Program notes

I had a relatively grand idea recently after reading various reports about the impending doom surrounding symphony orchestras all over America.  So much energy and thought has been put into ways to make the symphony more appealing to a younger crowd, from your standard outreach type stuff to trying to make the event a little more hip and now and less stuffy (even going so far as to make it more of a club-like atmosphere).  I won’t speak to the efficacy of any of those ideas, because I’m not the target demographic of that kind of shit…I’m perfectly content to go to a concert now.

But one area that never seems to get any mention is program notes.  With all due respect to the many scholars who write program notes, they tend to have an academic style that is far from approachable to some guy who’s just looking to seem classy and refined so he can bang this chick by date no. 3.  What if we actually tried to make Brahms or Tschaikovsky or Haydn or whoever interesting to that guy, or his special lady?  What if we made more of an effort to relate the music in ways that someone maturing in the age of reality TV, YouTube, and 24-hour news would understand?  It may not make much of a dent, but isn’t it worth a shot?

So I decided, fuck it, I’ll do it.  I love music.  I love writing.  I’m totally hip and fashionable (here’s a hint: two of those statements are true).  With that in mind, stay tuned for the occasional program note and give me some thoughts on what you think.  Even classical music, with its rules, stern faces, and audience etiquette guides, can be fun, interesting, and relatable.   We’ll see what happens…