Classical crossover’s expanding boundaries

Posted on: October 5, 2010

“Crossover music is the elephant in classical music’s narrow living room,” writes Anne Midgette in Sunday’s (10/3) Washington Post. “It takes up an awful lot of space, nobody quite knows what to do with it, and most people see only a piece of the whole. … Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of crossover music: classical artists exploring other musical genres, and non-classical artists taking the plunge into classical. Each kind runs the gamut from schlocky (remember the rock albums by the German heldentenor Peter Hofmann in the 1980s?) to serious (indie-pop star Sufjan Stevens’s orchestral/instrumental work ‘BQE’). … More and more artists are exploring music outside their traditional boundaries, in ways that are more and more interesting to a discriminating audience. … Crossover per se is as meaningless a term as ‘classical music,’ encompassing as it does many things of interest and many things that I don’t like. But the term, for some, triggers a defensiveness, a need to assert that ‘our stuff’ is better. There’s a fear of being sullied by association, and that fear may intensify with the growing awareness of just how tenuous are the boundaries that divide one genre from another.”

Posted October 5, 2010