Back from the center of the classical music universe

Joe Horowitz watches the Hugo Wolf Quartett play at Le Poisson Rouge.

Joe Horowitz watches the Hugo Wolf Quartett play at Le Poisson Rouge.

I just returned from the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera and the experience left me energized in ways I didn’t anticipate. Before going to New York, I knew I would experience some of the best music in the world – the London Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, the list of concerts we attended was long and varied.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, were the numerous smart, passionate, and talented people I was surrounded by on a day to day basis. There were times when I felt and knew I was out of my league, but the presence of so much talent and knowledge inspired me to do my best and will continue to inspire me long into the future.

People who fret about the demise of arts journalism should find solace in the NEA and Columbia University’s efforts to bring up a new generation of music writers. Music journalism isn’t dying but it is changing and it was a pleasure and an honor for me to participate in the NEA’s unique program.

Now that I am back there is a much to do. There are concerts to write about and panels to co-moderate. I want to invite everyone to a Chamber vs. Chamber event at the Sorrento Hotel on November 7, 2009. At this particular Chamber vs. Chamber presentation we will discuss the connections and the splits between Indie music and classical music. I am joining Mark Baumgarten, my former Sound editor and now editor of City Arts. Mark knows popular music and I know classical music and we get along.

The Chamber vs. Chamber event is premised on the argument that classical music is losing its relevance while indie bands like Grizzly Bear and others are incorporating classical music sensibility into their music. I disagree with this premise. A cursory review of the classical music scene tells and different story and a closer examination of popular music influences shows classical music has influenced and is connected to popular music.

It should be an interesting conversation, one I am looking forward to having. Come on out to the event if you can. If you can’t I hope you will continue to read this blog.

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