Help me come up with 100 Things to Do in Classical Music Before You Die

September 13, 2012 at 08:49 PM · I've written a full blog about it here:

I'm taking suggestions for a grand list we're making here at of 100 things to do in Classical Music before you die, and I need your suggestions! I think it should include all kinds of things: orchestras to see, pieces to hear, famous places to visit, related literature, etc. etc. I see it as something more for audience members than for musicians, just a list of things that a person in general should do to really experience classical music.

Replies (23)

September 14, 2012 at 12:09 AM · Establish a reputation for classical music, other than one that classifies it as 'boring' for most.

And remove the 'classical music is *all* slow and relaxing from everyone's (including ourselves) infinitely ignorant minds.

End of rant.

September 14, 2012 at 01:08 AM · Visit the Musikverein Golden Hall in Vienna for a concert. Amazing acoustics, atmosphere, architecture - the whole experience is just incredible and unforgettable.

You could probably add quite a few additional Vienna related things to the "100 list" - including hearing the Wiener Philharmoniker live, visiting the Zentralfriedhof where so many famous composers and musicians are buried, go to the Haydnhaus in Gumpendorf, Vienna - one of my favourite composer houses... so much to consider!

September 15, 2012 at 02:02 AM · Play a Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven string quartet.

September 15, 2012 at 02:14 AM · I love what A G said.

September 15, 2012 at 07:38 AM · I could care less what stupid people think about classical music...

September 15, 2012 at 08:52 AM · I just read that this post was more audience-driven, for whatever reason. I can't think of classical music in a passive way. Whenever I hear it, I think of all the ways I want to make it for myself.

September 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Take a nap under a grand piano while someone plays someone like Liszt. This was in a University Dormitory.

I have also slept under a much older spinet that was later restored and placed in a prestigious museum, but no one was playing it as I slept. This was in a old Dogtrot House.

One thing to avoid if you can is sitting in front of the timpani while playing the Euphonium in a Junior High School Band; Boom, boom, boom-boom.

September 15, 2012 at 02:20 PM · Play Brahms op. 8 (with both second movements) again.

Play a cycle with one of my favorite super-conductors in a great orchestra.

Play a sonata with Mitsuko Uchida or Emanuel Ax.

Play solo Bach by a river at dawn.

September 15, 2012 at 04:57 PM · Join a choir.

September 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM · Yes, I'm looking to provide people a list of great things they can do, not really change how anyone thinks. Of course, by broadening people's experiences in classical music, I'm pretty certain people will simultaneously broaden their knowledge and feelings about the subject. But I like the idea of having a list of really cool things that a person can do!

September 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM · Thanks to the ongoing and seemingly neverending revolution in recording technology, I'd like to have the recordings available to string together - one after the other - the most famous technical and melodic excerpted passages from the great concertos and sonatas and short pieces by various violinists. For example, the great main theme from the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto as played by Huberman, Oistrakh, Heifetz, Francescatti, Milstein, Menuhin, Bell, Kogan, Hahn, etc. - one after the other like a string of pearls. And then I'd like to use those to help the average listener really hear how different all of these artists are, and how each can make the same piece sound almost like a different piece. I've done that on a smaller scale on occasion over the years in brief talks with audiences who had many who knew little about classical music and even didn't care for it, and their ears perk up.

September 16, 2012 at 03:02 AM · Watch the El Sistema documentary.

See the Simon Bolivar Orchestra live.

See John Williams conduct a live concert of his music

September 16, 2012 at 01:49 PM · Listen to an a capella renaissance performance (e.g. Ockeghem, Orlando di Lassus, Josquin des Prez, Byrd etc.) in an old cathedral in Europe.

The Reims cathedral is out of this world.

September 16, 2012 at 07:46 PM · Busk in downtown NYC (or major city of your choice.)

Conduct a major orchestra.

Play a Stradivarius or Guarnarius with a Torte bow.

September 16, 2012 at 08:05 PM · Play in one of the three onstage orchestras in Mozart's Don Giovanni

September 16, 2012 at 08:07 PM · Prepare a piano quartet with a coach who plays the piano, cello, viola and violin parts (not simultaneously of course) on the violin, viola and piano.

September 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM · Attend a concert in Chartres Cathedral with a Paris Gregorian choir, a brass quintet, and famous Parisian organist.

See Yehudi Menuhin in Live concert.

See Itzhak Perlman live. Get his autograph.

See Igor Kipnis play harpsichord in person.

Wait... I've already done all of those. Now there's nothing left. OK< maybe I could play more concerts, myself. :-)

September 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Well, for audiences members, their "bucket list" should defintitely include hearing ME, live and buying my CD's ;-D

For myself, I'd love to have the opportunity to try many of the purportedly greatest Strads and del Gesus. One thing I had wanted to do and DID do a year ago is see where it all more or less began, and make a pilgrimage to Cremona. Please vist my blog here on that subject. I'd also want the opportunity to perform as a soloist in many of the world's greatest concert halls.

On a more personal level, with or w.o. public performance, I'd like to form a permanent chamber music group and go through seriously (with some personal practice by each member and up to a few rehearsals, not just splap-dash, "well, we got through it somehow") some of the greatest chamber music literature, including all the Beethoven quartets.

BTW, I agree with AG above. I also have had a bit of a bugaboo when lay people have told me, thinking it was a sincere compliment that classical music is "relaxing". Yes, classical and any other music that we like can help reduce stress - my car radio has saved my sanity in many a traffic jam. But obviuosly classical music is so much more than an anodyne. It can be very engaging, uplifting - even disturbing. I haven't spent my life trying to just "relax" people. If you want to relax, take a valium. OK, that may be a bit harsh, but stil... Is Shakespeare "relaxing"? Or Dickens, or Proust? I'd like to play for such folks say the opening of the Brahms first symphony or his first piano concerto...are we relaxed yet? OK, my own rant is over!

I also like what Patrick said re the piano. I have a beautiful old grand piano at home, but I'm a permanent beginer at the piano. I'd love to have a real pianist come and play some Bach, Schubert and Chopin for me while I sit or lay, not under the piano but on my couch. It would be so relax - oops!

September 18, 2012 at 07:25 PM · Relaxing? Hah! Give 'em the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 4. (Or most of his other stuff, for that matter.)

September 19, 2012 at 04:41 PM · Well, for audiences members, their "bucket list" should defintitely include hearing ME, live and buying my CD's ;-D

When are you coming to Austin? I might even drive to Waco...


September 19, 2012 at 05:29 PM · Austin has several nice places to play and a very active music scene, including classical / Art music.

September 19, 2012 at 05:45 PM · -witness the making of an instrument first hand

-make an instrument

-invent an instrument

-buy an instrument

-sell an instrument

-play an instrument from each instrument family

-play an ethnic instrument

-hear an ethnic instrument in concert

-attend a concert

-attend an outdoor concert

-attend an opera

-attend a baroque concert

-play in an orchestra

-play in a chamber group

-sing in a choir

-sing in the shower

-tell a viola joke

-make a few bucks playing an instrument (wedding/gigs/busking)

-make a cd of your own playing

-write a piece of music by hand

-get an autograph from a famous musician

-take a picture with a famous musician

September 19, 2012 at 09:52 PM · John and Patrick - I'd be very happy to perform in your areas! If you or anyone you know is a concert presenter or manager, let's get the ball rolling!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA Shopping Guide Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine