So often, when people talk about Classical music, many will either zone out, or groan. It’s somewhat alien, elitist, and many can find it boring. Elitist- yes, classical music has a problem, though this is starting to change over the summer, with some fantastic underrated composers being discussed in a recent BBC4 documentary (along with the rest of the arts programmes that no longer feature on BBC1 and 2). Much progress is needed though, as the Vienna Philharmonic rejected what would have been their first female principle flautist just this year. Alien- that’s what I hope to address in this column. The people who teach classical music have it wrong. They start with Mozart and Beethoven- the largest two names, but often with what can seem to young people as ancient and,well, boring. I was forcefed classical music from a young age by a very musical family, however when it was my turn to listen to music it was (60s) pop, until the age of 16. What happened? I listened to more 20th century classical music, which is what most young classical musicians prefer anyway (I read about an orchestra in Norway, I think, that plays only 20th century composers and enjoys a large audience with an average age in the 20s).
My goal in this column, as a conductor of my own student orchestra, will be to piggyback on the small rise in popularity that classical music has had in the recent months and recommend pieces that people without much exposure to classical can actually enjoy. I’ll also spotlight an underrated composer each week with one of their works. I’ll try to keep the pieces I recommend quite short, at least to begin with). I may also get some friends (and anyone interested) to discuss some of their favourite works here too!