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Thread: Why do critics think that American minorities are causing the death of orchestras?

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Default Why do critics think that American minorities are causing the death of orchestras?

    I was skimming over this article by Lebrecht here: http://standpointmag.co.uk/music-jul...a-philharmonic

    And I caught wind of the following statement: "America’s growing minorities resented European culture and shunned the concert hall. Programming got safe and stale, managers were stubbornly white, and musicians, fearful of a shrinking future, demanded greater security. In 2000, the Chicago Symphony broke the bank with a $100,000 starting wage for new players, fresh out of college."

    What threw me off is that there is a assumption that minorities in America don't like European culture?!?

    Interestingly enough, being Asian-American, I find this to be pretty absurd and a huge assumption. In fact, my personal experience enjoys both Western and Eastern cultures.

    So I'm trying to figure out where Lebrecht got that idea he states from? Clues? Ideas?

    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
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    Senior Member Cosmos's Avatar
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    Sounds like a generalization to me. I mean the crowds going to concerts in my city are pretty diverse, with the expected majority being white.

    I guess it's just the author trying to point to whatever he can to explain the decrease in ticket sales. I think a better reason is economic, and that younger generations aren't as interested in classical as older ones [oh look, now I'm making generalizations]

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    Do "American" Americans like European culture?

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    dogen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proms Fanatic View Post
    Do "American" Americans like European culture?
    Do "American" Americans like culture?

    {ducks behind sofa...}

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    Do "American" Americans like culture?
    Out where I live, we love culture! Especially the big-budget ones with a lot of car chases and things blowing up. And after, a nice cold brewski, or three.


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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Out where I live, we love culture! Especially the big-budget ones with a lot of car chases and things blowing up. And after, a nice cold brewski, or three.
    We must live in the same town.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Out where I live, we love culture! Especially the big-budget ones with a lot of car chases and things blowing up. And after, a nice cold brewski, or three.
    Just three? Over here we'll be puttin' away a case of PBR and listenin' to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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    Most AMerican classical music is lame there are few composers that made great music like,Gershwin,Price,Beach,Joplin & do not know others.American seem to not surpass those more popular composers.

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    I know that trying to defend Lebrecht is a mug's game, but I think the thread title "Why do critics think that American minorities are causing the death of orchestras?" is doing him a big disservice. His reference to minorities was just one aspect of what he thought the problem was, and actually because he also says "managers were stubbornly white", a much stronger case can be made that he sees the fault not in minorities but in orchestras' failure to engage with minorities.

    That said, the word "resented" is a very odd choice; assuming that by "European culture" he means "high culture of European origin", I could understand if he'd said minorities were uninterested in it. That would make sense to me: if my cultural background is one that isn't European, and now I'm engaging with an American culture that, let's face it, by and large has no interest in high culture, then there's no particular reason why I should be interested in the world of classical music. Sure, maybe I will be, because of course there will be individual exceptions; but the point is that - actually regardless of whether we're talking about minorities - the assumption that people will naturally aspire to become classical music listeners is not a sound one any more (if it ever was).

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    Looks like a recent post from Lebrecht and he's responded to comments. Someone can ask him why he thinks this way. (Not me. I don't care.)

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    But isn't that assuming that classical music is high culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    I know that trying to defend Lebrecht is a mug's game, but I think the thread title "Why do critics think that American minorities are causing the death of orchestras?" is doing him a big disservice. His reference to minorities was just one aspect of what he thought the problem was, and actually because he also says "managers were stubbornly white", a much stronger case can be made that he sees the fault not in minorities but in orchestras' failure to engage with minorities.

    That said, the word "resented" is a very odd choice; assuming that by "European culture" he means "high culture of European origin", I could understand if he'd said minorities were uninterested in it. That would make sense to me: if my cultural background is one that isn't European, and now I'm engaging with an American culture that, let's face it, by and large has no interest in high culture, then there's no particular reason why I should be interested in the world of classical music. Sure, maybe I will be, because of course there will be individual exceptions; but the point is that - actually regardless of whether we're talking about minorities - the assumption that people will naturally aspire to become classical music listeners is not a sound one any more (if it ever was).
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

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    Quote Originally Posted by Proms Fanatic View Post
    Do "American" Americans like European culture?
    Do Europeans like American culture? Most I have talked to, or heard from, pretty much treat it with disdain, when they even acknowledge it exists. Why, then, should Americans be expected to show deference to European culture? No offense, but unlike most of Europe, America was founded by people fleeing Europe and European culture. Yes - there are great aspects of it. From it we have the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Western literature, Western Classical music. But they also gave us religious persecution, the feudal system, aristocracy, monarchy and slavery (yes, American slavery was a holdover from the slavery introduced to our continent by our European ancestors).

    I like the good aspects of European culture.

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    I suspect that appreciation for Western European arts (which is really what we are talking about here, and not really culture in its broader sense) has much more to do with income and education level than it does with race. It happens that minorities in general tend to be lower on the economic and educational scale, and thus likely have less interest in such things, as is also the case, in general, with "white" or European-heritage Americans, who are lower on the economic and educational scale. A white person with less than a high school education living in squalor in rural Appalachia is likely to have just as little interest in the latest staging of Wagner's Ring cycle at the Met as a black inner-city high school dropout.

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    The American culture I know about tends to be popular culture, and it may work vice versa. We don't always explore what isn't thrown handily across our path - or I don't, I'm ashamed to say.

    But America is so vast it contains large numbers representing every viewpoint. When looking into some abstruse point of cultural interest, I often find that the experts are either American or German. I am very interested in the folk culture of Britain and Ireland, and it was a nineteenth century American scholar, Francis Child, who took the trouble to collect the Traditional Ballads:


    I can't think that the death of orchestras can be blamed on the lack of interest of any particular group. Economic reasons and the availability of classical music via the media and internet seem more likely.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Jun-29-2015 at 20:20.
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    Also why is Norman singling out minorities? Why specifically those guys?
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

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