On September 19 I attended opening night at the Phoenix Symphony. Beethoven’s Ninth (on most people’s list of favorite symphonies) was on the program, performed to a sold-out crowd.
As I looked around the concert hall, I observed that half of the heads I saw were crowned with white hair. That’s true at most of the concerts I attend.
It makes me sad to think that in my sixties, I’m still one of the younger people who support symphony orchestras. As the previous generation passes on, will newer audiences take its place? Or will a huge segment of our culture disappear?
To Phoenix Symphony’s credit, the conductor, Tito Muñoz, is committed to performing twenty-first century symphonic music in additional to the old classics. Also on the opening night program was the American Symphony by Adam Schoenberg. And the composer was present to talk about his work at the concert and the pre-concert chat. His symphony in five movements is characterized by modality and complex rhythms. To get a taste of his music, check out his website.
The symphony is not a languishing art form. It is alive and well, even flourishing. Contemporary geniuses are at work as we speak, taking “serious” music in new directions. Support your local symphony orchestra!
How about you? Have you ever gone to the symphony? Is it on your bucket list? Would you rather stick needles in your eye? Or are you composing symphonic music? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.