Future of concert halls
Description: Future of concert halls and digital concert halls, primary function of music, why is the live documentation of classical music in Internet not very popular.
Today I am going to speak about the future of concert halls, primary function of music and why the live documentation of classical music in Internet is not very popular. You might be surprised to hear me talking about the real concert venues and not digital concert halls. Yes, there is a trend to do the streaming of live music via Internet, there are millions of public money flowing into the projects of digital music. The best example in Germany would be the Berliner Philarmoniker Digital concert hall. A Virtual concert hall gives you an opportunity to participate in the symphonic concerts for the subscriber fee from your living room. Digital concert halls are presented as the big innovation in classical music and I was surprised to find out that the idea of documentation of concerts and tv presentation came from the USA in the late 40s when great conductors like Toscanini, Stokowski, Igor Strawinski had the live concerts being shown all around the world. Were these tv concerts popular? Yes and no, the most popular music shows were not just the music documentation; they were real shows with some added features. Now Internet is replacing Television and especially Youtube gives you the transparent statistics. Unfortunately the classical music documentation clips have very low click numbers. There are some possible explanations for this: the live and digital music experience is not the same and the reason for it lies in the nature of music itself.
All music scientists and philosophers agree that a primary function of music is collective; it is to bring and bind people together. People sing and dance together in every culture, and we can imagine them having done so around the first fires, a hundred thousand years ago. This primal role of music is to some extent lost today. In 19th century there was a split of a special class of composers and professional performers (expert musicians), with the rest of people being reduced to passive listeners. The tradition of house music where people would get together to play music just for fun is nearly lost in the 21st century and definitely needs a comeback. The tradition of salons – where a salon lady (salonniere) would invite some interesting artists to present their music to the guests – is experiencing the revival. But it is still something for the selected group of people. The majority of us have to go to a public concert, or a church, or a musical festival to experience music as a social activity, to recapture the collective excitement and bonding of music. Everybody knows this feeling when the standing ovations and encore shouts electrify you even more.
After having read a book by Oliver Sachs “Musicophilia” I know that the firing of our nervous system is due to some physical parameters like actual loudness of the sounds and rhythm. We not only hear it but internalize it together with the musicians, and it turns us into participants, makes listening active and motoric and synchronizes the brains and minds, and since the emotion is always intertwined with music, our hearts too.
I am convinced there will always be a need and audience for live music. However if we do not undertake anything, the number of concert venues will continue diminishing. The big concert halls will be too big, if we think that the average age of classical music visitors is about 65, you can imagine how empty they will be in 30 years. And classical music has nothing to do with the age, the belief that people turn to classics as they get older, does not work. So the role of any musician today is to be creative and search for the audience and shape the future of the classical music.
I will share with you some ideas about it in the next blog. Thank you for watching my video and hope to see you next time, bye!