The Musicians Are Coming! The Musicians Are Coming!



So, President Barack and First Lady Michelle welcomed musicians to the White House a couple of weeks ago (November 4) as part of a classical music outreach of sorts. Now the reports are in. Here is a funny article from the LA Times Culture Monster Blog recounting how President Obama warmed up the crowd. Here is a review of the actual event from The Washington Post. Also, on CCM pianist Awadagin Pratt's website (yup, he was one of the high-profile musicians performing!), there is a video of the afternoon performance. And for those who are wondering, he is the second person from the left in the photo above. One thing that caught my ears - Michelle Obama's introduction in the above video (2:20 into it). Many of the beautiful concertos and sonatas you're playing today were written hundreds of years ago, long before CDs and computers and MP3 players were ever invented. The only reason we know what they sound like is because the great composers of history scratched those notes into parchment with quill pens. But today you can play these same notes on an electric violin, you can write your own variations of these songs online and email them around the world; you can mix and blend your instruments in ways that beethoven and mozart never could have imagined. That's what makes classical music timeless, because even though it's been around for centuries, musicians like all of you are always reinterpreting and replaying it in ways that we've never heard before and that makes it so exciting. And here I got really frustrated: why aren't they playing some new American music? Like something accessible? Kids are the best audience, especially according to this study, which states that once you hit the age of 35, you're not going to care about ANY TYPE of new music. At the same time, I understand Colin Holter's point of view when it comes to showcasing music to the Plebians. The fact is, this was a concert geared toward the Muggles. Yes, you heard that right. We musicians may have to explain to them what "classical" music is and why we don't have to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Muggles probably haven't been introduced to that much classical music, and therefore we must have concerts like this. This isn't ideal, but that's how it is. Which is why this concert should have had a new piece of music on it. Maybe a couple pieces of new music. Like, I'm sure there are kids out there writing music. I've seen it happen.

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