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The Unsung Success of Classical Music

Wall Street Journal

Leon Botstein is a multi-talented individual who is the long-time President of Bard College and also an accomplished conductor. He runs an innovative festival each summer at Bard that explores broad themes in the music world through performance and symposia. He is also responsible for bringing architect Frank Geary’s work to Bard with the design of a beautiful concert hall. In October, he wrote about the fate of classical music. He was quite upbeat (while others have been pessimistic) and his words are strangely comforting. Among other things, he says that crises crop up in the field when inertia and excessive caution set in, and that we must learn to innovate and learn from those institutions making their programs challenging and relevant while reaching out beyond the confines of a concert hall. “Above all,” he says, “let’s abandon politically correct notions about how ethnicity and class constitute barriers to the appreciation of classical music, a universally admired dimension of high culture and the human imagination.”

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