There’s a lot of re-thinking going on among those of us whose work it is to present classical music. I was interested to see an article about “The Last Night of the Proms” show up in today’s ArtsJournal online. It looks like we in radio are not alone in the question of how (or whether) to “fix” the presentation of classical music, an act saddled with traditions presenters must constantly choose to obey or ignore.
The article in today’s The Guardian poses the question, “How would you fix the Proms?” to a variety of music professionals and broadcasters in the UK. Their answers range from “I think it should stay exactly the way it is. Last Nights, like first sorrows, are essential…” to “It’s just an embarrassing disaster…
…The Last Night doesn’t represent the rest of the festival, and yet most people assume there’s flag-waving every night of the season. Get rid of it, and the awful mixed-bag programme.”
I’d be very interested to know your reactions to the ideas presented in the article, as they have much to do with this nagging question about the future of classical music and what audiences really want from their concert-going and radio listening experiences. What should we keep? What should we scrap? How do we successfully present new music? At what point does “tradition” read “stale”? Is it inviting or a turn-off when “serious music” exhibits a not-so-serious side? Share your thoughts, please.
By the way, you can hear a live broadcast on WDAV of the concert in question. It airs Saturday, September 9 at 2:30 p.m. Bring your flag?