Music, School of
Date of this Version
The mass media abound with tales of fundamental change in the world of classical music. A New York Times article on the crisis in the classical compact disc (CD) industry reports that, after a transient rise in sales during the 1980s, classical CDs' market share dropped to an all-time low of 2.9 percent. There are also frequent reports of funding woes that have reduced and, in some instances, put an end to entire orchestras. A string of articles in the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers has chronicled the seismic shift from classical to mass-media-oriented music in churches, where a sizeable percentage of today's classical musicians formed their musical tastes and were offered their first opportunities to perform. Enthusiasm for public school swing choirs in some places has eclipsed the preeminent stature of traditional choral ensembles. In a January 1997 National Public Radio interview on All Things Considered, Edward Rothstein, cultural critic at large for the New York Times, discussed an article in which he had suggested that much classical music did not speak to the mythic images of today's listeners and would therefore play a much reduced role in U.S. culture in the future.
Published in Music Educators Journal, Vol. 84, No. 4, (Jan., 1998), pp. 17-20. Copyright 1998. Used by permission.