I am aware that I am getting older, and therefore have less patience. But is it really that important where I or you were when John Lennon died? Thirty years after his untimely death this still seems to be an important question for some. I guess I need to ask why. John wrote some very nice tunes. A major thinker he was not. His activities in retrospect, seem a little tawdry, a little silly, and often downright foolish. I keep hoping the baby boomers will grow up, but my hopes are dashed repeatedly. I am left with the awful image of 90 year olds tottering in the old-age home to the streaming sounds of Satisfaction (yes, I know this is Mick's and not John's) and I want to hold your hand. Help!!
I have recently finished an article for a future Academic Questions on the difficult place in which Classical Music finds itself in the Academy. I also suggest that the problem is a symptomatic of a larger societal one. I was asked to give some anecdotes for the article, and didn't come up with any good ones. In giving a talk a few nights ago I realized I did in fact remember one, that since it won't be in the article, I relate here. Last summer I gave a talk to a talented group of students who are hoping to become future entrepreneurs. As an opening question, I asked if they knew of any American composers of classical music. I thought they might mention Copland, Gershwin, Bernstein, or perhaps even Glass or Adams. After a long silence, a bold student finally answered--John Williams. And a question to you. I notice that many of my very sophisticated friends feel uncomfortable with classical music, and in particular, that of a more recent vintage. They don't feel this way about movies, theatre, or the visual arts. Why is this the case? I have various hypotheses, which I will elaborate on at a latter time. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on the subject.