Classical music and change during the decade now coming to an end

Posted on: December 18, 2019

“What were the moments that came to symbolize the really significant trends in classical music in the past decade?” writes Ivan Hewett in Saturday’s (12/14) Daily Telegraph (U.K.). “One came in July 2015 when Chineke!, the first Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic-majority orchestra in Europe, made its debut on the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in front of a deliriously happy audience…. There was the launching of the 2019 Proms by a female conductor [and] the decision in October of … Deutsche Grammophon, to celebrate its 120th anniversary not in Berlin, the city where it is based, but in Beijing…. Every few months a new concert hall opens in China, and Western orchestras are queuing up to perform…. There’s a new generation of conductors who are often neither male nor white…. The same is true of composers, singers and instrumentalists…. And yet … the familiar daily round of the ‘core’ classical world goes on, and continues to give pleasure to millions…. These things are not going to disappear, but they are certainly going to change. In earlier times, those changes felt reluctant and often tokenistic. In the decade now ending, they have been profound and irreversible—and they’re not over yet.”

In photo: Wayne Marshall conducts the Chineke! Orchestra at Queen Elizabeth Hall, September 2015.