London’s Classical Revolution

London, The Arts

How I caught up with this so late is a mystery. It seems there’s clearly a movement to reinvigorate classical music in this city at the moment. I started noticing events at unusual venues like the Village Underground in Hoxton (the one with the tube train on top of it) and now at the Roundhouse, with performers like the Aurora Orchestra, The Night Shift and the London Contemporary Orchestra. Out with stuffy concert halls and overpriced tickets, in with funky, relaxed value-for-money venues.

The idea is to present visionary music with inspiring visuals in genre-defying collaborations, and create a new audience for something that can shift between traditional and highly experimental. ‘Reverb’ at the Roundhouse features all of the above and is coming up right now. There are tickets on sale at the moment.

3 comments on “London’s Classical Revolution”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Wish all these groups the best of luck.
    It’s a shame that there isn’t more of an effort in the States and elsewhere to reinvigorate classical music, not all of it is for Eggheads only.
    I have been attending concerts by the excellent Washington Bach Consort since 1984 and seen its audience grow more and more grey. A few young people attend the concerts, usually along with parents or grandparents, but most of the young regulars who come back are students studying music.
    I served on the board of directors of the WBC for ten seasons and a major topic at all the meetings was how to increase attendance and funding. This grows depressing.
    Unfortunately, the vast amount of classical music that’s played in concert and on TV/radio, is from the Classical Top 100, which is considered safe. Fine and the Top 100 may draw in new listeners,but eventually older listeners come to dread the first notes of Bolero or the Nutcracker. If only more schools taught music appreciation.
    Remember much of what’s now classical started life as Pop or quoted Pop dances, etc. And classical music sticks by you, where as Lady Gaga’s songs, and her meat dress, soon are set aside. In the case of her dress, perhaps,tossed on the Barbe.

  2. Gretta says:

    On New Year’s Day here, RadioNZ Concert played a Top 60 as chosen by the listeners. Lark Ascending was number one, so no surprise there, but there were many pieces I’d not heard before, including a lovely one from Argentina. The presenter did make me laugh when he announced one of the choices though…

    “I’m not going to say the next piece’s name, I will simply tell you four things about it:

    1 It’s by Ravel
    2 It starts on the snare drum
    3 It’s very repetitive
    4 It’s very repetitive.”

    You could almost see him sneering and holding back an overwhelming desire to spit on the floor.

    Anyways, I’m all for finding classical music in unexpected places. I’m always(well, usually) chuffed when I hear buskers play classical stuff, rather than the usual She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah type affair.

    Just remembering that many years ago there used to be a prostitute up in Auckland, or possibly Wellington, who sang arias(pretty well, I might add), while she walked the streets. She made it to the telly news, and there was talk of her being offered operatic training, but I’m not sure if that ever happened. I hope it did.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Gretta, aren’t you down grading her background a little severely?

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