There’s a rumour been going around for the last – oh, let’s see — 200 years or more that Classical Music as-we-know-it is dead. Dying, at the very least. Really not well at all. It’s true, of course. Classical Music as-we-know-it is constantly dying. Especially if it’s based on old technology (sorry, record companies) or old business models.
But look more closely and you see that it’s an awfully lively corpse. (Or a zombie, perhaps). Seriously, though, ensembles come and go. Orchestras struggle, reinvent themselves. Composers and performers and listeners change. Some drift away. Some works are forgotten. Others are rediscovered. There’s never enough money, but there’s always passion. New modes, new models, new ways of doing things and, most importantly, new audiences. If that sounds ludicrously Pollyanna-ish, look around. Just look.
Classical: NEXT is an annual gathering of the global classical music community dedicated to looking — forwards (as well as back). It welcomes members from across the community, from grass roots outfits to digital leaders to major presenters. It also presents the Classical: NEXT Innovation Award to shine a spotlight on some of the most exciting, forward-thinking, smart, savvy, sustainable ideas coming out of classical music today.
Classical: NEXT approached me a couple of months ago to nominate Australia’s entries to the Innovation award and now, finally, the cats are out of the bag. The cats being Victorian Opera and CutCommon, two organisations who are filling a gap, thinking up new ways to do business, showing ingenuity and creativity and, best of all, being bloody good at what they do.
So cross your fingers and toes for them, go buy tickets or subscribe, and keep looking. Forwards. If you don’t know where to start, try here, the full nomination list for the Innovation awards.
Coming soon: reviews of the Song Company and the Australian Brandenburg’s Messiah and Eighth Blackbird.