Symphony Musings

February 27, 2013 This past week, I was fortunate to attend two symphony orchestra concerts at the Kennedy Center – did I mention for free?! With the start of the Nordic Cool 2013 festival, the Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra performed five pieces, each by a different Scandinavian composer. A few nights later, the National Symphony Orchestra took the same stage, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with an impeccable French violinist. I do not wish to use this platform to praise the orchestras as I am not nearly qualified to do so, but rather to remark on the audience. Each night, I was surprised to be one of the youngest audience members. Surrounded by either balding heads or tall white plumes of hair I brought down the average age of the attendees quite a bit. I admittedly was excited for each performance, each time getting to hear some of my favorite pieces. It saddens me that many, though not all, members of my generation do not enjoy this genre of music or are unable to do so because of the cost. I realize that classical music is not everyone’s forte. Lord knows R&B is not my favorite, but that does not mean I do not appreciate or listen to it. Similarly, I would not be able to attend these concerts if I did not have access to free tickets through my internship. Though tickets are available for the same price as a movie, those are limited, and the price jumps from there. Financially, young people are unable to attend these events. Through my work in the arts, and in my personal life as well, I like to think that my efforts will somehow change this. Having been to Europe, I can say that their arts system, so to speak, is much more inviting. The State Opera House has standing room tickets available to even the most popular shows for less than five American dollars. The culture values live music, and therefore makes it available to more than the elite. I hope to see a change in this value of classical music and live performing in general throughout my time in the arts.

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