The day Chris Martin showed up at rehearsal…

The day Chris Martin showed up at rehearsal…


norman lebrecht

February 07, 2016

Dudamel and his Yola kids are turned into Coldplay fans.
yola superbowl


  • Alvaro says:

    I am sorry, but they are not “TURNED” into anything. THEY ARE colplay fans that a bunch of 60 year olds want to turn into Beethoven fans. Very different. Sadly for those optimists, the “use coldplay as bait to lure people into liking mozart” has never nor will it ever work.

    Look how crazy excited they are in the video to play coldplay!! I called it first: Classical music in the 21st century is acoustic pop.

    Beethoven is OPTIONAL. Highly optional.

    These kids are the future of this industry, and they demand the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Adele, and whatever current pop song is popular played in the violin as THEIR version of classical music. Once the last generation that saw Lenny Bernstein alive fades away, this is it folks.

    The world has re-defined classical music in other terms. Its just a matter of time before this new status quo penetrates even the most recalcitrant institution, all in name of “bringing new audiences”.

    Its a brave new world, like it or not.

    • Ravi Narasimhan says:

      I agree in general although perhaps not in the details. This whole thing reeks. They’re trying to pass it off as some spur-of-the-moment miracle. Dudamel and his pop counterpart are booked to the minute years in advance and somehow they manage to converge for the photo/video opp. The kids seem to spend more time rehearsing their speeches than their instruments with “Amaaaaysin” the word of the day.

      Classical music this isn’t and it puts YOLA’s fund begging in a very bad light. There are hundreds of youth music groups and marching bands that could have been approached to do some nominal accompaniment at the level of the Seattle Symphony with Sir Mix-a-Lot.

      The Bravo, A&E, and Science channels on U.S. cable used to have some semblance of culture and science programming before being coopted for garbage reality shows and so it is here. This is on par with astrology and Bigfoot specials.

    • Regerfan says:

      Alvaro basically posts the same thing again and again (some variation on Beethoven is dead to the world) but I have to say his view is pretty realistic.

      My daughter is an able kid violinist but when she gets together with her string playing friends they want arrangements of coldplay, adele etc. And when they play in school orchestras there are no works by 18th-20th century composers. It’s pretty much pop music also, or more precisely light dance music.

      Which leads to the question – in the USA of 2016, does it make sense to lead these kids in the direction of Mozart, Bach, etc.? I feel strange having my daughter play works of long-dead Europeans. It just doesn’t seem to fit the multicultural USA of the future. In the world of my youth (New York 60’s and 70’s) it seemed relevant with all the European immigrants, Leonard Bernstein, van Cliburn etc. I think I’m just leading my daughter into isolation and weirdness by talking about classical composers.

      • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

        You will not lead your daughter into isolation and weirdness by talking about classical composers. You need to do more, though: play and sing those composers with her. So as, for example, to discover how much pop music depends on musicians like Bach, who is a dead German, yet whose influence can be traced right up to today even on these shored. There is plenty of American music to discover, too.

        The real issue is that sound education in literature, fine arts, and music is given inexcusable short shrift nowadays, to the detriment of a great nation and its culture, the latter if which becomes ever more vulgar by the day.

        The appreciation of music, theater, literature, fine arts is what is being discarded so carelessly, to our very own peril.

      • Alvaro says:

        I wholeheartedly agree with Edgar.

        The fallacy is to expect that every type of music activity has to lead to a “cool” perception.
        20 years ago, and even now, computer programming was considered the ultimate ‘nerd’ activity, but it pays dividends.

        However, these things are – and should not- be mutually exclusive. Want your kid to be ‘popular’? Make them play Soccer! Not only will they be increasingly popular (given the rise of the game in America) but they will gain a lot in ‘global awareness’.

        Classical music is not meant to be cool, just like a poem of Neruda is not meant to be recited in the super bowl. What learning ACTUAL classical music does for your kid, is that it gives them an infinite source of food for their imagination – if you burst the bubble that one must have ‘fun’ with the music. Art is intellect, and if that type of art is not for them, I would suggest another manifestation that bites that intellectual curiosity in them. That’s the sure path towards the development of character, creativity and diligence, all important traits to succeed not only as a musician but in life.

        ANY professor that teaches your kids Adele, Coldplay or Michael Jackson in the violin or cello as classical music is essentially selling you a Big Mac but charging you for a filet mignon. THEY ARE CONNING YOU.

        Entertainment is great (I love Coldplay, and Beyoncé, and enjoyed their performances actually). But to pretend that Entertainment would provide the same degree of content and intellectual curiosity for ANYBODY is like saying that all you need to major in Math is to know how to add and subtract.

        THEY ARE CONNING YOU. Find a real teacher for your kids….and if they don’t like classical music with a real teacher, get them into theater, painting, or something else. If not, you might as well take your money and throw it in the garbage.

  • Alvaro says:

    Just witnessed one of the most shameful and sad depictions of the bastardization of classical music one can potentially watch. Almost historical.

    The “most important conductor” in the world appeared for altogether 1.5 seconds. Nobody mentioned even slightly that the kids on stage were an orchestra. My roommate, not related to music, LITERALLY asked “why are those kids with instruments there not playing and just jumping. They can at least pretend they can play”.

    The normal audiences didn’t even identified them as musician, but probably just extras that were given instruments to make pretend they were playing the parts.

    What does this do for the arts? This is altogether shameful.

    The most amazing thing is that tomorrow everbody is going to say how this “saved classical music”. Meanwhile, 99.9999999999999999% of the population still has no idea there was an ‘orchestra’ on stage, nor that someone was somehow ‘conducting it’.

    I want to puke.

  • Michael B. says:

    I definitely wish that Dudamel and YOLA had just said no. This is exploitation, pure and simple. Is that the future for these kids–to act as an unnoticed and unnoticeable backup band for dumb, overcommercialized, lowest-common-denominator pop swill? If the publically acknowledged leaders of our art form such as Dudamel will not stand up for its integrity, there is no hope for it.

  • Larry Schoenberg says:

    No one should give in to limitations other than those which are due to the limits of his talent. No violinist would play, even occasionally, with the wrong intonation to please lower musical tastes, no tight-rope walker would take steps in the wrong direction only for pleasure or for popular appeal, no chess master would make moves everyone could anticipate just to be agreeable (and thus allow his opponent to win), no mathematician would invent something new in mathematics just to flatter the masses who do not possess the specific mathematical way of thinking, and in the same manner, no artist, no poet, no philosopher, no musician whose thinking in the highest sphere would degenerate into vulgarity in order to comply with a slogan such as ‘Art for All’. Because if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.
    Arnold Schoenberg 1946

  • Alvaro says:




    LA TIMES: “DISAPPOINTING” (and these are the guys that were the most supportive)

    Thats how much the “most important classical musician” alive matters. Sad but true.