In September, violinist Philippe Quint conducted an experiment. He took a microphone out on the streets of New York City and asked about 30 random young people what they thought about classical music.
The results were rather sobering.
His first question was, simply, "What music do you listen to?"
"Out of approximately 30 people interviewed, not one person mentioned classical music as their choice," Quint said. Some of the answers included: hip-hop, rock, house music, dubstep, rap, alternative, R and B, jazz fusion, electronic music, pop, metal, trap music, Bollywood music....
When asked if they were familiar with classical music, many were not familiar with it at all, and some had never heard of the names Beethoven, Mozart or Bach.
"In our generation people don't really listen to (classical music) because I don't know where they would go to hear it," one young woman said. "If somebody gave me a ticket to a classical music concert I'd definitely go, but it's not something I'd think to buy for myself."
Another mentioned that "You turn on the radio, and that's not what's going to come on, you have to really search for the station that is playing it."
The upshot? We have a long way to go, to promote classical music.
"Even though we have folks who are tireless supporters for arts and education, I feel that many, many more must join forces to prevent complete extinction of classical music," Quint said. "Chances are that the kids of those kids I interviewed won't even know that classical music ever existed. That IS scary."
Here is Quint's video, "Violinist interviews New Yorkers about Classical Music":
You might also like:
My greatest exposure to classical music outside of violin lessons was the old Looney Tune cartoons. They were loaded with some of the most popular pieces!
Stunning results, all, but we know this. Classical audiences are made up of elders, by and large. Young people don't listen, don't attend. But then, they also don't read. The dumbing down of society inexorably marches on. So the question is: In 100 years, will classical be to music what Chaucer is to literature?
I just wrote "Death in classical music: making friends with the unfriendly." Perhaps the next research should be on the Death of Classical Music, but for the fact that this phenomenon has been fairly widely-covered......
If you performed that interview in CT, and the interviewee were to say that there isn't any classical on the radio, she would be lying. WMNR, WSHU, WPPB and WNPR all play classical music on their networks, as do some others in the Hartford area.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Violinist.com Summer Music Programs Directory
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine
November 24, 2015 at 10:24 PM · I think it's about exposure. How to expose people to classical music besides that obscure college radio station that only plays classical after 7pm. Free concerts are great but musicians need to eat. I explained a little about counterpoint to my 13 yr old son and then played him the Bach double and it blew his my mind , He still listens to Zepplin , and so do I, but I know the seed has been planted, he will eventually explore classical music. As a side note I just want to say that Philippe , you rock!! I meet with you after your Sibelius performance in Springfield Ma. and Thank you, were very kind, gracious and approachable. It was a most memorable evening ,If more people were exposed to your Paganini encore , well, I'm sure it would only be a positive