Articles

The new opera house at Rice University, by Allan Greenberg

Future Symphony Institute

“I think that the imaginative component is also desperately needed in this sad world we’re building for ourselves. I think all these little communities are a place for the rebirth of opera. The past and the present in opera can have a rebirth, but I think the key is little concert halls, little opera houses which feed the community. The high school orchestra may not be the New York Philharmonic, but it doesn’t matter.”

Edwin Longsden Long: Then to Her Listening Ear Responsive Chords Came Familiar, Sweet and Low, 1881.

Future Symphony Institute

All the concrete, busy activity leading up to the performance is not the music, but only its production apparatus, and it extends far beyond what happens in the concert hall – a massive undertaking by numerous people leading to an ephemeral acoustical rumbling and disappearing into the clatter of, hopefully, happy applause.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

Future Symphony Institute

“I wrote to Peter Gelb, whom I know, and I said that the only way you’re going to solve these problems is to tear down that house, which is almost four thousand seats, and build something half the size or less. I am convinced that these very large concert halls are a thing of the past.”

“[B]eauty in all its forms surpasses expectation and provokes wonder.” Image Credit: Jason E. Jenkins.

St. John's College

In his generous and beautifully written book, Robert Reilly leads us through the vast, largely unknown territory of twentieth-century music. The hero of the book is beauty.

Juliette Aristides: Jane's Pears, Oil on canvas, Private collection.

Aristides Atelier

The sort of art that lives eternally is that which captures astonishing, spine-chilling, breathtaking beauty that heightens our senses and floods us with transforming thought and emotion. In this work, we hear a whisper from another world saying, “It’s all real.”

FSI founder Andrew Balio at the Seaside Symposium.

Future Symphony Institute

Classical music must find its place in this kind of love – love of home, of community, of neighbor, and of the culture that binds all these things together. In all but the most exceptional cases, our orchestras won’t survive if they don’t get this part right. They depend on love and a connection to their communities – a recognition of their relevance and of their membership in the project of placemaking – to survive.

Cleaner sweeping the floor after the Wall Street crash, 1929

University of Texas

When philosophy goes wrong, we get know-nothingism or sophism. When our economy goes wrong, we get hedonistic materialism or the fantastical escalation and inflation of utterly immaterial derivatives and complex but bloodless financial instruments. When art goes wrong, we get a philistine welter of empty prettiness or an arid desert of conceptualism.

Detail of an illumination from a 13th century manuscript.

Future Symphony Institute

Engagement with the riches of a culture is a learning trajectory, not of formulae but of achievements of the human mind which may teach us what is right, what is good, what is meaningful and why, and in which context. It is a learning process which develops our capacity to make value judgments, without which no meaning can be found.

A full house at the old Metropolitan Opera House, at a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, November 28, 1937.

New Criterion

You could be sour about the music industry if you wanted to be. Sadly, few orchestras now broadcast nationally. But the musicians’ union has a lot to answer for. It may have helped to make its members more prosperous, but it has been self-defeating in other ways.

Fritz Kreisler, Harold Bauer, Pablo Casals, and Walter Damrosch at Carnegie Hall in 1904

New Criterion

There will always be a type that can’t stand that the broad public fails to share his passions. They will not reconcile themselves to the fact that classical music will always be, as it has always been, a minority taste. But the minority – lucky us – has an abundance before it.

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