The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What New Year’s resolutions or wishes do you and other classical music fans and classical music makers have for 2013? | January 13, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

What should you wish for to benefit classical music in the coming year?

NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog put that question to two outstanding and Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary composers including Jennifer Higdon (below top, with her cat Beau) whose “blue cathedral” will be performed next weekend by the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and Kevin Puts, below bottom, whose work the MSO has also performed), a producer, a performer, a presenter and a couple of bloggers.

Jennifer Higdon and cat Beau

Kevin Puts pulitzer

The answers are predictable, for the most part.

But I see that as a plus.

With such unanimity or at least agreement, maybe these wishes can come true – to the betterment of classical music — in the coming year and the years that follow it.

My favorite wish is asking people to forego recordings for live concerts. Very do-able, no?

But take a look for yourself.

Then let us know what you think.

And leave your own wishes or resolutions in the COMMENTS sections.

Here is a link:


  1. OK, more flash mobs! From the Hallelujah Chorus in an American food court to the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth in a Spanish piazza, these draw crowds — yes, spectators, but spectators with ears — and they go viral on YouTube, which may be the future’s front door to the concert hall. We can keep trying innovative, entertaining programming inside the hall, but it will be an empty house unless we give them an experience outside the hall that motivates them to buy a ticket.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — January 13, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    • Hi Susan,
      OK indeed.
      Yours is a great wish to have come true.
      After all, it is hard to argue with major success.
      And I think that you are right about the flash mob phenomenon helping to prepare people and audience for a concert halls — and also recording sales!
      Happy New Year to you!
      Happy listening in 2013 to you and to all of us!

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 13, 2013 @ 9:03 am

      • And Happy New Year to you from this opinionated old bat!

        Comment by Susan Fiore — January 13, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  2. Marin Alsop’s ideas seem like the best ones. Play, listen and sing.
    What Classical music needs is a dose of honesty. Most modern music is not at all palatable to the average American or European listener. The classics are classic because they work, for musicians AND listeners. As Thelonius Monk said, most artists are not ahead of their time, but most audiences are WAY behind theirs.
    Kevin Puts’ Beethoven piece the MSO played was dumb. It sounded like an accompaniment to a melody that was not presented. Lots of new music sounds this way. Rhythm that does not require calculus to decipher, harmony that uses tension and release, rather than long strings of unresolved and unresolveable chords, and melody that reaches inside listeners to their Inner Musical Mind and Voice are what modern music needs to be likable again.
    Aaron Copland wrote in two styles, one grand, opulent and popularly acclaimed as the sound of America, and the other one dry, fragmented, and academic. Guess which one the critics liked, and which one the music press decried as pandering…
    I wish that classical music would stop thinking that it is getting treated differently than any of the other fine or popular arts here in Modern America. Rock and jazz bands can’t sell CD’s like they used to, concerts are everywhere, everyone wants to be on stage, instead of in the audience, and the audiences are likely to be filled with social climbers and musicians, not Average Citizens. Mainstream America is at home watching television, YouTube, and FaceBook. Sorry…

    Comment by Michael BB — January 13, 2013 @ 1:00 am

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