Can a concert that throws out all the things about the classical experience that puts many people off succeed in attracting a new audience? Cheltenham festival are having a go
What’s that about how you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink? Taking a classical music non-believer – or at least an inexperienced sceptic – to a traditional classical concert can be hit and miss. Sometimes, that person’s musical tastes and concert-going habits switch course from that day onwards. Job done. But for others, the foreign-ness – the feeling that they’re just not getting it – remains.
Anyone who loves classical music will be familiar with the desire to encourage others to love it as much as they do. When you find something so special, thrilling and affecting, you want as many people as possible to share the experience. With pop’s rampant, all-pervading success stretching over the last half-century, the catch-all genre of classical (encompassing eight centuries of vastly diverse styles and genres) has been pushed to the margins of many people’s experience, and this has probably made the classical fraternity even more zealous in gaining converts.