I remember a conversation I had with Karl Ulrich Schnabel back in the late 80’s about the future of classical music. A friend and I were at his New York apartment for a coaching for our duo-piano team. As we were leaving we started talking about the state of the arts and I remember he was very optimistic. He said not to worry about the future of classical music. He was convinced that there would be a rebirth. Perhaps classical music would take on a new look and feel, but he was confident there would be a new appreciation for classical music in the early 21st century.
Turns out he was right.
One example from the classical piano world is James Rhodes new album, Bullets and Lullabies, due to be released tomorrow in the UK and on December 28th here in the U.S.
…when he starts to play, it’s an intensely classical programme with not a whiff of a crossover number. No wonder Warner Bros. Records have just snapped him up as their first ever classical musician. It’s proper classical music, but in an overwhelmingly accessible package that screams mass market youth appeal. (read more of the review here)
Another example are the recent live broadcasts of both the Van Cliburn Competition (2009) and the Chopin International Competition (2010) which generated an outpouring of blog posts, chats, and Twitter and Facebook comments from musicians and non-musicians from around the world. Whether or not you are a fan of these competitions the fact that these performances are available to everyone (with a connection to the Internet) is more evidence of a new interest in classical piano performance.
Oh, let’s not forget and we also had Chopin2010!
Recommended reading: Greg Sandow’s “Rebirth: The Future of Classical Music” for insight on this new era in the music world. And Kyle MacMillan’s recent article, Classical Music Is Going New Places.