A Juilliard grad calls on classical musicians to quit

A Juilliard grad calls on classical musicians to quit


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2022

Zach Manzi graduated from Juilliard in 2015 and played in the New World Symphony. But he grew disillusioned with conservative attitudes in classical organisations and has now moved on, into another occupation.

He is calling on others to join him.

Warning: You may find some painful truths in this piece.

….I received several opportunities to produce my own concerts through the academy, but I was not well supported throughout the entire planning process and found that most of the staff was somewhat resistant to my ideas, many of which they considered to be unusual or even radical. I also had to do a considerable amount of ego-stroking along the way, particularly for the academy’s artistic director, who after seeing the success of the show, summoned me to his office to lecture me for creating something under his watch that reminded him of “daytime television.” Shockingly, and somehow also not shockingly, he then copied the concert format I created and included it as a part of the academy’s regular season thereafter.

As I continued down this path of exploring a new, more effective way to create concerts, I found the powers that be in classical music didn’t know how to show up and support meaningful change, or perhaps they weren’t really that interested….

I think about younger musicians who are struggling to figure out what they want to do with their careers. Many are anxious and depressed, trying to find their way, exactly as I was, realizing that their career in music is not giving them what they had hoped it would.

To fellow musicians considering a career change—you are not alone. It’s okay to move on, even if you’re a great musician. Find a friend who will talk this through with you. Trust that the people who love you want you to be happy, no matter what. It’s not easy, and people will question you, but it’s possible to find a happier and more fulfilled version of you on the other side of a career in classical music.

Read the full article here.


  • just saying says:

    Articles like this make me so happy that I pursued degree work in Music Education instead of Music Performance. I have a full time, tenure-track job in music as a professor and still find plenty of opportunities for performance.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    This young person clearly misses the entire point of classical music. How, oh how, would we musicians ever be able to condescend to would-be audiences from our ivory towers if we didn’t keep OUR art so exclusive and unapproachable? I mean! [clutches pearls] We couldn’t have just average listeners indulging in something so precious as OUR classical music. That’s what Broadway shows are for.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Art has never been for the masses, although since the boozjwazee took over in the 19th century, it has become accessible to all with enough perceptive qualities and curiosity. The myth of the ‘ivory tower’ has been invented by the populists who got irritated that there could be something on a higher level than the one they move themselves on.

      • CYM says:

        In 100 years, Beethoven 9th or Wagner’s Ring will remain – and Beyoncé and Justin Bieber disappear …

        • A Dolfadam says:

          Surely not the Ring! Horrors.

        • Genius Repairman says:

          Not necessarily. The Beatles were over 50 years ago and still well remembered. Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald are all from older times and still remembered. George Gershwin was writing pop music over a hundred years ago and many of his songs are still sung. I don’t know about Justin Bieber but Beyonce is certainly one of the greatest pop singers of the last 20 years. Pretty sure some of her songs won’t be forgotten

          • Matt says:

            The difference is these pop stars are known for their celebrity – something not replicable by later musicians. Beethoven’s MUSIC, however, can be replicated by us. Froberger, Byrd, Bach – their MUSIC can be performed. Elvis? Throw on a record and sit there and listen and look at some pictures of him – that is all that will be available: the impact his celebrity made – without it, nobody gives a S about his music. Nobody reveres cover bands!

          • newsboy says:

            I guess a symphony orchestra hasn’t a chance of surviving. After all, is not classical music played by cover bands like the NY phil etc.?

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Anything on a higher intellectual plane that ‘Spiderman’ and its lantana of sequels is definitely suspect. Anti-intellectualism is running rampant, particularly in the USA, so why not anti-classical music? The Left is totally opposed to hierarchies, after all.

        • Sebastian-Benedict Flore says:

          In what world is the left totally opposed to hierarchies? This is an entirely invented fantasy. In the realm of education and academia, the left is and always has been completely for, in some sense, hierarchy. The point is simply that it does not have to dictate our economy.

        • A violinist says:

          Is this satire? If you think “the Left” in the U.S. is only, or even primarily, responsible for “anti-intellectualism running rampant,” try to be a less biased observer. “The Left” has not spent decades denigrating “eggheads,” universities, and politicians perceived as intellectuals. “The Left” is not pumping out conspiracy theories about anything and everything. “The Left” isn’t pushing pseudoscience such as claiming that a horse de-worming pharmaceutical is an effective and safe treatment for COVID-19. “The Left” didn’t nominate and elect an ignorant blowhard/reality TV star to the presidency, despite his lack of relevant knowledge and experience being evident every time he opened his mouth. Yeah, there are some crazy activists on the far left. But those who use the “The Left” unironically are the last folks who should be bemoaning a lack of a “higher educational plane” in U.S. society.

          • Eric Thomas says:

            “The Left isn’t pushing pseudoscience such as claiming that a horse de-worming pharmaceutical is an effective and safe treatment for COVID-19.” Well, perhaps. But the WHO is still in trials in regard to that.

            A horse dewormer? Seriously? Please tell me that “The left” knows that ivermectin is also an FDA approved drug which has been legally prescribed for humans for decades and that “off-labeling” is a routine practice by physicians.

            Don’t let your politics dictate your sceince.

          • Bruce says:

            Well you nailed and nailed it well.

  • Y says:

    If you want a resurgence in classical music, you need to allow tonal music back into universities and conservatories. There are Puccinis, Mozarts, and Beethovens alive in the world today, but they are being denied a music education and encouragement. The conservatories shut them out and told to come back when they learned to write like Elliott Carter. And now, quite expectedly, classical music is dying.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Classical music does not consist of contemporary modernist music. It is everything that the latter is not.

    • Frank Simmons says:

      That is a ridiculous comment. The conservatories play hardly any serial music nor experimental and in fact, if you were to look closely are rep performed by conservatory orchestras, chamber groups, opera programs, and concerto competitions, you would find it is almost all canonical repertoire. In fact, the opposite is true: a wider range of rep should be programmed and studied. Everyone in the College Music Society knows this well.

      • Y says:

        I’m not talking about performances, I’m talking about composition departments, where tonal music is invariably sneered at and writing it is implicitly forbidden. If you want a resurgence of classical music, then you need to start by reforming composition pedagogy. Hire tonal composers for composition departments, fire the Milton Babbitt-wannabes, and allow students to write tonal music again. Nothing will change until that happens.

      • Tom says:

        No, it’s not ridiculous. My roommate at the Manhattan School of Music was a composer. I asked what would “happen” if he submitted something for his juries that was romantic sounding. His answer? “You’d be asked to leave”

    • DJW says:

      This is completely false. The myth of the tyranny of atonal music has been debunked many times over, for decades. Tonal music has always reigned, at it shall always be so. The tyranny is the other way around, with so many trying to end atonal music as though is presents some kind of competition. It doesn’t. Just listen to the music. Enjoy.

    • Sebastian-Benedict Flore says:

      “Allow tonal music back into universities and conservatoires”?

      This makes me wonder if you even attend one. That is almost all that ever gets played. Contemporary music is almost never played and our assessments (pianist speaking) are 90% pre-1850 music. Most students don’t like and don’t listen to music composed after 1914 and some even ridicule it.

      • Y says:

        “Most students don’t like and don’t listen to music composed after 1914 and some even ridicule it.”

        Then why is it the focus of every composition department? Do you see the problem, or…?

      • Bruce says:

        …..don’t like music composed after 1914 ?
        Truly depressing !

  • Anon! A Moose! says:

    “Since ending my career in music, I’ve moved into a completely different field of work, one where if we don’t serve our customers adequately, we’re toast. It’s a pressure I always wished classical music would have upon it — where serving the audience is front and center. Maybe then, it would have been a better fit for me.”

    I’m not sure if I’m being obtuse or he is; but we already respond to serving the audience, and it’s not rocket science. Serving the audience means playing Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Beethoven, Mozart, et al ad nauseum. At least pre-pandemic, those were still filling halls. But please allow us a few crumbs of off-putting-the-audience, for the sake of our own sanity.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read this more along the lines of expanding the market size, which is the only way the art form survives in a meaningful way. By the way, that doesn’t mean throwing tradition out the window. They aren’t mutually exclusive, contrary to popular belief.

    • Mike says:

      As a professional musician, I find your comment to be hilarious. The idea of only playing Tchaikovsky, Mozart, etc in order to pander to audiences is a mid-20th century concept that is destined to kill the art form. Being content to continue grinding out the old warhorse works would have been an absolute absurdity to all the composers you listed. In Mozart’s time, it was common to play symphonies split throughout a concert while the audience ate, drank, applauded mid-movement, and demanded spontaneous encores. If that were to happen in a concert today I can just imagine the SD peanut gallery shouting “these radicals are destroying our beautiful art form!” The arts do, and must, evolve and change.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Oh what a lovely comment that is! I would immediately buy a ticket for such concert, to be allowed to chat and eat during the music, and drink (also alcohol? hope so!), and that you can applaud when you feel like somewhere in the middle of something, yes, great! Doing all these things and no longer feel embarrassed about it because you’re the only one doing them. And then it’s Historic Information Performance, could not be more HIP!


    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Perhaps the “toast” provides the clue about the new ‘field of work’?

    • Ian Tully says:

      That is because your audience is preserved in aspic. When people want to hear contemporary orchestral music they often turn to YouTube, where they will hear the composers they listened to at the movies, and they are not obscure names or simple crowd pleasers.
      I remember a packed Max Richter concert where I was probably the only person from the regular concert season audience, who stay away in droves if anything after Stravinsky is offered

  • A.L. says:

    Whatever happened to making music for the sake of making music, without imposing pet-project agendas on top? That the music alone won’t attract audiences, established or new? Well then, maybe those audiences should not be there to start and should be of no concern.

  • Paul says:

    Oh, yawn. In fact, young student musicians receive the privilege to play great music by the greatest composers of all time. Sure, conservatories are stocked with stuffy people, but the larger aim is to faithfully celebrate great music by the greatest composers: yet “identity” and “finding their way” with a “happy” and “fulfilled version of you” is just lazy jealousy by students who feel entitled to be kings and queens of the world, straightaway. How about patience and humility? And yes, most old music is better than the new. Live with it.

    • A says:

      Hi Paul. We don’t live in the Cold War era anymore.

      There’s something to be said about hustling for 15+ years, playing on the world’s most magnificent stages and concert halls, and still not have a salary or stable place to live.

      For young musicians, talking to a non-musician who is on Instagram, may not be very smart or motivated, and makes a lot of money, can cause serious life reconsiderations.

      • Paul says:

        Strongly agree that life is out of balance where musicians could hustle for 15 years and still not receive salary and stability. But this kid who’s melodramatically urging rejection of conservatories, hadn’t even tried. The gist of his scrawl was that he wanted to create some kind of identity-obsessed, populist programming to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and sensible people said, “that’s cute, but please, just go practice some more.”

        I hold musicians who honor great composers with a lifetime of sacrifice, in this underappreciating world, in the very highest regard.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        I don’t think this is the case in Europe, though, is it?!!

        • Sebastian-Benedict Flore says:

          It certainly is, unfortunately. Though, that said, it does depend on the orchestra. Some orchestras are better than others in terms of the conditions of the musicians and this often correlates with the country. I will avoid naming names.

    • Mike says:

      Have you tried being a young professional musician in this era, Paul? We’re taught from day one that you most likely won’t make it and that if you do, you’ll be lucky to make a decent living. These days there’s a fraction of the work available as live music is simply less prevalent. It used to be if you played decently out of conservatory, you could get a gig somewhere. Today, I know fantastic players that are struggling to get by even with additional business training. And sure, music vetted for hundreds of years is going to be better and more familiar than your average piece written today. All music was new music once. Please don’t crucify a younger generation whose struggle you are ignorant of.

    • Player says:

      Oh Paul, so bitter.

    • Sebastian-Benedict Flore says:

      “Most old music is better than the new.”

      ?? Pardon, I don’t know about that. Actually I do. That is a very silly, old person take.

  • Alviano says:

    He needs to tell us more about the “new, more effective way to create concerts.” What happened in these concerts? What was new? What was more effective? How did people react, both audience and his colleagues?
    Otherwise he just sounds egotistical, self-centered, and unable to take criticism.

  • EagleArts says:

    Barely out of school and then even less barely out of New World, and then two years of pandemic shutdown……. IMO he gave up too early to work at GoDaddy. Gotta be extremely tough in this or any business.

    “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden….”


    • Anonymous says:

      Classical music could hardly be called a business. It’s a shell game, with the little money there is being passed between the established players. There’s a pretty large difference between your earnings potential in classical music and tech.

      The majority working in classical music need to cobble together multiple jobs in order to put together a respectable living.

      Meanwhile, an intern working in technology in San Francisco probably makes more than most full professors or a tenured player in the NY Philharmonic.

      Classical music spends money. Tech mints it. Get your facts straight.

      • EagleArts says:

        Not sure what your point is. I’m well aware of tech making money, and classical music is a business. Managing one’s own career and finances is a business.

        There is great satisfaction in having multiple pieces in the pie of one’s career. Be it composing, teaching, contracting, etc each one informs the other making for a more complete musician. Historically that’s exactly what musicians have done, we are part of the original gig economy.

        Get your facts straight.

        “The sixth edition of the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) finds that arts and culture contributed $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. That same year, there were over 5 million wage‐and‐salary workers employed in the arts and cultural sector, earning a total of $405 billion. Complete national findings are available including an interactive infographic and data tables.”

        “The value added by arts and culture to the U.S. economy is five times greater than the value from the agricultural sector.
        Arts and culture added more to the U.S. economy than construction and transportation/warehousing by $87 billion and $265 billion respectively.”


        • Mike says:

          The point is that most musicians don’t see much of those billions at all. Based on my experience 1-5% of conservatory music majors “make it”, with that low bar being making $50,000 USD or more…If they spent the equivalent amount of time learning coding they could easily make 4x as much right out of an online school. Yes, we’re not in it for the money but if you can’t pay your bills during a multi-year pandemic that has decimated most freelance musicians, any sane person would consider a career change.

          • EagleArts says:

            Your percentages and $$ seem very low. A talented clarinetist with a combination of teaching, live gigs, perhaps some doubling could easily make more than 50K. If one only looks at the full time orchestral world then yes, it’s bleak. Too few positions. But, every conservatory student know that going in, right?

          • John Borstlap says:

            I’m also considering a career change but I am already in one, and I’m not even a musician. My former job was at a toilet paper factory and I got terribly depressed by winding-up all those rolls al the time.


        • Anonymous says:

          I’m quite sure my facts are straight. But let me try to spell it out for you:

          A business traditionally generates a profit. A non-profit organization, which is how most orchestras and organizations are structured in America, is just that. It is an organization that depends on support from others to generate profit. That’s not to say it’s not a business, or doesn’t provide value, but these are two different things.

          For instance, a company like Apple doesn’t need to depend on rich donors to donate money to make up the typically large operating losses that most performing arts organizations incur. Simply put, Apple’s revenues far exceed their operating expenses, and then they can reinvest the remaining amount (profit) to shareholders (stock dividends), workers (bonus), and stash the rest away for a rainy day.

          Orchestras cannot do this. Their operating expenses typically exceed their revenue, however most large organizations have at least some endowment to tap.

          The study you quoted is very interesting, but not helpful. There’s an enormous difference between *contributing* to the economy, which I certainly agree that classical music does (although the amount cited is much broader in scope than I think your first comment implies), and *generating* money, which is what traditional for-profit businesses do.

          • EagleArts says:

            You’re still comparing apples to orangutans, what’s your point? Beyond a condescending antipathy towards classical music?

        • Anonymous says:

          Small typo correction in my previous comment: “It is an organization that depends on support from others to break even” (n-profits generate no profit)

  • John W. Norvis says:

    Reading the excerpt made me think, “This guy has gone into strategic planning” and, sure enough, his bio in the linked article says exactly that.
    The program he concocted (link below) is a sampler, nothing more with the premise that getting everyone’s real-time opinion will somehow make things different and better. That’s social media codswallop redirected at this niche market.


    “Human-centered design” is just today’s euphemism for figuring out how to get people to buy things they don’t need. When you hear it, grab your pants to protect both your wallet and other tender areas.

    If the form dies, let it die in glory. Until then we have China, Japan, and South Korea to keep the flame burning.

    • John Borstlap says:

      ““Human-centered design” is just today’s euphemism for figuring out how to get people to buy things they don’t need.”

      Exactly. The quoted article is merely an expression of base commercialism.

      • John W. Norvis says:

        Right. Turning a concert into a focus group with facilitators and flipcharts is not revolutionary. Theatres have been doing that with ‘talkback’ evenings where hapless authors or performers are forced to mix with the audience.

    • Nick2 says:

      As John W. Norvis rightly points out, the “new” concert idea is nothing more than a sampler. All the time the young man talks about new audiences. But what about pissing off existing audiences who are used to the standard programme format and might not wish to see that changed?

      And what he suggests is really nothing new. 40 years ago when I managed a Symphony Orchestra, we created several different types of programme and used more than one venue. The subscription concerts remained the core of our activity, but we introduced sampler concerts with parts of longer works to introduce a wider variety of music. The only difference was we did not have the musicians introduce each sample. That was left to the conductor or frequently a more popular personality not normally associated with classical music.

      We also had a means of obtaining feedback from the audience, but after the concert was over. This type of concert continues very successfully to this day. I could go on at length but almost everything Zach Manzi claims to be new has been done before in some parts of the world. It seems he knew precious little of what orchestras were presenting outside his little niche in the USA and decided not to bother taking the trouble to find out.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Sadly there is nobody of the calibre of Leonard Bernstein to endear the people to classical music through public education programs. If you look back on those historic programs you’ll see mostly children in the audiences, listening (just to name one example) to a discussion about Hindemith’s “Mathis der Maler”!!!

    • Alviano says:

      Yes, everything on the concert was an excerpt. Like Readers Digest Condensed Books.
      Why am I not excited?

  • Couperin says:

    “He’s currently a service designer at GoDaddy building marketing services for small businesses.”

    Puke. Just because YOU don’t wanna rough it and tough it out as a professional musician doesn’t mean the rest of us have to go corporate.

  • J Barcelo says:

    His story is quite common. In the USA our music schools graduate somewhere around 30,000 music majors every year. How many orchestra positions are open each year? Where are all these people supposed to play? Music is a very competitive work place: there’s only room at the top for the very best, and maybe he’s not in that rank. Doesn’t matter. I know plenty of performance majors who realized that they’ll never make a living as a classical musician so they do other things by day: sell insurance, paint houses, detail cars, program web sites, make jewelry…you name it. But they still want to play and having their services available in amateur/community orchestras has been a real blessing. I hope Zach keeps it up. It’s a great balance as long as you can put up with the types of conductors amateur groups seem to attract…

    • Bone says:

      The US job market is flooded by these useless idiots with multiple degrees but no practical skills. Unfortunately, the US govt is set to bail all these turkeys out and forgive their student loans. I could have continued in my performance degree, but decided it was wiser to get an education degree and still make time to perform. Now, I retired with a pension and savings – playing as much as I want and enjoying a (mostly) debt-free existence. Choices, folks, that is what life gives you! Hate that youngsters are having their dreams crushed by reality, but I don’t want to be the one to pay for their poor planning!

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Having said all that, the US students’ loan system seems like indentured servitude to those outside of it.

  • Mike says:

    The headline is rather misleading. He’s simply telling young musicians that they shouldn’t stick to the career if they’re unhappy in it, not encouraging them to quit. Zach is a thoughtful and creative person and people like him are often rejected by big arts organizations afraid of rocking the boat. It’s not at all uncommon for conservatories and orchestras to steal the ideas of their students or musicians without giving them due credit. His frustration is understandable. I, too, went to top conservatories and have numerous friends that are now happier for having switched careers. The last thing the music world needs is more miserable people who feel they’ve made it too far to make a change. Leaving this profession with your head held high is a very honorable thing to do. I came very close to a career switch earlier in the pandemic but am now employed by a top orchestra. I’m one of the slim, lucky majority, and I encourage those pursuing a path in this industry to brave the waters if they love it but not to be afraid of jumping ship if it doesn’t feel right.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The point of the article is not about happiness, but about a critique of the art form’s presentation style which is supposed to keep audiences – i.e. younger, more diverse audiences – away. As a solution, the entirely worn-out idea is offered to go commercial with classical music – from which can be concluded that the lad has no idea about how orchestras and promotors work (most of them are already quite commercial, with eroding results).

      • Mike says:

        Did you see the concerts he presented? I did. Actually, he knows quite well how orchestras and promotors work; do you? The way “they work” is often the problem. People assume orchestras are meant to work in the ways they have since the 1970s, which is ludicrous. There’s a big difference between commerciality and accessibility. There are miles between Andre Bocelli and presenting concerts that engage and reflect on the communities they’re part of in a thoughtful way.

    • Anon! A Moose! says:

      “It’s not at all uncommon for conservatories and orchestras to steal the ideas of their students or musicians without giving them due credit.”

      And something I find amusing is that it’s amazing that he thinks this is a criticism of the classical music biz, when it’s far more common in the business world to which he switched. If that’s one of his complaints, then he’s out of the pan and into the fire.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    An interesting article. Manzi writes that “Since ending my career in music, I’ve moved into a completely different field of work, one where if we don’t serve our customers adequately, we’re toast. It’s a pressure I always wished classical music would have upon it — where serving the audience is front and center.”

    I think a key problem many classical music organizations have is in defining exactly what “serving the audience” entails. Some believe that serving a steady diet of “classical Top 40” is the only way to slow the decline in audiences; commissions and premieres are occasionally presented to provide a veneer of “sophistication” or “relevance” or whatever — and subsequent performances of most works are rarer than hens’ teeth.

    Another model would follow Steve Jobs’ concept of providing products (in our case music, concerts) that the “customers don’t yet know they want.” It seems to have worked well enough for Apple to become a $3 trillion company (whatever one might think of the intrinsic value of some of their products).

    In music, there are innovative organizations developed by performing musicians and active composers, such as Bang on a Can, which have generated new offerings (both music and concert formats) that have expanded the audience for contemporary classical music. I’m glad that Mr. Manzi is finding fulfillment in his post-music career but hope that other young musicians will find the path toward developing their own new formats, perhaps even as a branch of more staid organizations such as most symphony orchestras.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The club who treats music as bangs on cans, has nothing to do with classical music. There is nothing against it, in a free democratic society, but it’s quite besides the problem of classical music’s ‘relevance’ in the context of the modern world.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        (1) I gave the name as merely one example, and a well-known one at that. There are other examples with different repertoires, accomplishing the same goals.
        (2) Bang on a Can is not entirely, or even mostly, about banging on cans, you know. A significant proportion of its repertoire fits comfortably into your conception of classical music (a conception that happens to accord with mine, except in the breadth of its proscriptions).

  • Jim C. says:

    Welcome to the arts, kid. You didn’t know this going in?

    Historically, this kind of obstruction used to be met with further resolve. Not any more?

    Whatever happened to doing your own thing and finding like-minded people to help you out?

    • Anonymous says:

      Knowing this and experiencing it are two different things.

    • John Borstlap says:


      I was kicked-out the conservatory for failing to accomodate nonsense, but discovered entirely different ways in which the art form could be served, and am now performed at top level. Also in the visual arts youngsters are fed – at education level – with nonsense, but the truly gifted strike-out a path of their own and after many years they make a name for themselves. In literature…. in architecture…. etc. etc. all the same. Even in science, the real contributions are the result of pushing against the limitations of convention and circumstance.

      Creativity is not about accomodation and conformity but about independence, endurance, idealism, invention, and many years of hard work.

      • Player says:

        “Creativity is not about accomodation and conformity but about independence, endurance, idealism, invention…”

        Ironic, John, considering your music seems to me all about accommodating (your conception of) audience ‘wants,’ and conforming to bygone century’s ideals.

        • John Borstlap says:

          For the uninitiated that may seem, but that is not true. It is a new form of older traditions, as all traditions always go. It is not ‘easy listening’ at all, and the critique comes from the planners who fear being seen as ‘conservative’ – although they don’t have that feeling with planning the 100th Tchaikovsky 5. Ironically, nothing attracts more condemnation than leaving the entirely conformist and conventional and impotent modernist styles, which are loathed by players & audiences, but appreciated by planners and critics because they think they will be shown to be up-to-date. Secretly, many composers of today want to write ‘oldfashioned music’ but they don’t dare. Also because it is quite hard to do. So, the real irony is that doing the inverted thing of Schoenberg draws the same reactions – but from establishments.

  • To those contemplating his suggestion, I recommend an alternative. Look at all of the problems in the classical music world and use your creativity to strengthen and revitalize it. Even the smallest accomplishments will do more for the world than being yet another lawyer or stockbroker. Let your voice be heard.

    • John Borstlap says:

      A great truth. That is exactly what is needed in these days.

    • Michael Endres says:

      Amen to that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reforming it is only really possible if you have the money to stick out the rejections, the network to get gigs, the balance to not piss off those you’re attempting to reform who’ll also be giving you the money for gigs. Even if you toe the line for gigs, if people don’t like your other work they’ll simply quash you by not hiring you for gigs, regardless of if you do them well. And if people personally dislike you, they can destroy your career very easily since it’s such a small industry and many times there is little distinction between your professional and personal life.

      I was a professional musician and left for lots of reasons, but one thing among many I disliked about the entire model was that it is constructed like a pyramid scheme. Moreover, there is a very poor business strategy industry-wide compared to other industries, poor profitability, almost zero HR with few people in music understanding that your superiors are not God, and consequently a MeToo environment that is entrenched because few musicians seem to understand any differences.

      Imagine someone at an office job bad mouthing you to any subsequent employers and that determining your future career possibilities at your new employer. In most industries that only can happen if the person is VERY powerful (unless you’re unlucky). Since classical musicians fight over peanuts & it’s a small field, this is often a common occurrence even if you’ve never met the person. Then others don’t want to associate with you for fear of being branded similarly and losing means to make money.

      Sure, other fields have this, but say if you have a PhD in Math you can still find jobs in banks or elsewhere that use math and hire PhDs, but aren’t directly in the same field. In music the right people disliking you make you radioactive to most tangential employments and some will hound you for life.

  • Fürzwangler says:

    While I fully agree that there is entirely too many people going into music schools and upon graduation realizing they won’t be able to make a living using what they’ve learned, (forget about feeling great while doing it), I support literally all who even once consider quitting, to quit. Maybe this way we will be left with only the true musicians who would rather struggle and die as a musician than make a living (even an incredibly good one!) doing literally anything else.
    Not my cup of tea. I will do this, for better or worse, in sickness and health, until the end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please. “Maybe this way we will be left with only the true musicians…”

      Must be easy to armchair quarterback for you. It’s in fact exactly the opposite IMO. I’d say the field is left with those that fall into roughly two categories:
      1. Mediocre, good or great musicians who had help with or won the lottery with capital and connections, who got the training and received the right opportunities at the right time.
      2. The rest that hung on and weren’t able to do anything else. Smart, talented people can go anywhere. But a lot of not-so-bright people and not very good “artists” continue to cling-on, because they don’t have the capability to do anything else and classical music is all they know how to do.

      You sound like #2.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Entirely agreed. Music is not about easy living, it is about bringing an idea into the world, a world which desperately needs it.

  • Nick2 says:

    The world of professional classical music is not suited to everyone, no matter how good they may be on an instrument. It is also perhaps more bound by tradition than other professions.

    But I find the article more than silly. Mr. Manzi makes lots of allegations but doesn’t back them up. What sort of changes was he proposing? He does not tell us. Did he consider all the difficulties that concert organisers face in administration, publicity, financing and so on?

    Why was he not well supported? What was it in his new concert format that made concerts “unusual” and even “radical”? He does not tell us. I have yet to meet a concert manager or promoter who is not interested in increasing the size of the audience. Perhaps Mr. Manzi’s ideas they were not so radical after all.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The real problem orchestras and promotors have, is the problem of relevance: if the right note is found, presentation and marketing frollows from there. Deep-down it is a philosophical problem: what is it in the modern world that works against classical music as an art form?

      This is a burning, complex question, but the answer is, strange enough, very simple: the art form is ‘about’ interiority, and modernity ‘about’ exteriority. In oldfashioned language: the music is about the soul, the world about matter.

      So, youngsters getting disappointed about the music world, should find ways in which they can improve the situation, not simply criticize and quit and encourage others to do the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well Mr. Borstlap, I’m sure you’ll have no problem funding such a venture. You can pay these youngsters a market rate salary for a year while they help improve the situation for people like you.

  • Chuck says:

    I need a vomit bag.

  • RW2013 says:

    That’s what you get for choosing an instrument for which there are only three concerti, two sonatas and two quintets.
    This one took up painting

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      What about an outfit like the John Wilson Orchestra in the UK? There would be other similar orchestras of that ilk about. Must it be Beethoven, Mozart or nothing? A zero sum game. (Must it be; it must be!)

      Those garishly-liveried musicians working for Andre Rieu haven’t sold their souls to the devil for a regular musical gig. Probably.

  • Crayons Mix says:

    or maybe they ain’t that good and not worth following as classical artists? did they think of that possibility too, or they just believe the world revolves around them and everyone will kneel in front of them?! take as an example Argerich, Freire, Pires, Mutti, Abbado, Kleiber, and so many other artists whose names we have followed by decades now. Hard working and very humble most of them. They understood that nothing is free in this world and they didn’t get there where they are/were but just complaining and whining the whole day about how unfair the world is, etc.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The world is unfair indeed! Fortunately I weekly attend our support group, where our type of minority ventilate about our burdens & the way we’re treated. And how liberating that is! When we go out for a drink afterwards, even as qwerty people we feel one with the world, especially the longer we stay there.


  • Nadia says:

    There are many extraordinary classical musicians living on 1000$ per month or less, playing for few villagers or plants, animals, single-cell organisms or not even and are perfectly fine and fully content.
    It is when grandiose egoic dreams of majestic stage, external valudation and ultra-sophisticated audiences don’t meet reality, the discord errodes the psyche.

    • BRUCEB says:

      … or “egoic” dreams of not having to worry about paying for groceries, rent, heat etc: not being rich, just having enough money to give you the luxury of not having to think about it several times a day.

      Or egoistic dreams of not having to become homeless when you’re too old to earn money anymore.

      Such grandiose dreams…

  • John Borstlap says:

    The lad thinks turning concerts into restaurant experiences would be better:

    “I began creating new concert formats that were conceived using audience-first design, in which the creative team considers the audience’s experience as the primary driver of decision-making.”

    Indeed, if you want that, it’s better to look for quite another career, preferably in hospitality.

    If people don’t know what classical music is, if they don’t have enough background, if they had no opportunity or interest to find-out, let them stay away and enjoy themselves in the cinema or in a restaurant.

    • Player says:

      John, have you ever bothered finding out how most of the music you so admire came into the world?

      • John Borstlap says:

        The music that is still with us (why?), that still has something meaningful to tell the world, is here because there were people who understood that it is not a restaurant, not a cinema, not pop music, that it had nothing to do with computers or nuclear devices, but had some intrinsic meaning. Even in the (very) old days it were the church authorities who needed music to get the Word across in a better way than merely reciting it. So, to aswer your odd question: yes, I have bothered to find-out how music came into the world.

  • Derek Cassidy says:

    Classical music is sinking like the Titanic, but all the lifeboats are full of pompous old white men.

    There’s no living to be made in classical music. Run for your life.

  • Wilfred says:

    I think he makes a very good point and one that no one wanted to hear a long while ago.

    Classical music is shrinking as an industry and will continue to do so and students should always get their heads out of the sand and take a real look around at their chances.

    Those running the industry have always had the economic luxury of a financial buffer zone from Arts funding which delays the real time effects of lack of demand. But they are surely coming. The comet is on its way as he puts it.

    The ongoing ideologies and social engineering of ‘equality of outcome’ ironically require more and more tyrannical interventions to have any effect and they are further alienating a shrinking audience that cares only about merit and music. It’s only hastening the demise.

    • John Borstlap says:

      When people can so easily enjoy classical music through the itnernet and with CD’s, live concerts (the real thing) have to offer something more special. That special thing is that it is live, which cannot be replaced by any technology. The other cause of the shrinking is the decline of civilisation in the West, in such remarkable contrast with the far East where classical music is new, fresh, and a great discovery, and nurtured as an expression of modernity, development and civilisation. So, obviously any solution should be sought in the direction of education, and better information. It is ridiculous that many young people grow-up without any notion of one of their own cultural assets.

  • Anon says:

    If this kid had won a job in the Boston Symphony, he wouldn’t be saying any of this. Truth.
    It’s always the people who don’t make it that need to come up with make-believe, that classical music will die unless their innovations are put to use.

    • Albert says:

      I wonder who sparked this guy’s desire to innovate in the first place? Oh yea. Ha.

    • M says:

      I won a job in US orchestra an orchestra equivalent to Boston last year. I still agree with Zach. This industry isn’t a good fit for many and those that get jobs like mine are extremely lucky. They’re also so obsessed with getting such a position that they often never venture to do projects with the level of creativity of Zach. I speak from experience when I say most classical musicians are not very creative; they’re great at playing what’s on the stand as their teachers have taught them. Of course those with interesting ideas often quit! They’re often rejected by the industry and don’t get paid close to a BSO salary…when they’re able to get paid at all.

  • Eduardo says:

    Horses for courses…….

  • A says:

    I am fairly certain that in all my years of training, whether consciously or unconsciously, I was conditioned from the outset of my studies to become a donor. It is extremely sad that this is a common story, what with the rise of SO many training and professional institutions seeking to raise capital and build armies of listeners.

    It is also extremely sad that some institutions will accept students as cannon fodder rather than actual students. I have been in both situations.

    Generally, one can be a wise sage and talented artist, and the thieves will be coming for your money and talent to serve their own desires.

    Play VERY well, and if administration has worked out their own personal demons, audiences will come in droves.

  • Anonymous says:

    A lot of hostile-ish responses to this post. I also left the “industry” and applaud it. While it’s a great art form, it’s full of smug, self-righteous people that sound like a lot of the empty comments here.

    It’s sad that these comments seem to vilify the author as “a sellout hack” for doing something more financially rewarding with his life, particularly in an area (read: anything outside of classical music) that most of the commenters clearly don’t understand anything about. And that’s part of the problem, right there.

    Well, lots of misguided folks encouraged me to follow my passion as well. My personal experiences brought me a lot further than most, into what I’d describe as the low upper echelons of the profession. I had the opportunity to work with many of my childhood heroes (great conductors of names that all of you know), and that was extraordinarily fulfilling for me. I also learned a lot about people and what motivates them along the way. But while I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world, this also bought me a lot of debt, psychological and financial. I’m going to focus on the latter here.

    Unlike some, I did not come from a wealthy family. I had no real backup plan or parachute in case things went south. When I was auditioning for roles, it really did feel like “life or death”. Once, I was overseas competing in a major international competition. I had less than ten Euro left to my name. Yet somehow, I had to figure out how to get onto the next event. Rinse, wash, repeat. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Sound romantic? It’s not.

    Folks have to make a decision how many years of this they are willing to put up with, and unless you have lived that reality, you’d be wise to spare judgment. Just because you thought the life of a classical musician sounded adventurous and appealing at age 18 doesn’t mean that you will feel the same way at 34, or at 46. And if you aren’t re-examining that, I would have concern.

    Look, the reality is that not everyone wins. People with greater talents, connections, capital are always there. What happens to all of the Olympic losers? Well, they have to get on with their lives. There are a lot of “us” out there. Everyone is a loser in some way. It’s just a matter of scale. Barenboim and Levine never got Berlin. I’m sure that was a crushing blow to their oversized egos.

    Here’s a fun fact: at least according to Google, the average cost of Juilliard after aid is $33,535. Do you folks have any idea what that means? That means that after four years, you’re going to be in debt $134,140.

    This is absolutely absurd. You will not make that back easily as a classical musician. Hell, you won’t make that back so easily as an attorney either. And it takes a lot more time than four years to train.

    Did it ever occur to any of you that this man is actually doing the responsible thing and getting a job to pay for the incredible amount of debt that he’s likely taken out to follow his passion? Yes, you can whine and complain (I do) that this is such a bad system in America? Well, unfortunately this is the system we have, and how it works is how it works today, not tomorrow.

    Should the government forgive his student loans in the name of art? Or should he agree to what he committed to? I have a friend who defaulted on his student loans in order to further his studies with a member of the Berlin Philharmonic. Is that heroic?

    And what’s kind of shameful to me is that knowing nothing of the circumstances, you all make a rush to judgment. It’s obvious that most of you commenting are a bunch of amateurs, because if any of you had actually done the things you’ve complained about, you’d understand what a difficult decision this is. Maybe the author didn’t do himself any favors by attacking the art form in the same post, but more than a few of his comments are right on the money.

    Classical music as a career takes a tremendously over-burdened amount of sacrifice, and conjures up far too many “artist hero” images. This is especially true if your Dad isn’t Felix Slatkin or Donald Weilerstein, your husband isn’t Carlos Zedillo, or your last name doesn’t begin with Järvi.

    I lost friends, relationships, and even some of myself on a journey that I realized was not winnable in the way that I had set out to. I’m at peace with that. For those of you reading this, who are wondering how far to go down the path, I’d encourage you to go as far as you like. For me, I decided that continuing the journey wasn’t worth it. I’ve had this conversation with countless colleagues. Everyone has their own goals and threshold. Don’t let anyone (especially egomaniacal teachers, with only their own interests in mind) tell you what you should do. You’ll know once you get there.

    But please, Slipped Disc, go ahead and shame me. I’m also just a “sellout hack”, too. On the flip side, I no longer have to worry about where next month’s rent is going to come from, I have a beautiful home in a great location and can afford a luxurious lifestyle. I’ve also made a sizable dent in paying back my student loans without asking my friends, family or the government for a bailout.

    My life is also far less toxic and immeasurably better than when I was a working professional. While I certainly miss the art form and the craft, I still can engage with it as much or as little as I choose to. I still have many friends in the profession and enjoy keeping in touch with them. In fact, I can also engage in ways that I never thought I would: as a donor to the art and artists.

    Classical music is not a business. It’s an art form. But if you had to quantify it as a business, it’s what most accountants would call “a hobby”. I actually think that if we went back to this mindset a bit, the art form would be healthier, by removing the ridiculous amount of borderline and narcissistic personalities that have ruined it.

    To the author: Congratulations on making a smart choice for your future. Don’t look back!

    • John W. Norvis says:

      There is nothing wrong in resetting goals and priorities. The author says that he has new, innovative ideas AND that the tech industry is somehow a model for how to do things. He fails to back up either and many here are just pointing that out. Remember that the Seattle Symphony got fantastic audience response to Sir Mix-a-Lot. They were dancing in the aisles and on the stage. If that turned into subscriptions or even increased repeat visits, I’m sure it would have been all over the classical music news. Or at least this site.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Thank you so much! Being a PA is suddenly not so bad any longer.


    • Ellie says:

      Good post. I’m glad you followed your truth.

    • Anon! A Moose! says:

      “My life is also far less toxic and immeasurably better than when I was a working professional.”

      This. I somehow “made it”(by some measures) in this biz, but I recognize that I would probably be much healthier if I’d done something else. For all the people beating the drum that he just couldn’t hack it and you have to be tough and dedicated and sacrifice everything- you know that’s not a healthy way to live and be, right? There’s no room for anyone who is relatively well rounded and normal work/life balance, which I find rather sad.

      Even top musicians I know who at first come across like cool people, scratch below the surface and they’d gladly shiv their own mother to have a more prestigious job. We’ve created an atmosphere in which having a fierce competitive instinct, not artistry, determines success. Not healthy for the people or the art form.

    • Player says:

      Thanks for this cogent and worthy response.

      It shouldn’t be forgotten that period of financial prosperity enjoyed by latter-half twentieth-century artists was an outlier.

      One wonders what the majority of the commenters above would’ve thought about Ives (an insurance magnate), Borodin (a chemist), Verdi (politician), Rimsky-Korsakov (naval officer), Gluck (forester) etc. deigning themselves to make money outside the historically pitiful earnings of music.

      And heaven forbid we should go back to performing symphonies the way they were originally premiered. One movement here, another there. One encored, another not. Background music to dining and conversations.

      The kind of concerts this kid is suggesting aren’t so revolutionary as the holier-than-thou would have one believe. Maybe he’s right: we should look backwards for inspiration, to a time when concerts were social, rather than quasi-religious, events.

      I’m glad you’ve found fulfilment outside of the music industry. For the music industry and music are not mutually exclusive, and there’s a whole world out there.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with this 1000000% as a former pro musician who toured internationally with household names. People think you make money if you’re affiliated with international artists but often you make absolutely nothing.

      I love music, and feel more creative with better writing and playing when it’s a hobby (many famous composers did it as a hobby too), unconstrained by financial worry. I can now actually afford to survive, pay rent, and pursue other interests too.

      Just because you were successful in music doesn’t mean you’d also be financially successful, and most people here do not seem to get that. It’s nice to play, but if I can’t afford basic living because the top of the profession pays peanuts it’s not worth the sacrifice without a massive financial cushion to fall back on.

  • No Sarcasm says:

    So, let me get this straight: He’s wrong, wong, wrong, everything classical is just perfect, anything involving the real world is crass and tewwibly tewwible and nothing good at all has happened since the invention of Dolby sound reduction in the 1960s.

    And it’s got nothing to do with classical listeners being a bunch of sour-faced elitist pensioners whingeing about bringing back Imperial measurements and hanging.

    Yes indeed, I am one hundred per cent convinced, and I would never mock the readership of this fine blog.

  • CYM says:

    BRAVO ! Try professional football !
    Career, TV time, $$$, Exercises, Paid medical for contusions.

  • Piers Adams says:

    It’s the archaic format of classical concerts which has to change – leaving the profession altogether is a cop-out, giving in to today’s soulless, technological, left-brained, obedient zeitgeist. Music has never been more important than now, and will be a part of the healing process of the planet after this cataclysmic period, and as the deeper truths of who and what has been running our society comes to light. We need to create a new Earth into the fabric of which music is deeply woven. It is a huge opportunity for those with the courage to step into this destiny.

    • John Borstlap says:

      This is romantic, but nonetheless true. Music (classical music) is part of nature, its dynamics follow comparable processes of formation and resonance, it is part of a holistic system of which also humans are a part.

      But then:

      “It’s the archaic format of classical concerts which has to change.”

      In the 19th century when the boozjwazee became the powerful class, museums were created, so that the great collections of paintings and sculpture could be experienced by the public. The format: big halls with paintings on the walls, and benches in the middle for if you got overwhelmed. This seemed to work well. Later-on, a vestiaire, a library, a shop, a café and restaurant were added to the format so that experiencing art became something to do relaxed and comfortable. All very democratic and accessible. The boozjwazee also created concert halls and symphony orchestras with public concerts, where the public could experience great music and great performers, for very reasonable ticket prizes. You had to get in on time, sit still and listen, and applaud afterwards to thank the players. Later-on, vestiaire, café, foyer were added for comfort. It seemed to work quite well. But they are 19C inventions born from democratic and especially, educational ideas: the population should be given an opportunity to get into touch with great art. What is wrong with it?

      In modern times, people get impatient with the concert format, why? They feel alienated by the ritual (dress neatly, sit still, applaud at the end). If this is a problem, it is not a problem of format, but of audiences – they need better information and better education. Thinking that the format is wrong when people find concerts stiffling and ‘archaic’, is dislocating the real problem.

  • Monty Earleman says:

    If you think “classical music is dying” check out the concerts of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta in the US. Their programs are so popular they have to turn audiences away.

  • Ich bin Ereignis says:

    No matter how one might feel about his article — and I found many of the comments here very harsh — I think it very accurately reflects the reality of trying to make it today as a classical musician, which is a completely different ball game than what it was 50 years ago, and perhaps even as recently as 10 years ago. There are 2 main factors to consider in my opinion: cultural change, which is inextricably bound with demographics, and the overall musical and technical level of players trying to enter the profession. The latter is perhaps the most significant. Simply put, the market is beyond the point of saturation and cannot possibly respond adequately to a supply of players many of whom 20 or 30 years ago would have been considered exceptional and easily embarked on major careers. There are many orchestral players nowadays who a few decades ago would have become household names as soloists; instead nowadays they find themselves entering orchestras, often in a titled position, but not necessarily, and we are not even talking about top orchestras in most cases. The reality is that some of the big names mentioned earlier in the comments might be completely unknown if they attempted to launch a career today, due to such completely unprecedented market conditions. There is no shortage today of pianists, violinists, cellists whose playing is beyond top-notch, and trying to distinguish between them has become a ridiculously futile exercise. 30 years ago most of them would have had major careers, but that won’t be the case today. I’d like to say only those at the very top will have a chance to make it, but even then there can be surprises, as this profession has its own way of shunning true talent and rewarding mediocrity. Nonetheless, being simply very good, or even above very good, significantly reduces one’s chances of success in this business nowadays, whereas this actually was not the case 30 years ago when competence still afforded a good chance to be professionally successful. The other factor — cultural change and demographics — has to do with a general Zeitgeist that has severely weakened cultural education as a whole and which has focused audiences on the most superficial aspects of the business — not the music itself. Audiences are dwindling mostly because fewer and fewer people can actually appreciate classical music (yes, it’s actually that simple) and also because our world is now obsessed with externals and cannot even fathom the very notion of a work of art. Money, and therefore marketing, are now the prime deciding factors. I can perfectly sympathize with the author’s position and with his desire to have an decent and relatively enjoyable existence, as opposed to putting up with b.s. for several decades in order to follow a rigid, pre-determined script that is no longer valid. Classical music is one of those few professions in which the payoff can be close to nil compared to the effort given. I’m not surprised to see young people becoming increasingly aware of this reality and making choices that may be more conducive to their well-being, as opposed to embarking on a precarious path filled with uncertainty. You can put up with this b.s. for a while when you’re relatively young, however after a while it truly gets old. The world is changing, and the state of classical music is only reflecting these radical changes.

    • John Borstlap says:

      I think all of this is very true.

      But we should not forget that it is related to the whole of Western society, where a spiritual / mental malaise has set-in, in the wake of market think and an increasing materialism and consumerism. In the Far East the situation is very different, its history and development have taken a quite different trajectory. On the other hand, one can sense a growing dissatisfaction with this materialist and decadent Western image of man and the world, which are the true archaic images. It is quite possible that unexpectedly, the Western creative spirit rises again and leads to changes for the positive, including for one of the greatest assets of Western culture: its classical music tradition.

    • Ted says:

      “fewer and fewer people can actually appreciate classical music (yes, it’s actually that simple) and also because our world is now obsessed with externals and cannot even fathom the very notion of a work of art.”

      Very well put. It is not the lack of entrepreneurship or practice hours… the real issue is that there is something about modern culture/society that renders people incapable of enjoying more sophisticated forms of Art. People go to classical music concerts for the first time and the magic just doesn’t “click” for them– and they then dont come back; what is needed is a societal shift in a direction where sensitivity is not automatically viewed as weakness and beauty, in opposition to “hotness”, is appreciated– Among other cultural shifts. I do think much of the world, especially the US, is entering a cultural dark age.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed it is a much wider problem, a problem of general culture – in the West. It is even a great problem in Europe, in spite of its rich cultural heritage. For instance, the indifference for spirited ideas of rejuvenation, for leaving the mood of malaise, as expressed by french president Macron in some of his speeches, says it all: ‘why would be bother about a better Europe with more energy and commitment and inventiveness?’ Many people find M’s attitude naive, and they prefer to resign to their own decline.

    • Allen says:

      “Audiences are dwindling mostly because fewer and fewer people can actually appreciate classical music”

      Because their attention span is limited. Look at the movie industry. How many directors would dare to shoot the ‘Ali’s well’ scene in Lawrence of Arabia in 2022? Marvel reigns supreme.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The butterfly attention span as driven by modernity only increases the inner emptiness which is the result of such spans. In the end, survival instinct will turn away from such emptiness and try to find something meaningful.

  • Just some cellist says:

    I’m around this kid’s age, not an exceptionally successful musician, but I absolutely am grateful to do what I do, and wouldn’t change it for the world. For me , it’s a religious devotion to the music, and the endless pursuit of craft. But, my wife( a pianist) and I make a nice living, and my day is filled with wonderful musical experiences. We’ve been thoughtful about our finances, and settled in a city that supports the practicality of a musical life as it relates to our individual/realistic goals and desires.

    By the way, as my wife pointed out as we were listening to a 2.5 hour Oistrach/ Richter recital on YouTube last night, people wouldn’t be bored in concerts if people were playing like that.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Another point: nowadays players are so much more brilliant, but often they lack the interiority of the playing of old – i.e. personality, character, individuality. And that is the fruit of an extreme accent upon exterior and material aspects of life: the superficiality of modernity with its juvenile, underdeveloped focus on utopia which always withdraws behind the horizon of realization.

      • Anonymous says:

        You always have the most negative and over-intellectual read on the simplest of things.

        Instead, I’d attribute it to the loss of personality and character to the relative homogenization that has impacted all fields with the ease of global travel and the rise of the internet. It doesn’t have anything to do with the previous “horizon of realization” pseudo-intellectual garbage you spouted.

  • Truth says:

    From a psychological point of view – the world of classical music is a total crapshoot! From a financial point of view – complete disaster!

    People, run away as fast as you can and don’t believe all the dumbing down that you hear and read out there.

    You’ll be happier, more accomplished in life and much more respected in other fields. Make the switch now and don’t ever look back!

  • Sylvia Black says:

    Every single day a Juilliard grad quits. That’s the way it is and always was. That said, his point is interesting: are the curricula in these programs too brittle and driven by traditions of the past. Even the curriculum at Oxford has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Why not these classical conservatories as well?

  • Bill says:

    News flash: this isn’t the first person to graduate from Juilliard or any other university and decide to pursue another line of work. Most get on with their lives instead of writing missives about how they were disillusioned or their chosen field was unfair to them.

    And classical music will endure, as it always has, with or without him.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    In every profession, every walk of life, the word science applies. Every aspect of our knowledge is ever evolving, and we learn from the past in order to do what we do in the present for the future. Medical books train young med students the basics, as do music history books, and yes, the manuscripts of Bach and Shostakovich. Bach knew nothing about Mozart, and Mozart knew nothing of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Gershwin knew nothing of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, and the rest. What scientists know is that it never ends. Science is the learning of current trends, such as pandemics, and they draw upon their learning in schools of science to expand their knowledge to keep up with the novel viruses. We are examples of this happening now on a global platform. back to music and conservatories, what we have learned at a Juilliard or the Paris Conservatoire is akin to medical students studying for the MCAT, or a law student studying for the BAR exam. They take that knowledge and apply it to trends at the moment, because that is what science is. Nothing stops. What stops ends up in a museum. We need the past to learn from to create the future. Of course, we can perform and record and teach the material of the past, but when we begin to understand that we can draw upon this knowledge to evolve the craft, it becomes a totally different mindset. Schools provide the history and the teachers inspire students to take that as a stepping stone along their yellow brick roads. We move forward, not backward. If Beethoven performed music solely by past composers, or composed in the style of those composers, he would not have expanded his own creative spirit to move forward. I was a student at The Juilliard School, during a time when the disciples of Josef and Rosina Lhevinne were taking the mantle of those traditions and instilling them in the next generation. This was a ‘Golden Age’, but it still had to evolve. As a professor, I work hard to maintain those traditions of pianism, sound, etc, but also feel compelled to find the individual voices of today’s students, help them soul search, take the past with them but help to evolve the craft during their lifetimes. This could be composing, arranging, orchestrating, teaching, chamber music, becoming friends with their composer colleagues to work together to bring new music to the present for the future. The great music of the past, or the history of medicine, or the studies of SARS in the 20th century are all but tools in our toolboxes to feed our minds and souls to venture forward. Most important, which no school of any art or academia can teach is passion. If someone has a passion to save lives, or do surgery, they will do it no matter what. If someone has a passion for law, they will pursue that field. If someone has a passion for music, they will follow their voice. ‘Classical’ music is only a small part of this journey, an important one, but not the entire goal.

    • John Borstlap says:

      We pick-up this comment, by a professional apparently, with pincers and look carefully, holding it in the bright spotlight of reason and histocial evidence. And what do we see? A well-meant advocacy to look at an art form, in this case: serious art music, as if it were something comparable with science. But art is NOT science. The whole fallacy of looking at science as an example for the arts has created the greatest havoc in music life (and in the visual arts where absurd nonsense is upheld as representations of modernity). If one studies carefully the mentalities of the composers of the past, one discovers that almost all of them never ever intended to be, to become, ‘new’ and ‘modern’, or looked at science for an example in terms of mindset. What was seen as ‘new’ in their work, were projections later-on in the 19th and 20th century, when the achievements of science seemed a symbol of rebellion against convention and empty ‘rules’. Which rules? There were no rules in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th century) read Charles Rosen’s ‘The Classical Style’), only practices. Wagner was the first composer who intentionally wanted to create a ‘new’ music, a ‘new’ opera, and his theories were flawed, as were pointed-out already in his own time. In his practice however, he was quite traditional for a great part. These philosophical concepts confused a lot of artists (‘Il faut être absolument moderne’ – Rimbaud in 1873). In fact, what got called ‘progressive’ and ‘new’ were the individual pecularities of artists, which extended the possibilities – but this is not progress at all, but accumulation of means.

      In the last, terrible and devastating century, this obsession with progress in music has eroded much of a great art form. It is about time to put this myth into the dustbin, where it belonged all along.

      Let us look, for a moment, at the greatest symbol of a ‘modern and great’ composer. Beethoven’s ‘modernity’ was merely his idiosyncratic personality, inspired by better ideas about the world than the ones that circulated earlier. His late chamber music, claimed by later generations as the non plus ultra of progressive modernity, were in fact explorations in extreme individualism where he also went back to much older styles, including Bach and Haydn and his own early style, transformed into a quite different light. And they are great works, contemporary forever. Compare that with Schoenberg, who created master pieces like Verklärte Nacht, the Second String Quartet and the First Chamber Symphony, and who gave it all up with a bleeding heart because he thought he had to transcend this music and follow the example of science (read his writings, which are saturated with the myth of progress and modernity at any cost).

      I think it is quite clear that to look at science for guidance when the subject is art, is profoundly mistaken. Progress in science is of a different nature than in the arts. Artistic meanings and qualities are atemporal; otherwise we could no longer listen to Palestrina, Monteverdi or Mahler because they ‘don’t reflect the concerns of modernity’. Their works reflect the human condition and as we can see all around us, that has not changed very much since Antiquity.

      • BRUCEB says:

        “…by a professional apparently…”


      • Jeffrey Biegel says:

        A well said account of the art vs. science. According to sources, science is defined as the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena. There is, perhaps, science of the art of creation. A composer observes what has come before them, or at the same time, identifies it, and then creates their own voice through their art in their theoretical and natural phenomena as brilliant creators of their art. I agree, the use of the word science is perhaps not how we apply it to art as you say, reflecting the human condition. But the use of the word ‘science’ in an artistic sense is exactly what it is meant to be. Science of anything is building from what came before. Research scientists take the knowledge which came before and then takes that to new directions. Music is no different. I suppose our personal identification with the word can be different, and we basically mean the same thing about ‘art’ which is created, and not a natural phenomena.

  • Celloman says:

    The US music schools hand out over 6000 music degrees annually. The top 1% will find jobs. Saturated market.

  • Minnesota says:

    The young man is told he is great all of his life then meets some resistance as his great ideas do not immediately get rave reviews. So he folds and escapes to digital user interface work, as more than a few others have done when jobs or careers have not worked out. Einstein, Darwin, Edison, and many, many other great innovators in all fields rarely were immediate successes and in fact usually were resisted and often ridiculed. It goes with the territory. But they kept at it because they knew they were right.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed, but you must be the right person to be right. My PA also thinks she is right, but as often she is wrong, and then she refers to Einstein.

      By the way, Einstein once said that to split a human prejudice is much harder than to split an atom.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a false analogy. Einstein, Darwin, Edison were all scientists, working to uncover new revelations. It’s about as polar opposite as you can get from classical music, which is hell-bent on maintaining tradition.

      I’d argue that in the author’s position, he’s really functioning as the CEO, not an inventor. He was attempting to change formats, reallocate resources, etc. Not invent electricity. It’s far more on the human side of the equation than on the scientific.

      You’re right that unseating the incumbents is always difficult. But you have to weigh it in context.

    • MichaelD says:

      It sounds very much like the young zipper came up with a great idea that did play to rave reviews, so good that the boss then stole the idea to make his own. Just like the worst of corporate America.

      Did you read the same article as the rest of us???

  • every industry has issues! says:

    The types of poor management Manzi describes exist in every industry. Is it worse in classical music? Maybe. It it non-existent in tech? Absolutely not. I’m glad he’s happy at Godaddy, but I feel pretty strongly that he was 1. unlucky in his experience at NWS and 2. very lucky in his new gig at Godaddy.

    There are lots of people working in tech with toxic bosses who are resistant to change and steal their employees’ best ideas. And there are lots of smart, creative people working in classical music trying to change it for the better. I’m sorry he had a bad experience and I’m glad he likes his new gig, but the industry-wide generalizations he makes don’t really stand up to scrutiny.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely true that every industry has its issues. The distinction that is important is this: unless you’re in the top 1% of classical music or so, you’re going to be struggling to make a living, but if you’re in the 99% of another industry, you’ll be able to earn a living wage quite easily.

      • John Borstlap says:

        That’s surely true. I’m still amazed about how much money I make while working so leisurely. I could make more elsewhere, but then I would have to work much harder. And aivod tupos.


    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed, it is impossible to know with certainty what is going-on in music life at the time we are living it. There are negative and positive signs, but they can’t be statistically processed. It is different at different places. But we can with some certainty say that for classical music, things look more negative in the USA if compared with Europe, China, S-Korea and Japan. And there are lots of admirable players in S-America.

  • MacroV says:

    Whether or not classical music is dying, schools graduate far more musicians than the market can handle. Nothing new there; I recall hearing years ago that ten years after graduation, only about 5%-10% of Juilliard grads were working in music. And the advice to do anything besides music if you can goes back at least to my student days 40 years ago.

    I’ll agree institutions are hidebound, but to a large degree because they are too “audience-centered,” i.e. they play too much of what the audience thinks they want to hear (and know already) rather than what the musicians love and want to share.

    But it’s true in all forms of music: Go to a Stones Concert and the crowd wants to hear “Satisfaction.” Go to a Queen concert and you can be sure they’ll always play Bohemian Rhapsody and We will Rock You (of course neither of those bands is writing new stuff these days).

  • Dr. Michael Kaykov says:

    «He’s currently a service designer at GoDaddy building marketing services for small businesses.»

  • Alan Glick says:

    When I was attending a music festival in Saratoga New York with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the assistant conductor spoke to us students. After congratulating us for having gained acceptance to this competitive festival he gave a warning to those of us considering a life in the orchestra field. He said, “don’t do it.” He said the financial rewards were so slender that any of us was smart enough to make a far better living doing anything else. He also warned that the competition was so stiff that the likelihood of even the best of us getting a job in a full-time orchestra was slim. After giving us this warning he said that if any of us however were so consumed by a love of orchestra music that we were still willing to chance it regardless of the risks, we needed to dedicate ourselves totally to perfecting our craft and also to getting a degree to be able to fall back on teaching. I realized then as I always had that I was one of those who could not conceive of any life other than that of an orchestral musician. I can only assume that the author of this article did not share the same intense love of the music of the ages.
    I don’t understand the writer of this article complaining that he only discovered too late that orchestral life was conservative. Surely everyone else must be aware that the overwhelming majority of music that orchestras perform is from previous centuries.
    Furthermore I believe his urging of other young classical musicians to quit is merely a selfish attempt to try to justify to himself his own decision to leave this wonderful field. I hope youngsters reading his article are intelligent enough to see through this self-deception.

  • marcus says:

    Dude tries out for a career in a given field, finds out its not for him and changes direction. And, so what?

  • A Dolfadam says:

    If you can pass the audition and pay the tuition, Juilliard will accept just anyone.

    • Frank Young says:

      That’s absurd. There is a very small percentage of acceptances relative to applications. It is among the most difficult schools to be admitted to in the world.

      • Bill says:

        While it isn’t like a big state school, the acceptance rate of 8+% is substantially higher than the likes of Stanford (4.7%), Harvard (5%), or Curtis (4%). And those numbers are high by comparison to the admission rates at the affiliated medical schools.

        But I think the previous poster is right in the sense that if you play well enough, you’ll get in. The problem is that “well enough” means better than just about everyone else.

    • BRUCEB says:

      IF you can pass the audition.

  • Sarah Hearn-vonFoerster says:

    It is supposed to be about the Great(Classic) Music of any Age. If he is composing living music not to worry. Many of us saw this lack of support for our own personal advancement…especially as Graduate Instructors. We were really workhorses if we excelled at sight reading. Our present Symphony Conductor and its Board support, including myself, have seen good results from crossover concerts, while maintaining our Classical and Chamber Music concerts. Chamber Jazz with the Marsalis family are great favorites.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    He was worried when there were no audiences and worried when there were full houses; it’s a good thing he’s moved away from music. Too many worries!!

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    As MD, I remember a recasting idea I pitched to my former Company Manager back in the 1990s. ‘No, it couldn’t possibly work’, I was told. Lo and behold, in a meeting with our New York paymasters a few weeks later, this same person trumpeted my idea as the invention of another management member as being ‘an intelligent, elegant solution to a very tricky situation’. I spoke out immediately, saying ‘Bravo, NN, best idea you never had’. The Americans understood. My idea was enacted, life went on and everyone knew what they were doing. Stay true to yourself and never bow before the BS.

  • Manny Laureano says:

    He comes to the conclusion that many do: the industry one chooses is not always the one best suited to pursue. It’s an old story and will always be the case for many. There’s no shame but, as this young fellow did, best get on with it and find out what does suit you.

    It’s a tough, competitive business and they don’t hand out thick skins at the door. You either have one or you develop it. Props to this gentleman for making a decision he can live with.

  • Bal says:

    I try, now and then, to listen to music that is not canonical. Music that is experimental, atonal, nontonal, non-Western, and some that is intentionally just downright weird. And I don’t regret doing so (for the most part). It broadens what I can accept as music.

    But when it’s time to simply let the music wash over me, to restore me, to bring me to a sense of what it means to be joyful in my listening, it is back to the arena of tonality, of measures and harmonies, of rhythms and syncopations, of harmonious counterpoints, and dare I say, even music that “tells a story.”

    This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the old guard composers. It does mean listening to new composers who are comfortable with and who find great meaning in the baroque, classical and romantic era music, and want to express their ways of contributing to it now, in the 21st Century.

    But that’s just me. There is room enough in this world for folks like Zach Manzi to bring something truly new into the world. It will be interesting to see (hear) what he and his similarly minded peers come up with. And, even if I don’t care for it, maybe my grandchildren will. I would not deny them that possibility.

    • John Borstlap says:

      JS Bach was considered an ‘old wig’ in his own time (even by his much mroe modern sons), someone who did not see anything interesting in the new music around him. How ‘truly new’ was Mozart in his time? Compared with Haydn on that record, he was entirely conventional. And how ‘new’ were Beethoven’s late chamber works when he went back to Bach and Haydn? How ‘new’ was Brahms? How ‘oldfashioned’ was Wagner? There is so much misunderstanding about these concepts which are merely used as superficial labels. Old, new, it says nothing about the nature of the music; it is musical quality that counts, nothing else.

  • Phillip says:

    A completely new field? Lemme know if you’re selling your bass clarinet.

  • David Eaton says:

    So, young musicians are “anxious and depressed” about their futures? That’s been the case for many/most musicians throughout history, and not only in the classical realm. How many jazz or rock musicians faced similar anxieties as their careers didn’t work out as planned? Welcome to the real world.

  • Old Lady says:

    I think that this was a cute idea reminiscent of the Bernstein children’s concerts. It is such a shame the kid gave up so easily and more disappointing that he somehow thought that a career in music would be as easy as one at say-Google. Life, no matter what field one goes into is all about pandering and working to get anything–this kid obviously did not understand this. His next job, he may find himself kissing his bosses butt and think–I could be doing this and be doing something that I love……..Ooops, I gave that up! Ah well, gone are the days that kids had to work full time while trying to perfect their craft. The old stories of musicians playing in smoky bars all night….to pay for their next meal….only years later to become “overnight” sensations that these kids think—had it so easy. I change my mind—I’m glad the kid gave up—says a lot about his generation. Hopefully, his generation will read his “advice” and think “shame he gave up so easily.”

  • Charles Zigmund says:

    Currently the pandemic makes it really hard to know what would work or not work in a concert devoted to new approaches, because audiences are now evanescent as we are continually closing down and reopening at the whims of Covid. The more cautious and worried among the patrons will be an absent bloc at any concert.

    Also as a painter I’m struck by the notion of what things would be like if Rembrandt or Titian had to always be interpreted by a living person in order to be appreciated.
    The originals are an indispensable part of culture and will still be there if the live audience evaporates. Sure I’d like to hear a brilliant young pianist play the great sonatas and concerti but Horowitz and Serkin would still bring the composers to life. They would not disappear any more than Rembrandt does confined to the lonely walls of museums the way he is. The issue here is how the current classical musician makes a living, but it really has little to do with the repertory, which is the core of the subject and which will survive no matter what. Personally I am not into playing games; I love the music and prefer it straight, without added bells and whistles. And I don’t really care what happens with the contemporary audience or the jobs of the would-be musicians. Any more than I need to care how many people go to see Rembrandt at a museum. Or how many thousands of young people are unfortunately denied the opportunity of a lifetime job interpreting him by repainting his works for new generations.

    As for the future of classical music as a creative art, the Bang on a Canners and their modernist predecessors and their like have wounded that eventuality enough that they should be forced to rely on the popularity of what they offer. I can’t think of too many other art forms where providers and producers have to be shamed into putting on new works that alienate most of the potential audience.

  • SM says:

    We should be capable of holding aloft several ideas at the same time, and many of the ideas expressed here, while seemingly adversarial, are perfectly reasonable bedfellows.

    The industry of music broadly, and “classical” music specifically, is well beyond saturation point. Recent developments in technology have presented the opportunity to cheaply present one’s talents to the world, and it turns out that humanity is pretty damned talented. Humanity is also as expressive now as it ever was, only the modes of expression have, quite predictably, evolved in parallel with technological advances. I am 51. At 19, I was – when not playing competitive rugby -recording Schubert songs with our town’s local choir master, a man who had developed a passion for analogue technology after WW2. Today, my 19 year-old daughter is composing and producing her own Country music from her bedroom in Barcelona with band members in Boston she barely knows. The quality is amazing. And there’s the problem. As many have pointed out, there are more wonderful musicians bubbling at the surface than ever before. Some more poetic and profound than others, for sure. But there are simply not enough jobs for all of them, and passive income is a thing of the past – since someone thought it a good idea to hand over the entire music catalogue to a handful of streaming companies in the worst deal ever negotiated by mankind.

    And music is not the only over-saturated industry. Look at soccer, by way of analogy. Last weekend, we saw players on minimum wage salaries beating teams in the top tier of English football with players on 100k-a-week. The point being, the margin between wonderful and top-notch is so slim that sometimes it is hard to see/hear the difference. And yet, “wonderful” is virtually unemployable these days, and even “top-notch” requires herculean efforts to create “differentiation” and “narrative” and blah blah blah.

    But it is fruitless to blame “classical music” – an abstract classification, nothing more – for its current woes. I am so tired of hearing from people who know little of the genre how stuffy “it” is, and “elite” and all the other easy clichés that surface on threads like this. As I have pointed out on this blog before, most practitioners of the art form that I ever worked with came from working and middle-class, unremarkable backgrounds. The ones who made it were tough as boots with gritty work ethics and an athlete’s approach to their highly physical, committed craft. Indeed, blame itself is fruitless. What we should simply acknowledge, rather, is that the general consumer today is awash with choices as to how to spend his or her leisure time. Staying at home is appealing today, since there is nothing that can not be delivered, including art. That is if gaming, television, Netflix, sport, a billion apps and a trillion other distractions can make way for something as intellectually demanding and slow-burning as art.

    There is a beautiful inscription below the organ at the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, which reads (in translation from the Latin) “a serious thing is true joy”. Yes, art is as serious as it is joyous. Indeed, the joy we derive from art is predicated upon a generous investment of mind, soul, intellect and curiosity. It is not a passive experience, in the same way Shakespeare is not Jeffrey Archer. Perhaps it once was, but not in today’s refined, up-scaled iteration. But it is that very requisite that creates a certain barrier to entry for the consumer overwhelmed by easier, more passive alternatives. That is why, in the absence of true scale (stadium concerts, huge popular appeal etc.) it is not a profit maker, as correctly pointed out by Anonymous. It never was, except for a brief period of passive income bliss during the analogue years between WW2 and the internet. It has always depended on the kindness of strangers.

    So, what do we do about it, if we are not to give up and join the “great resignation”? Well, working on the assumption that human DNA has not been substantially altered by the arrival of the internet – despite Zuch’s best efforts – we should operate on the assumption that people are still reachable and moveable. (I recently watched my 3, boisterous, pre-school nephews transfixed for hours by a Met broadcast of Die Walküre, voluntarily and without duress or bribery. Drama is drama, after all. “Uncle, when can we watch the one with the hero?”, one of them asked me, already aware there was a sequel!) But, since they are not going to hear Rachmaninov through a Marilyn Monroe flick these days, where are they going to hear orchestral music? The movies are dead today as a host to the symphony orchestra, replaced as it is by plug-ins and sound effects. Perhaps gaming, to take one example, is the new cinema. It is, after all, a bigger industry today that the movie industry, and – like Wagner’s Ring – involves character, repeated motif and music. Indeed, the one place you DO find stadia full of kids listening to a live symphony orchestra today is in the gaming world. Like it or loathe it, they flock to gaming concerts to hear their favourite motifs come to life on stage, complete with orchestras and choirs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18i2RCB24Ws&list=PLysPxrQwj2YegcvHnvjNu2eOlyXiKSVgH

    So, how about the two worlds getting together in a sensible quid pro quo, so gaming raises its compositional game while the world of the symphony orchestra creates a new audience, brought to music and live performance by a different set of motivations than our parents. Why not? It does require imagination, vision and hard work, yes, so giving up is not really an option, broadly, even if some choose, understandably, to do so. But there is an audience of billions out there waiting, just not where we’re looking.

    So maybe, instead of all yelling at each other on a blog, we can find the threads of truth that run through all of these opinions, and, from them, weave solutions to the underlying problem identified by the young author. Creativity will be the core driver, without a doubt, as it always was, but so, too, will be the humility to understand the tech-led dynamics of cultural shift.

    • John Borstlap says:

      With all due respect, it’s a nice try, but it’s stupid.

      • SM says:

        What is “stupid”? (You could, perhaps, expound…) It seems you may be out of touch with the ways in which young people – the audience we need in order to keep the industry of music alive, and therefore the possibility of employment – interact with the world these days. Gaming is a massive part of young people’s lives today. It is, in many cases, the interface between them and the outside world. They do it for hours on end, worldwide. Indeed, the shared gaming experience even creates a globalised culture and community among the young. And gaming is a delivery system for music, the same way cinema was for our parents’ generation. Why is it a stupid idea to suggest using that delivery system to deliver imaginative, character-driven composition? We can see by the numbers – maybe do some googling – that kids ARE going to concert halls to listen to live orchestral music. In massive numbers, too, and screaming their applause after every piece! Once there, programmers can introduce them to other works. The chasm will not be so daunting. I’m failing to see the “stupid” in this. It is unrealistic that young audiences will be persuaded, today, to start with Beethoven, Brahms etc. Not that they won’t love the experience once they try it, but because there needs to be a culturally connected incentive that gets them to the hall in the first place. Gaming provides it, just like the movies used to for so many.

    • David B says:

      What a wonderful sentiment! I agree we should try to be creative about appealing to audiences, but are there really that many youngsters attending concerts of game music? The link you provided, for example, only has 500,000 views since 2019.

      • SM says:

        Thanks, David. If you input “video game concerts” into YouTube’s search box, you will see many with multi-million views. The main point, though, is that these concerts are full of kids listening to live orchestras and choruses, understanding the metaphorical world of music, albeit in music that has enormous scope for compositional growth! But it’s a feeder to the world we’re trying to get them interested in. To me, that’s a huge positive and a great space for collaboration.

  • Soundavarice says:

    Protest-quit classical music for its reliance on marketing, and then start a new career in marketing. I wonder if this muppet even recognizes the irony.

  • Jonas says:

    What a waste of money to pay Julià es tuition and then work at godaddy. Something went wrong here..

  • Finlay Hetherington says:

    Good to see the age of opinion has still got legs. Clearly the sign of a pandemic when many have time to comment on threads like this… me included. Food for thought.

  • Judy says:

    Sadly, the problems that he describes are found in every occupation, not just music. You can’t escape human nature.

  • Paffy says:

    -” It’s a pressure I always wished classical music would have upon it — where serving the audience is front and center.”

    That’s where he’s missing the point. Serving music is musician’s job. Not serving the audience. If you really served the music first, then you served the audience de facto. And funny enough, that’s exactly what the audience is looking for…