March 10, 2013
“I won’t come if you have cabaret-style seating”. How many times have I hear this from professors and others entrenched in the formalities of the classical music culture. At Aeolian Hall, we’ve tried to make changes in how people engage with classical music. Cabaret-style seating, food and drinks at your seat and more interaction with the performers throughout the program are offered to give a less “formalized” atmosphere. Socialization is encouraged at intermission and after the concert to discuss the performance or whatever else brings joy to meeting in community. We’ve even run a “Classical-Jazz” series where classical music is paired with jazz-not fused. These changes are met by enthusiam by most, but there is still a group of people who cling to tradition. In my opinion, these are the same people who are preventing new audiences from engaging in classical music. Many of these people believe that we must keep a “wall” up between classical music and other forms. They fear that classical music will get “contaminated” if we don’t keep this wall up. The greatest musicians I have met believe otherwise.