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May 31, 2006

Not the end of classical music?

Allan Kozinn argues in this past Sunday's New York Times that, contrary to conventional wisdom and the opinions of some serious people -- and me, classical music is not dying. The article is called "Check the Numbers: Rumors of Classical Music's Demise Are Dead Wrong."

Read it all, but here's a summary: Kozinn says, first, that while classical production on the big recording labels is down, "the real action has moved to dozens of adventurous smaller companies, ranging from musician-run labels like Bridge, Oxingale and Cantaloupe to ambitious mass marketers like the midprice, repertory-spanning Naxos." Second, while big stores don't sell much classical music, "Internet deep-catalog shops like offer virtually any CD in print, something no physical store can do today. The Internet has become a primary resource for classical music: the music itself as well as information about it." Orchestras are offering downloads on their own web sites. Third, "corners of the field generally ignored in discussions of classical music's mortality — most notably, early music and new music — are true growth industries" in the concert hall. Last, new concert halls are "sprouting like mushrooms."