Reflections: pop music vs. classical music

November 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm (Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Pop music vs. Classical

I’m not sure what it is, however, there has been an “elitist” bias among practitioners of classical music (and jazz to an extent) towards pop music. With their complexities, and often times, numerous years of study at music programs, classical musicians reverence of historical catalogues, yet it doesn’t improve their popularity among the masses.

On the other hand, pop music (in this case all popular music) keeps growing in popularity with the advent of the internet. Sometimes there has been collaborations like Metallica’s orchestral performances, or anytime you bring in a string section in a pop tune ballad.

Classical music activists say there is no interest to classical/jazz music & that in many ways it’s dying (sales of songs/albums). Critics blame it on the public for not appreciating the greatness of the music. Meanwhile, pop musicians like Miley Cyrus and Linkin Park sell tons of albums, itunes, merch, and ticket sales for tours. Today I checked ticketmaster and the top billed ticket price for Bonjovi concert was over $1,100 (and those were sold out within 10 minutes). And no offense, but I’m not sure if any pop artist will last as long as a Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin.

#1 Music is music & it needs be promoted through press, given publicity, shared, passed on to each successive generation. It doesn’t happen by osmosis.

My point, is that in my experiences as a music writer, I have got a lot of positive response from the pop music community and silence/ignored by the classical/jazz community. Now, I admit I don’t search out classical or jazz as much as pop music, but I have a beef with the “Classical” mindset.

Simple example, whenever I have contacted pop musicians/bands about doing an article or contacting them for background info, etc., I have usually been given a positive and response. They seem to welcome publicity and press. So, I’ve been sent many press releases, invites to shows, and made contacts within the pop music world.

On the other hand, whenever I have contacted classical/jazz musicians or venues about writing articles and giving some press on this genre of music, I’m usually “stiffed at the door.” I have contacted Koerner Hall multiple times, which is the new performance hall in Toronto specifically made for the RC (Royal Conservatory).

My beef is that I contacted them through the appropriate channels knowing that the 1st season of this concert hall is a big deal for Toronto. The thing is they didn’t get back to me with any response after taking my info down & saying it would be passed to “blah blah” and I think that’s poor that they don’t get back to me with at least an explanation as to why it’s a “no”.

If given press access, I would’ve went to the “9’s” in writing about all the great classical, jazz, world music performances that are going on there. And I really don’t understand it, because classical/jazz is definitely in the decline and a lot less popular than pop music, which get’s most of the music press.

So, I’ve got the beef out & it’s done. No grudges, I’ll even leave the link to Royal Conservatory/Koerner Hall, so you can check out their shows & go to them if you are in the GTA region (Greater Toronto Area). If you want to get the younger mainstream audiences into classical/jazz, you need all the promo you can get.

I just wonder if classical music society purposely want to keep the concerts small, quiet, in order to…have the masses stay away.

The Royal Conservatory: http://performance.rcmusic.ca/

~ Jason Chu

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