Classical Music

Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Edited by Michael Beckerman and Paul Boghossian


Classical Music

Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Edited by Michael Beckerman and Paul Boghossian

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Author Biographies

Preface Paul Boghossian

Introduction Michael Beckerman



The Enduring Value of Classical Music in the Western Tradition Ellen T. Harris and Michael Beckerman

The Live Concert Experience: Its Nature and Value Christopher Peacocke and Kit Fine

Education and Classical Music

Michael Beckerman, Ara Guzelimian, Ellen T. Harris, and Jenny Judge

Music Education and Child Development

Assal Habibi, Hanna Damasio, and Antonio Damasio

A Report on New Music Alex Ross

The Evolving Role of Music Journalism Zachary Woolfe and Alex Ross

The Serious Business of the Arts: Good Governance in Twenty-First-Century America

Deborah Borda

Audience Building and Financial Health in the Nonprofit

Performing Arts: Current Literature and Unanswered Questions (Executive Summary)

Francie Ostrower and Thad Calabrese

vii xi











Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Are Labor and Management (Finally) Working Together to Save the Day? The COVID-19 Crisis in Orchestras

Matthew VanBesien

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Injustice in the Classical Music Professions: A Call to Action

Susan Feder and Anthony McGill

The Interface between Classical Music and Technology Laurent Bayle and Catherine Provenzano







Expanding Audiences in Miami: The New World Symphony’s New Audiences Initiative

Howard Herring and Craig Hall

Attracting New Audiences at the BBC Tom Service

Contemporary Classical Music: A Komodo Dragon? New Opportunities Exemplified by a Concert Series in South Korea

Unsuk Chin and Maris Gothoni

The Philharmonie de Paris, the Démos Project, and New Directions in Classical Music

Laurent Bayle

What Classical Music Can Learn from the Plastic Arts Olivier Berggruen











List of Illustrations

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 1

Chapter 4

Aerial view of the brain from the top depicting white matter pathways connecting the left and the right hemisphere. Image from data collected as part of ongoing study at the Brain and Creativity Institute (2012-2020); post-processed by Dr. Hanna Damasio (2020), CC-BY-NC-ND.

Chapter 10

African American and Latinx representation in higher education music programs. Data drawn from National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) 2015-16 Heads Report. © NYU Global Institute for Advanced Study. CC-BY-NC-ND.

BIPOC musicians in community music schools. Data drawn from US Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey; National Guild for Community Arts Education Racial/Ethnic Percentages of Students Within Membership Organizations. © NYU Global Institute for Advanced Study. CC-BY-NC-ND.

Chapter 12

New World Symphony’s performance and research cycle for audience acquisition and engagement. Graphic by Howard Herring and Craig Hall (2012), © 2012, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.






Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Jamie Bernstein narrates during an Encounters concert 127 performed by the New World Symphony orchestra at the

New World Center. This video as well as the graphics and animations featured as performance elements within the

video were created in the Knight New Media Center at the

New World Center campus in Miami Beach, FL. Knight

Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining

classical music in the digital age. © 2020, New World

Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved. Duration: 1:35.

NWS Fellow, Grace An, gives an introduction during a 128 Mini-Concert (2012). New World Center, Miami Beach, FL.

Photo courtesy of New World Symphony. © 2012, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.

NWS Conducting Fellow, Joshua Gersen, leads Pulse—Late 129 Night at the New World Symphony. Photo by Rui Dias-Aidos

(2013), New World Center, Miami Beach, FL. © 2013, New

World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.

The chart indicates the variety of activities in which 130 audiences engage throughout Pulse—Late Night at the

New World Symphony. Research and results compiled by

WolfBrown in partnership with New World Symphony. © WolfBrown dashboard, All rights reserved.

Luke Kritzeck, Director of Lighting at NWS, describes the 131 technical production and audience experience of Pulse—Late

Night at the New World Symphony. The video, as well as the

video projections and lighting treatments featured within

this video, were created in the Knight New Media Center.

Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining classical music in the digital age. © 2020, New World

Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved. Duration: 1:49.

WALLCAST® concert outside the New World Center. 131 WALLCAST?® concerts are produced in the Knight New

Media Center at the New World Center campus. Photo by

Rui Dias-Aidos (2013), New World Center and SoundScape

Park, Miami Beach, FL. © 2013, New World Symphony, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

List of Figures

Clyde Scott, Director of Video Production at NWS, gives an overview of aspects of a WALLCAST® concert. This video as well as the WALLCAST® production featured in this video were produced in the Knight New Media Center. Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining classical music in the digital age. © 2020, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved. Duration: 2:49.

Percent of first-time attendees by concert format at New World Symphony. Graphic by Craig Hall (2015). © 2015, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.

First-time attendees to alternate performance formats at NWS return at a higher rate than first-time attendees to traditional concerts at NWS. Graphic by Craig Hall (2018). © 2018, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.

Blake-Anthony Johnson, NWS Cello Fellow, introduces

the symphony’s performance of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun drawing on his personal experience with the music to contextualize the piece for the audience. Video created in the Knight New Media Center. Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining classical music in the digital age. © 2020, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved. Duration: 15:15.

Project artists, contributors, and NWS staff members describe Project 305 and the culmination of the project in Ted Hearne and Jon David Kane’s symphonic documentary, Miami

in Movements. Project 305 was supported by the Knight Foundation. Video created in the Knight New Media Center. Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining classical music in the digital age. © 2017, Ted Hearne and Jon David Kane, Miami in Movements. © 2020, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved. Duration: 7:23.

Explore NWS’s 2018 Community Concerts conceived

and created by NWS musicians in an interactive video highlighting four projects. Video produced in the Knight New Media Center. Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining classical music in the digital age. Video features ‘Suite Antique’ by John Rutter © Oxford University Press 1981. Licensed by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. © 2020, New World Symphony, Inc. All rights reserved.







Fig. 1

Fig. 2 Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Chapter 14

ARS NOVA, Dress rehearsal for the Korean premiere of Pierre Boulez’ Notations pour orchestra. © 2008, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. CC-BY-NC-ND.

ARS NOVA, Korean premiere of John Cage’s Credo in the US. © 2008, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. CC-BY-NC-ND.

ARS NOVA, video installation of Hugo Verlinde. © Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. CC-BY-NC-ND.

ARS NOVA, preparations for the Korean premiere of Gyorgy

Ligeti’s ‘Poéme symphonique pour 100 metronomes”. © 2007, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. CC-BY-NC-ND. ARS NOVA, audiovisual installation inspired by Mauricio

Kagel’s movie ‘Ludwig van’. © 2006, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. CC-BY-NC-ND.






Author Biographies

Laurent Bayle is the General Manager of “Cité de la musique Philharmonie de Paris,” a public institution inaugurated in January 2015 and co-funded by the French State and the city of Paris. He started his career as Associate Director of the Théatre de |’Est lyonnais, and was then appointed General Administrator of the Atelier Lyrique du Rhin, an institution which fosters the creation of contemporary lyric opera. In 1982, he created and became the General Director of the Festival Musica in Strasbourg, an event dedicated to contemporary music and still successful today. In 1987, he was appointed Artistic Director of Ircam (the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination), then directed by Pierre Boulez, whom he would succeed in 1992. In 2001, he became General Manager of the Cité de la musique in Paris. In 2006, the Minister of Culture entrusted him with the implementation of the reopening of the Salle Pleyel and with the Mayor of Paris announced a project to create a large symphony hall in Paris. It marked the birth of a new public institution, “Cité de la musique Philharmonie de Paris,” a large facility including three concert halls, the Musée de la musique, an educational center focused on collective practice, and numerous digital music resources. In 2010, Laurent Bayle implemented a children’s orchestra project baptized Démos, a social and orchestral structure for music education in disadvantaged neighborhoods, a project developed throughout the national territory with the aim of reaching sixty orchestras by 2020. In April 2018, Laurent Bayle was entrusted with the successful mission of integrating the Orchestre de Paris into the Cité de la musique Philharmonie de Paris.

Paul Boghossian is Julius Silver Professor and Chair of Philosophy at New York University. He is also the Founding Director of its Global Institute for Advanced Study. He was previously Chair of Philosophy

xii Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

from 1994-2004, during which period the department was transformed from an MA-only program to being the top-rated PhD department in the country. He earned a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University and a B.Sc. in Physics from Trent University. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012, his research interests are primarily in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He is the author of Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism (Oxford University Press, 2006), which has been translated into thirteen languages; Content and Justification (Oxford University Press, 2008); and the recently published Debating the A Priori (with Timothy Williamson, Oxford University Press, 2020). In addition, he has published on a wide range of other topics, including aesthetics and the philosophy of music. At NYU since 1991, he has also taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Princeton University, the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and has served as Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Michael Beckerman is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor and Collegiate Professor of Music at New York University where he is Chair of the Department of Music. His diverse areas of research include Czech and Eastern European music; musical form and meaning; film music; music of the Roma; music and war; music in the concentration camps; Jewish music, and music and disability. He is author of New Worlds of Dvorak (W. W. Norton & Co., 2003), Janacek as Theorist (Pendragon Press, 1994), and has edited books on those composers and Bohuslav Martint. He is the recipient of numerous honors, from the Jandéek Medal of the Czech Ministry of Culture in 1988 to an Honorary Doctorate from Palacky University (Czech Republic) in 2014, and most recently the Harrison Medal from the Irish Musicological Society. For many years he wrote for The New York Times and was a regular guest on Live From Lincoln Center. From 2016-18 he was the Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Switzerland, Olivier Berggruen grew up in Paris before studying art history at Brown University and the Courtauld Institute of Art. As Associate Curator at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, he organized major retrospectives of Henri Matisse, Yves Klein, and Pablo Picasso, and he has lectured at institutions including the Frick

Author Biographies xiii

Collection, Sciences Po, and the National Gallery in London. In addition to editing several monographs, he is the author of The Writing of Art (Pushkin Press: 2011), and his essays have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, and Print Quarterly. He is an adviser to the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland and is a member of the board of Carnegie Hall.

Deborah Borda has redefined what an orchestra can be in the twenty- first century through her creative leadership, commitment to innovation, and progressive vision. She became President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic in September 2017, returning to the Orchestra’s leadership after serving in that role in the 1990s. Upon her return, she and Music Director Jaap van Zweden established a new vision for the Orchestra that included the introduction of two contemporary music series and Project 19, the largest-ever women composers’ commissioning initiative to celebrate the centennial of American women’s suffrage. Ms. Borda has held top posts at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She currently also serves as Chair of the Avery Fisher Artist Program.

The first arts executive to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence, her numerous honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Women in Classical Music Symposium (2020), invitation to join Oxford University’s Humanities Cultural Programme Advisory Council (2020), being named a Woman of Influence by the New York Business Journal (2019), and election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2018).

Thad Calabrese is an Associate Professor of Public and Nonprofit Financial Management at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University where he currently serves as the head of the finance specialization. Thad has published over thirty peer- reviewed articles and eight books on financial management, liability management, contracting, forecasting, and other various aspects of financial management in the public and nonprofit sectors. He currently serves on three editorial boards for academic journals. Prior to academia, he worked at the New York City Office of Management and Budget and as a financial consultant with healthcare organizations in New York City.

xiv Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Thad currently serves as the Treasurer for the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action, and also the Chair-Elect of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, which he also represents on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council.

Unsuk Chin is a Berlin-based composer. She is Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Seoul Festival in 2021, Artistic Director Designate of the Tongyeong International Music Festival in South Korea as well as Artistic Director Designate of the Weiwuying International Music Festival in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Antonio Damasio is Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy, and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Damasio was trained as both neurologist and neuroscientist. His work on the role of affect in decision-making and consciousness has made a major impact in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy. He is the author of several hundred scientific articles and is one of the most cited scientists of the modern era.

Damasio’s recent work addresses the evolutionary development of mind and the role of life regulation in the generation of cultures (see The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures (Random House, 2018-2019)). His new book Feeling and Knowing will appear in 2021. Damasio is also the author of Descartes’ Error (Avon Books, 1994), The Feeling of What Happens (Vintage, 2000), Looking for Spinoza (Mariner Books, 2003) and Self Comes to Mind (Vintage, 2012), which are translated and taught in universities worldwide.

Damasio is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received numerous prizes, among them the International Freud Medal (2017), the Grawemeyer Award (2014), the Honda Prize (2010), and the Asturias Prize in Science and Technology (2005); he holds Honorary Doctorates from several leading universities, some shared with his wife Hanna, e.g. the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 2011 and the Sorbonne (Université Paris Descartes), 2015.

Author Biographies xv

For more information go to the Brain and Creativity Institute website at and to https://www.antoniodamasio. com/.

Hanna Damasio M.D. is University Professor, Dana Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of Southern California. Using computerized tomography and magnetic resonance scanning, she has developed methods of investigating human brain structure and studied functions such as language, memory and emotion, using both the lesion method and functional neuroimaging. Besides numerous scientific articles (Web of Knowledge H Index is 85; over 40,620 citations), she is the author of the award-winning Lesion Analysis in Neuropsychology (Oxford University Press, 1990), and of Human Brain Anatomy in Computerized Images (Oxford University Press, 1995), the first brain atlas based on computerized imaging data.

Hanna is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Neurological Association and she holds honorary doctorates from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Universities of Aachen and Lisbon, and the Open University of Catalonia. In January 2011, she was named USC University Professor.

Kit Fine is a University Professor and a Julius Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics at New York University, specializing in Metaphysics, Logic, and Philosophy of Language. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. He has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Humboldt Foundation and is a former editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic. In addition to his primary areas of research, he has written papers in the history of philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and economic theory and has always had a strong and active interest in music composition and performance.

Susan Feder is a Program Officer in the Arts and Culture program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where since 2007 she has overseen grantmaking in the performing arts. Among the initiatives she has launched are the Foundation’s Comprehensive Organizational

xvi Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Health Initiative, National Playwright Residency Program, National Theater Project, and Pathways for Musicians from Underrepresented Communities. Earlier in her career, as Vice President of the music publishing firm G. Schirmer, Inc., she developed the careers of many leading composers in the United States, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. She has also served as editorial coordinator of The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (Oxford University Press, 1878-present) and program editor at the San Francisco Symphony. Currently, Feder sits on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts, Amphion Foundation, Kurt Weill Foundation, and Charles Ives Society, and is a member of the Music Department Advisory Council at Princeton University. She is the dedicatee of John Corigliano’s Pulitzer-Prize winning Symphony No. 2, Augusta Read Thomas’s Helios Choros, and Joan Tower’s Dumbarton Quintet.

Maris Gothoni is currently Head of Artistic Planning of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Norway. He is also Artistic Advisor Designate of the Tongyeong International Music Festival in South Korea, as well as Artistic Advisor Designate of the Weiwuying International Music Festival in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Ara Guzelimian is Artistic and Executive Director of the Ojai Festival in California, having most recently served as Provost and Dean of the Juilliard School in New York City from 2007 to 2020. He continues at Juilliard in the role of Special Advisor, Office of the President. Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006. He was also host and producer of the acclaimed “Making Music” composer series at Carnegie Hall from 1999 to 2008. Mr. Guzelimian currently serves as Artistic Consultant for the Marlboro Music Festival and School in Vermont. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Music Awards, the Artistic Committee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in London, and a board member of the Amphion and Pacific Harmony Foundations. He is also a member of the Music Visiting Committee of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

Ara is editor of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Pantheon Books, 2002), a collection of dialogues between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. In September 2003, Mr. Guzelimian was

Author Biographies xvii

awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his contributions to French music and culture.

Assal Habibi is an Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California. Her research takes a broad perspective on understanding music’s influence on health and development, focusing on how biological dispositions and music learning experiences shape the brain and development of cognitive, emotional and social abilities across the lifespan. She is an expert on the use of electrophysiologic and neuroimaging methods to investigate human brain function and has used longitudinal and cross-sectional designs to investigate how music training impacts the development of children from under-resourced communities, and how music generally is processed by the body and the brain. Her research program has been supported by federal agencies and private foundations including the NIH, NEA and the GRoW @ Annenberg Foundation, and her findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Cerebral Cortex, Music Perception, Neuroimage, and PLoS ONE. Currently, she is the lead investigator of a multi-year longitudinal study, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and their Youth Orchestra program (YOLA), investigating the effects of early childhood music training on the development of brain function and structure as well as cognitive, emotional, and social abilities. Dr. Habibi is a classically trained pianist and has many years of musical teaching experience with children, a longstanding personal passion.

Craig Hall worked at the New World Symphony (NWS) from 2007-2020, serving as Vice President for Communications and Vice President of Audience Engagement, Research and Design. During this time, NWS significantly developed its media and research programs, in addition to its audience, creative services and ticketing capacities. Throughout his career, Mr. Hall has sought to attract new audiences and increase engagement while developing an understanding and greater appreciation for classical music through a combination of program development, branding, creative and empathetic messaging, and patron services. Mr. Hall has also launched and developed extensive research programs to track NWS’s new audience initiatives, the results

xviii Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

of which have been shared in reports, publications and at conferences internationally.

Craig has been a featured presenter at conferences including the League of American Orchestras, Orchestras Canada and the Asociacion Espafiola de Orquestas Sinfonicas, and a guest lecturer for classes at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In his own community, he has served as guest speaker at the Miami Press Club, grant panelist for Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach, and as a Task Force Member of Miami-Dade County’s Miami Emerging Arts Leaders program.

Ellen T. Harris, ( B.A. ‘67 Brown University; M.A. ‘70, Ph.D. “76 University of Chicago, is Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus at MIT and recurrent Visiting Professor at The Juilliard School (2016, 2019, 2020). Her book, George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends (Norton, 2014) received the Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography (an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award). Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas (Harvard, 2001) received the 2002 Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society and the 2002-03 Louis Gottschalk Prize from the Society for Eighteenth- Century Studies. December 2017 saw the release of the thirtieth- anniversary revised edition of her book Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas. Articles and reviews by Professor Harris concerning Baroque opera and vocal performance practice have appeared in numerous publications including Journal of the American Musicological Society, Handel Jahrbuch, Notes, and The New York Times. Her article “Handel the Investor” (Music & Letters, 2004) won the 2004 Westrup Prize. Articles on censorship in the arts and arts education have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Aspen Institute Quarterly.

Howard Herring joined the New World Symphony (NWS) as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2001. His first charge was to guide the process of imagining and articulating a program for the long-term future of the institution. That program formed the basis for NWS’s new home, the New World Center (NWC). Designed by Frank Gehry, the NWC opened to national and international acclaim in 2011 and is a twenty- first-century laboratory for generating new ideas about the way music is taught, presented and experienced. A specific initiative of interest is

Author Biographies xix

WALLCAST® concerts capture and delivery of orchestral concerts on the primary facade of the NWC offered at the highest levels of sight and sound and for free. Now with over 1,150 alumni, NWS continues to expand its relevance in South Florida and beyond, winning new audiences and enhancing music education.

Mr. Herring is a native of Oklahoma. A pianist by training, he holds a bachelor of music degree from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree and honorary doctorate from Manhattan School of Music. He was the pianist of the Claremont Trio, a winner of the Artists International Competition, and an active musician and teacher in New York City. In 1986 he became Executive Director of the Caramoor Music Festival. During his fifteen-year tenure, he guided the creation of the Rising Stars Program for young instrumentalists and Bel Canto at Caramoor for young singers. During that period, Caramoor also celebrated its fiftieth Anniversary and established an endowment.

Jenny Judge is a philosopher and musician whose work explores the resonances between music and the philosophy of mind. She holds a PhD in musicology from the University of Cambridge and is currently completing a second doctoral dissertation in philosophy at NYU. An active musician and songwriter, Judge performs and records with jazz guitarist Ted Morcaldi as part of the analogue electronic / folk duo, ’Pet Beast”. Judge also writes philosophical essays for a general audience, exploring topics at the intersection of art, ethics and technology. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Aeon, Medium’s subscription site OneZero, and the Philosopher’s Magazine. Selections can be found at

Judge also works as a music writer. She regularly collaborates with flutist Claire Chase, most recently authoring an essay for the liner notes of Chase’s 2020 album ‘Density 2036: part v’.

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (The New York Times), clarinetist Anthony McGill enjoys a dynamic international solo and chamber music career and is Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic—the first African-American principal player in the organization’s history. In 2020, he was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards

xx Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

given in recognition of soloists who represent the highest level of musical excellence.

McGill appears regularly as a soloist with top orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. He was honored to perform at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece by John Williams and performing alongside Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gabriela Montero. In demand as a teacher, he serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College Conservatory of Music. He is Artistic Director for the Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School. In May 2020, McGill launched #TakeTwoKnees, a musical protest video campaign against the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice which went viral. Further information may be found at

Francie Ostrower is Professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Fine Arts, Director of the Portfolio Program in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship, and a Senior Fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. She is Principal Investigator of Building Audiences for Sustainability: Research and Evaluation, a six-year study of audience-building activities by performing arts organizations commissioned and funded by The Wallace Foundation. Professor Ostrower has been a visiting professor at IAE de Paris/ Sorbonne graduate Business School and is an Urban Institute-affiliated scholar. She has authored numerous publications on philanthropy, nonprofit governance, and arts participation that have received awards from the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Independent Sector. Her many past and current professional activities include serving as a board member and president of ARNOVA, and an editorial board member of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Christopher Peacocke is Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University in the City of New York, and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study in the University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He writes on the philosophy

Author Biographies xxi

of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology. He has been concerned in the past decade to apply the apparatus of contemporary philosophy of mind to explain phenomena in the perception of music. His articles on this topic are in the British Journal of Aesthetics and in the Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy, ed. by J. Levinson, T. McAuley, N. Nielsen, and A. Phillips-Hutton (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Catherine Provenzano is an Assistant Professor of Musicology and Music Industry at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Her scholarship focuses on voice, technology, mediation and labor in contexts of popular music production, with a regional specialty in North America. Catherine has conducted ethnographic research with software developers, audio engineers, music producers and artists in Los Angeles, Nashville, Silicon Valley and Germany. In addition to an article in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Catherine has presented research at meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, EMP PopCon, Indexical, The New School, Berklee College of Music and McGill University.

In 2019, Catherine earned her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from New York University. At NYU and The New School, Catherine has taught courses in popular music, critical listening, analysis of recorded sound and music and media. Her dissertation, “Emotional Signals: Digital Tuning Software and the Meanings of Pop Music Voices,” is a critical ethnographic account of digital pitch correction softwares (Auto-Tune and Melodyne), and their development and use in US Top 40 and hip- hop. She is also a singer, songwriter and performer under the name Kenniston, and collaborates with other musical groups.

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Harper, 2009), a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, the essay collection Listen to This (Fourth Estate, 2010), won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. In 2020 he published Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020), an account of the composer’s vast cultural impact. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

xxii Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

Tom Service broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television: programmes include The Listening Service and Music Matters on Radio 3, the BBC Proms and documentaries on television. His books about music are published by Faber, he wrote about music for The Scotsman and The Guardian for two decades, and he is a columnist for The BBC Music Magazine. He was the Gresham College Professor of Music in 2018-19, with his series, “A History of Listening”. His Ph.D, at the University of Southampton, was on the music of John Zorn.

Matthew VanBesien hasserved asthe President of the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan since 2017, becoming only the seventh president in UMS’s 142-year history. A 2014 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, UMS is a nonprofit organization affiliated with U-M, presenting over 80 music, theater, and dance performances, and over 300 free educational activities, each season.

Before his role in Michigan, he served as Executive Director and then President of the New York Philharmonic. Previously, Mr. VanBesien served as managing director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, following positions at the Houston Symphony as Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, and General Manager.

During his tenure at the New York Philharmonic, Matthew developed and executed highly innovative programs along with Music Director Alan Gilbert, such as the NY PHIL BIENNIAL in 2014 and 2016, the Art of the Score film and music series, and exciting productions such as Jeanne d’Arc au biicher with Marion Cotillard, and Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson. He led the creation of the New York Philharmonic’s Global Academy initiative, which offered educational partnerships with cultural institutions in Shanghai, Santa Barbara, Houston, and Interlochen to train talented pre-professional musicians, often alongside performance residencies. He led a successful music director search, with Jaap van Zweden appointed to the role beginning in 2018, the formation of the Philharmonic’s International Advisory Board and President’s Council, and the unique and successful multi-year residency and educational partnership in Shanghai, China.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Matthew earned a Bachelor of Music degree in French horn performance from Indiana University, and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music.

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He serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the International Society for the Performing Arts, and is a board member of Ann Arbor SPARK.

Zachary Woolfe has been the classical music editor at The New York Times since 2015. Prior to joining The Times, he was the opera critic of the New York Observer. He studied at Princeton University.


Paul Boghossian

In the 1973 movie, Serpico, there is a scene in which the eponymous hero, an undercover detective, is in his back garden in the West Village drinking some coffee and playing at high volume on his record player the great tenor aria from Act 3 of Tosca, “E lucevan le Stelle.” His neighbor, an appealing woman whom he doesn’t know and who, it is later revealed, works as a nurse at a local hospital, comes out to her adjoining garden and the following dialogue ensues over the low wall separating them:

Woman: “Is that Bjérling?” Serpico: “No, it’s di Stefano.” Woman: “I was sure it was Bjérling.”

They continue chatting for a while, after which she goes off to work. This is virtually the only scene in the film at which opera comes up and there is no stage-setting for it: the filmmakers were able simply to assume that enough moviegoers would know without explanation who Bjérling and di Stefano were.

If one were looking for a poignant encapsulation of how opera’s place in popular culture has shifted from the early 1970s to the 2020s, this would serve as well as any. Such a snippet of dialogue in a contemporary wide-release Hollywood movie would be unthinkable: with the exception of a few opera fanatics, no one would have any idea

1 Tam very grateful to Mike Beckerman for his prodigious efforts in helping run this project and edit the present volume. Many thanks, too, to Anupum Mehrotra, who provided administrative support, especially in the early stages. A very special debt of gratitude to Leigh Bond, the Program Administrator of the GIAS, without whose extraordinary judgment, organization, and firm but gentle coaxing, this volume would probably never have seen the light of day.

© Paul Boghossian, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 https: //

xxvi Classical Music: Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges

who these gentlemen were, or what it was that they were supposedly singing.

In the decades leading up to the 1970s, many opera stars, including di Stefano and Bjérling, appeared on popular TV programs sponsored by such corporate titans as General Motors and General Electric. Their romantic entanglements were breathlessly covered by the tabloid press. The National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) had its own orchestra, one of the very finest in the world, put together at great expense specifically for the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, who had to be wooed out of retirement to take its helm. For the first radio broadcast of a live concert conducted by Toscanini, in December of 1937, the programs were printed on silk to prevent the rustling of paper programs from detracting from the experience.

Not long after Serpico was released, opera—and classical music more generally—started its precipitous decline into the state in which we find it today: as an art form that is of cultural relevance to an increasingly small, increasingly aging, mostly white audience. The members of this audience mostly want to hear pieces that are between two hundred and fifty and one hundred years old, over and over again. The occasional new composition is performed, to be sure, but always by placing even heavier stress on ticket sales. (Research shows that ticket sales for any given concert are inversely proportional to the quantity of contemporary music that is programmed.) The youth show up in greater numbers for new compositions, but not their parents or grandparents, who make up the bulk of the paying public.

Classical music’s dire state of affairs is reflected in poor ticket sales at the major classical music institutions—for example, at the Metropolitan Opera and the NY Philharmonic, both of which have run deficits for many of their recent performing seasons. The contrast with its heyday in the 1960s could not be greater. The Met recently discovered in its archives a note from Sir Rudolf Bing, then the General Manager, which said, roughly: “The season has not yet started, and we have already sold out every seat to every performance to our subscribers. Could you please call some of them up and see if we can free up some single tickets to sell to the general public?” What a difference from the situation today, when the house is often barely half full. The sorry plight of classical music is also reflected in the large and increasing number of orchestra bankruptcies or lockouts. For many of these wonderful institutions,

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with their large fixed costs and declining revenues, already hugely financially fragile, the cancellation of months, and possibly years, of concerts induced by the current pandemic might well be the final blow.

It’s true, of course, that even prior to the current public health crisis, the “Netflixization” of entertainment had already had a major impact on the performing arts. So much content is available to be streamed into a person’s living room at the click of a button that the incentive to seek diversion outside the house has been greatly diminished in general. This has affected not only attendance at concerts, but also golf club memberships, applications for fishing licenses, and so on. However, classical music stands out for the extent to which it has lost the attention of the general public and so cannot be said to be merely part of a general decline in people seeking entertainment outside the home.

If further proof of this were wanted, one would only need to note the stark contrast between classical music and the current state of the visual arts. Problems caused by the current pandemic aside, museums nowadays are mostly flourishing, setting new attendance records on a frequent basis, and presenting blockbuster shows for which tickets are often hard to get. Most strikingly, the museums that are doing best are those that specialize in modern and contemporary art, rather than those which mostly showcase pre-twentieth-century art—in New York these days, the Museum of Modern Art outshines the Metropolitan Museum. So, whatever is going on in classical music, it’s not merely part of a general decline of interest in the fine arts.

All of this formed the backdrop against which I decided that it might be a good idea to convene a think tank, under the auspices of NYU’s Global Institute for Advanced Study, to study the phenomenon of classical music’s decline and to investigate ideas as to how its fortunes might be revived. I had early conversations with Kirill Gerstein, Jeremy Geffen, Toby Spence and Matthew VanBesien, all of whom were enthusiastic about the idea, and all of whom made useful suggestions about who else it would be good to invite and what issues we might cover. At NYU, I had the good fortune to be able to convince Michael Beckerman and Kit Fine to join as co-conveners of the think tank. Together