We've liked the idea of classical music ever since watching A Clockwork Orange. All those strings, all that bass, and all that drama made it the perfect soundtrack for sex and violence. So for years, we've thought classical music performances were really just big orgies in fancy clothes. Turns out, there's not even dancing.
In honor of the Flamingo New Music Festival tonight in Aventura, we spoke to a real life music conductor about the less oft-considered possibilites for the future of classical music.
Crossfade: Have you ever taken acid (LSD) at the orchestra?
Christian Wenzel: Never. And I'm not planning to.
What about the audience?
Is that important to the music? Music in a way can provide a spiritual experience, but you don't really need drugs for that.
Are there classical music groupies?
That's interesting. I think there is an audience that knows what it gets and likes to get what it knows. Especially in Europe. They like the repertoire from the 18th to 19th century, baroque, and they want to listen to it over and over again. But what we try to do is make them listen to things they haven't listened to. Let's call them groupies. They have all the favorite Beethoven symphonies they know.
Not groupies like that. "Groupies" meaning fans eager to trade sexual favors as a way to get close to musicians.
Never heard of it, but it's possible. Anything is possible. It's not that classical musicians are without sexual desires. Leonard Bernstein for example had a very interesting private life.
Will classical music ever sex it up?
I think that up to now, classical music is considered rather sexless and without any erotic appeal. That reflects in the way people dress up for concerts. It's like a ritual with very strict rules, and you go with a tuxedo and listen attentively. There are ways to change that, but the audience seems reluctant to change that, so they expect you to react in that way.
What about dancing? Will there ever be dancing to classical music?
I would love that. That's my personal view. I have always wished there was some way to do that. It's a pleasure to move my body to classical music. That's why I love conducting. But you're not supposed to. You're supposed to listen attentively. But there is some music that triggers you to dance and I would really like that.
So, maybe one day?
But I wouldn't want people to dance to my music. I think it should be listened to attentively.
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Is it right for you to try to dictate how people react to your music?
I don't like the idea of somebody dancing to my music, but they can do whatever they want, except change it or rewrite it. So yeah, that's cool ... Dance.