Editorialby Wah Keung Chan
/ September 1, 2001
A Song of Hope
for Classical Music.?
orman Lebrecht, noted music columnist, sounds the alarm with his “Requiem for the classical record” that appeared recently in La Scena Musicale Online. He reports that major labels now shun new recording projects.
Budgets are being slashed in most recording studios, and Tower Records wavers on
the brink of bankruptcy.
The Internet, once the great hope for artists and the arts, suffers from a withering drought of new investment. The public responds with cynicism about subscriptions to online music and e-commerce in general.
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra offers a concert version of Elektra to huge acclaim, only to learn that its high cost then forces cuts to many of the orchestra's future choral programs. It seems a dry month in a dry season.
The longer term looks scarcely better. The audience for classical music relentlessly ages, while young people bend their ear to other musical forms for reflection, serenity, ecstasy, and nihilism. Zeitgeist or demography.? Received opinion holds that the educational system fails to lay down any cultural foundation for our youth — a situation that goes back for years. No easy fixes anywhere.
But, as the greatest works tell us, even in adversity all is not lost. Music-making itself lives. Live performances continue to abound, as musicians cry their love of music to a public that still wants to hear. The number of concerts in La Scena's calendar listings equals that of last year. The times call for new ways to bring the makers of music and the lovers of music together — with an emphasis on young people, those who carry the flame.
La Scena Musicale was launched five years ago amidst such uncertainty, with a mission to inform, educate, and inspire. To promote classical music meant to reach beyond the experts to the public, to inflame the imagination of each interested reader, from novice to professional musician.
La Scena Musicale was born humbly, with limited financial resources. Today it still lives, using a humble apartment for an office and mailing out its copies by hand. We survived the difficult first five years through the efforts of a dedicated team of volunteers and staff, reinforced by the positive feedback of our readers.
As we celebrate our 5th anniversary, we embark upon a fundraising and awareness campaign to ensure that as long as there is music worthy of intelligent and joyful listening, La Scena Musicale will continue to tell its stories.
To all new and loyal readers, welcome to the sixth year of La Scena Musicale.
Wah Keung Chan,