Pianist: What is the role of classical music today?

Posted on: October 21, 2015

In the October issue of The Monthly (Australia), pianist Anna Goldsworthy writes a wide-ranging essay about what it means to play and listen to classical music in the modern age. “There is a conventional wisdom that you come to classical music later.… It is reassuring to imagine that our audiences will naturally renew themselves, but last year, on tour with my trio, Seraphim, I started to have my doubts. That our audience is older than us is old news. It has been like that since we started playing together, 21 years ago.… On a bad day, I fear for the entire Western humanistic tradition; classical music is only the canary in the coalmine. But on a good day onstage, something takes hold. Like a ouija board in a séance, the music goes its own way, guided by everyone and by no one.” Topics covered in the article include classical music’s “banishment” from the mainstream and promotion as an “upscale niche product”; the impact of recording and television on classical music; and the importance of the study of music as a discipline and craft.

Posted October 21, 2015

Pictured: Iceland’s Reykjavik Concert Hall