For Downtown Clubs, the Uptown Classical – New York Times

For Downtown Clubs, the Uptown Classical – New York Times

“It’s not true that young people don’t like classical music,” said Richard S. Weinert, president of Concert Artists Guild, which is presenting this German-based quartet, QNG. “Young people don’t like recital halls.”

That’s one of the reasons that early on it was decided that the New Orleans New Music Ensemble (NO-NME) would only play venues that had a bar in the same room as the stage. I guess the drinking habit of the musicians and conductor might have had something to do with that as well.

Lately cellist Helen Gillette has been playing Cafe Brasil on Frenchmen St and other venues that don’t usually have cellists. It’s pretty cool.

Good music in places where people like to hang out. What a novel concept.

1 thought on “For Downtown Clubs, the Uptown Classical – New York Times

  1. What I thought was interesting in this NYTimes article on classical music in popular places was the greater interest in standard classical fare than in music by living composers. The established & known versus the uncertain unfamiliar. A parallel: I went into a popular, small club on Frenchmen one night to see a popular band play nostalgic jazz. Across the street at a larger club, a band led by a very busy, very serious composer played its book of new tunes with angular, asymmetrical rhythms. The nostalgic band played to an audience of severall genders. The women wore nostalgic dresses that might have lived in thrift stores since the day they went out of style. The men danced with them. Sometimes the women danced together. The tip jar overflowed.

    On the other side of the street, while the band played some severely rhythmic music, no one was dancing. The room, while it was larger, and contained an equal number of genders, only about five people, restricted in gender to male, listened intently.

    It was all jazz but the scenes could scarcely have been more different. In part, it’s the the romance of the older music, the sexiness of dancing close, decollatage & love lyrics.

    The composers of all of the music played by the nostalgic band were dead and legendary; the composer of the angular music was alive and playing guitar.

    The point being that it’s still rare for audiences to really challenge themselves because the familiar is how we identify certain things. Old habits die old.

    (Sidebar: I don’t know how to change that, but if you had some serious students of modren (pardon my yat) dance out there, you’d have dancers to odd metered music. People who can dance to the sound of an oil can rolling down the street.)

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