In Friday’s (8/26) New York Times, Kevin Berger writes, “On a recent morning, Michael Tilson Thomas listened to a reporter recite the bad news about classical music. … Mr. Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, interrupted. “I don’t say those things,” he said. “Classical music is very, very much alive. But it is going to demand that people think about it creatively.” The interchange touched on a main theme in classical music today: How can the traditional art form prosper in a hyperactive age of smartphones, computer tablets and 10-second attention spans? To Mr. Tilson Thomas, the answer is the same as it has been for generations. Don’t reject current technology, embrace it. Use it to flesh out the humanity of the music. … In that spirit, the San Francisco Symphony, on its Web site, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, focuses on personal stories behind the music. As part of the celebration of its 100th season, which begins Sept. 7, it has created a portal that allows fans to explore its history through videos, photos, interviews and previously unreleased music from its archives. The material will be available on the Web site starting Sept. 13. … Paradoxically, Mr. Tilson Thomas said, digital technology can help listeners develop an absorbent mind. And the more connected listeners feel to musicians, the better they see the relevance of classical music in their own lives.”


Posted August 26, 2011