Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who loves classical music in Central Virginia?

While other genres of music take a front-page stance in Central Virgina, it seems classical music doesn't get a whole lot of press. Reviewers for classical music performances in Central Virginia seem juvenile, at best; non-existent, at worst. Do people read this stuff? Do they care? Who cares about classical music in Central Virginia?

Certainly, the performers care. I'm no longer a "performer" but I guess I qualify as talent as a radio announcer and classical music director for WTJU. I spent decades studying classical music, and I do care. The other announcers at WTJU care, too - but who else is out there? Do classical music performers want or need reviewers? Do reviews raise standards, increase interest, or matter?

Another opinion that exists is that Central Virginia is an incubator for musicians, providing learning experiences for singers (i.e, Ash Lawn), collegiate students (Chamber Music Society), and opportunities for amateur locals (Oratorio Society). Does this part of the world want more?

Yet another notion crops up: can we afford it? I hear people bemoan the cost of concert tickets at certain venues, and I can understand both sides. Having been a performer, I can tell you, I didn't see a whole lot of the money coming out of the price of concert tickets. It's one of the reasons I'm no longer a professional performer! There are far smarter people out there who can dissect a concert ticket into it's parts - but I promise, the vast majority of performers don't take home more than 20% of that money. Perhaps having this "incubator" status helps to keep prices down. We don't expect a whole lot in the process. For those that want the more elite performers, paying the price tag isn't so much of a burden. I'll be interested in seeing the audience size for the upcoming Emanuel Ax performance at the Paramount. Not that I don't love him and what he can do - but does Central Virginia?

And, the last part of this little desperate query: will even this blog fail because most of the classical music lovers in Central Virginia don't use the internet? Tweeting, using FB, etc. hasn't generated a whole lot of interest so far - is that because those interested parties get their information in another way?

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