Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News from Neely

Of course when I announced I would be blogging three or four times a week, because I had hit my stride, I entered a complete creative fit. Said fit, which involves finishing my orchestra piece Antiphonies for Charlie (more about that very soon), and my duties as the current chair of the Music Department at Wesleyan, plus getting ready to conduct Henry Brant’s Flight Over a Global Map — all of these things conspire to put a damper on my blogging. However, I should write something, if for not other reason than my Blogger account was evidently hacked (one hopes by mistake) and I had to reset my password!

There is no end of stuff to write about, of course. But I have just read an article entitled “America’s orchestras are in crisis” by Philip Kennicott, in the New Republic, August 25, 2013. Here’s what I just wrote on Facebook:

“As usual, this latest jeremiad about the crisis of the orchestra (or the opera house or chamber music, etc.) is all about the symptoms and says nothing about the cause. When what I'll call ‘serious music’ was taken out of the curriculum of most public schools in the 1950s the stage was set for one crisis or another. Imagine the state of mathematics if our schools took math out of the curriculum, or made it an after-school elective! We would be desperately trying all sorts of stopgaps to 'interest the young,' 'interest the person on the street,' 'make math fun,' etc. And of course all of this would fail, because the real problem is — we have created, systematically, over the last 60 years, a less-educated public. And anyone who doubts that we have a less-educated public isn't paying attention.

There! I’ve gotten that off my chest. Back to work on Antiphonies for Charlie.

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