Pickard said he saw Beethoven’s Eroica performed at the car park last year and the average age of the audience was, wonderfully, around 23 or 24. “It was diverse in every way and had an amazing atmosphere, it is a very special place.”

The Multi-Story Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Stark, will perform three pieces by Reich, a composer chosen because of his musical interest in urban culture and life. Via The Guardian

Classical music against terrorism

A surprise classical music concert was recently held in Syria’s Palmyra, a Roman amphitheatre where just months before had been used as a stage for gruesome inhuman acts by the Islamic State. The concert was a protest against the barbarism and violence exhibited by the militants. It was also a way of showing solidarity with the Syrian army and Russian forces that have been helping out in the war-torn country.

Conductor Valery Gergiev led Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in the performance of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sergei Prokofiev and Rodion Shchedrin.

Among the crowd were Russian soldiers, government ministers and foreign journalists brought in by the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an address broadcast from Russia at the start of the concert.

“Thank you for today’s amazing humanitarian act – the concert in a Palmyra liberated from terrorists,” Mr Putin said.

“I see it as a sign of gratitude, of remembrance, of hope.” Via Sky News

The message here is clear – classical music has its place in the world today. So maybe we should focus on how much good it can do and take every opportunity to make this a reality where we are.

Featured Image: Image Credit

Related Articles:

Five of the best… classical concerts

guardian11: Tectonics
The music festival curated by conductor Ilan Volkov now takes place each year in Reykjavík, Adelaide and Glasgow. As usual, Volkov is very much present in the latest incarnation of the latter; he’s conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony in two concerts, which will feature new works by Laurence Crane, Howard Skempton, Richard Emsley and Alwynne Pritchard. Via The Guardian


Copyright expires on Bolero, world’s most famous classical crescendo

businessinsiderParis (AFP) – Almost 90 years after it was first performed in Paris, the copyright runs out on Sunday on one of the most popular and unique pieces of classical music, Ravel’s “Bolero”.

“We are accustomed to say that a performance of Bolero begins every 10 minutes in the world. As the work lasts 17 minutes, it is therefore playing at all times somewhere,” said Laurent Petitgirard of France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (SACEM).

“And it is likely that we will hear it even more now, in advertisements or in films”. Via Business Insider


The Multi-Story Orchestra take over Peckham Car Park

classicfmThe Multi-Story Orchestra have been performing amazing classical works in the strangest of settings – a multi-story car park in Peckham, South East London. Here are some pictures of the best of their shows so far… Via Classic FM