My friend and colleague, Jung Ho Pak, conductor of several orchestras including Orchestra Nova (formerly the San Diego Chamber Orchestra), and I have had several discussions concerning the notion of desire. For Jung Ho, the question is, “how do I create a desire for classical music?” His concern is warranted since over the last decade, support for classical music has waned, and creating an audience for an orchestra is key to keeping in the business of presenting concerts.
The question of creating a desire for classical music, especially among a generation of young people most of whom have not had exposure to classical music via their grade school education, has been central to his approach as a conductor. Among the changes he has made with regard to performances include simple things like having the orchestra musicians dress less formerly, smile on stage, and meet and greet audience members. An aim of Pak’s is to break down the barriers of “us” and “them” when it comes to classical music. Read the rest of this entry »