Yes, Classical Music Matters !
Pardon me for using a title influenced by one of the most contentious issues in America about human lives mattering , but Classical Music does matter in our world . It's not dying by any means , even though it has the same kind of serious problems which exist in any field of human endeavor , but it in't as some people would claim , a trivial matter of little importance to mankind . America is the part of the world most seriously hit by these problems, and the very existence of so many of its hundreds of symphony orchestras and opera companies is threatened because of financial difficulties , lack of government subsidies , and an aging audience among other things .
Imagine a worst case scenario where all of America's orchestras, opera companies , chamber ensembles, choruses etc went under . An enormous of people would be out of work, not only the musicians, singers , but the many people who work behind the scenes in administration, public relations etc. People in every U.S. state would be left without the chance to experience great music live , a much larger number than most people in America realize . A large number of composers would be left without a chance to have new works premiered . Not a pleasant thing to contemplate . Not good for the U.S. economy, either , because so many talented, dedicated and hard working people would be out of work . Yes, if our symphony orchestras and opera companies
flourish, they help the economy to do better as a whole .
The world could function without classical music, but it would be a far drabber and more joyless pace without it . It's wonderful to have so much classical music on compact disk , DVD , and the internet , but there's no substitute for hearing it live . So many people love the opportunity to take a break from their daily grind at work to attend concerts of their local symphony orchestra or opera company , and the thrill of traveling to such major centers of classical music as New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna , and elsewhere to experience the magic of live classical music .
Hearing the immortal masterworks of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert , Wagner, Tchaikovsky , Dvorak , Debussy, Ravel, Verdi, Puccini , and so many other great composers live is something which really makes life worth living for so many people all over the world , not only Europeans and Americans .
And unfortunately , too many people are unaware of how much more interesting and enjoyable their lives could be if they made the effort to get to know classical music and make it part of their lives . Either because they are simply unaware of how enjoyable it can be or because they blindly accept the myth of classical music being "stuffy, boring and elitist ". Yes, this myth has closed the minds of too many people who might otherwise love it .
Just attend a performance, for example at the Metropolitan opera or one of the world's other great opera houses in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin , Moscow, Prague, St. Petersburg , Russia or elsewhere . The audiences there aren't the stereotypical image of
bored rich people sitting in their boxes showing off their fancy clothes and Jewelry , but more like sports fans rooting for their home team , albeit not as loud and rowdy as sports fans can be . The opera fans are rooting for their favorite opera singers and following the action of the opera as closely as sports fans are following the game . The atmosphere in the opera house is electric, not the least bit dull or boring ! The audience applauds and cheers loudly and yells bravo ! But here, at a great performance, there are no losers . Everybody wins - the cast, the conductor, the chorus, the audience, even the many people who work behind the scenes producing the opera as stage hands etc .
Audiences are also extremely enthusiastic at orchestral concerts . After the performance, the fans discuss and argue over the merits of the performance the same way sports fans argue over games . So much for being "stuffy and boring ". And is classical music "elitist ?" No. The term elitist implies that orchestras and opera companies are trying to exclude people who aren't rich and white, but nothing could be farther from the truth . They don't care who you are as long as you buy tickets and enjoy the performances , and they very much want to attract more people to them . Why do they have public outreach programs and publicity agents if not to try to attract more people ?
If anyone who is not a fan of classical music and knows little about it ever tells you that classical music is just a frivolous entertainment for the few , please tell that person 'Don't knock it if you haven't tried it !" And please try to disabuse such people of their misconceptions . Yes, classical music does matter much more than so many people realize .