Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Penguins and princesses

My blog buddy Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, the French concert pianist, has an interesting post today about the endless struggle these days "to make classical music cool."

Let us pause for a moment while I savor these words: "my blog buddy Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, the French concert pianist."

I love the Internet.

I love my life!

Where was I? Pierre-Arnaud's blog. I should say "Web log." It is more elegant and that is what I have been doing in the last few days.

Pierre-Arnaud says that musicians love to see people dressed like penguins. And he is a pianist so you can take it from him! Read what he has to say here.

The dress, be it the artist or the public, is a way to communicate. Both communicate their mutual respect to each other through the sartorial code. When one knows how easy it is to slip into a dress or a suit, it would be a shame not to do so.

That is so French!

He would have loved Muza Rubackyte, the Lithuanian pianist at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra over the weekend. That gown she wore!! It was like something out of "Eugene Onegin." I was not reviewing the concert for the paper that night and I am glad I was not, because I would have had to mention that gown. And then you always get emails: "Why are you mentioning what the pianist wore? If the pianist were a man would you have been mentioning how he dressed?" Blah, blah, blah!

The thing is, I was looking at Miss Rubackyte thinking, she looks more beautiful than any soloist I have ever seen on stage at Kleinhans Music Hall! And there is something to admire in that.

I was hoping to find a photo of Miss Rubackyte in her gown but I could not. But that is a picture of her up above.

We do a lot of kidding around on this blog. Really, this is not all about looks and clothes. It is about maintaining the tradition of music, and whether you believe it is worth maintaining.

I am always hearing from my editors and everyone about this business about attracting younger audiences. And I realize I always begin feeling defensive. Rightly or wrongly, I detect an element of blame: You people are behind, you don't like change (that is a favorite), etc. etc.

And as I wrote a few days ago I have nothing against concerts that mix things up a little. But I do not want them to become the norm.

I do not want to lose what I have!

I have a theory as to why the audience for classical music is not bigger. Well, it is not my theory exactly. It is Noam Chomsky's.

Once I went to hear Noam Chomsky speak and I am no big fan of Noam Chomsky but I admire his intellect. And one thing he said stuck in my mind: that only a tiny percentage of people, like 1 percent, think about anything.

He said: "The other 99 percent either watch TV or do nothing at all."

I think if there is a problem that has to be addressed, it is that.

It's not us!


  1. Prof. Schuft...I mean G.April 7, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    Just to cage rattle:

    Bum and barfly poet Charles Bukowski used to listen to classical music all the time on the radio. Somewhere, I think in one of his poems, he wrote about going to a concert...once. He looked at the elegant gilded hall, the beautiful gowns, the men in the audience in tuxes, the performers all in formal dress, and decided that the only thing that didn't belong there was the music being played.

    I keep waiting to see someone call for a return to formal dress codes for arts events, like how you don't show your face in a biker bar without wearing the proper duds.

  2. Oh my goodness, now I know why I'm a perfect fit at the BPO. PENGUINS! :)

    She was stunningly beautiful, the gown was to die for...and she was AMAZING. I really enjoyed the concert...

  3. Since yesterday, I'm putting pressure on my agent so I can play in Buffalo :-) and I promise you will have something to write about my dress. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye!

  4. Pierre-Arnaud, that would be great if you came to Buffalo! It is a beautiful city. Make your agent arrange so you can be here a few days. You would have a great time here.