How should music respond to political crises?

Posted on: February 9, 2017

“What is the point of making beautiful things, or of cherishing the beauty of the past, when ugliness runs rampant?”, writes classical music critic Alex Ross in Wednesday’s (2/8) New Yorker. “Those who work in the realm of the arts have been asking themselves that question in recent weeks. The election of Donald Trump … has precipitated a sense of crisis in that world, not least because Trump seems inclined to let the arts rot. … Do you carry on as before …Or do you seize on a new mission? … In the field of classical music, practitioners habitually respond to man-made disasters by quoting a statement that Leonard Bernstein made … three days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. … ‘This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’ … In a recent post for the Log Journal … the scholar and critic Lucy Caplan writes … ‘I’m skeptical of the idea that a more perfect art can really bring into being a more perfect union.’ … Ultimately, artists of integrity will have no choice in how they respond  … The task of the audience is to absorb art’s conflicting messages and remain alert to unexpected revelations.”

Posted February 9, 2017