Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Pop(s) Goes the Orchestra

This Huffington Post article highlights the delicate balance of providing popular music in orchestral form. The scope of these orchestras have changed in part because the scene of popular music has changed from orchestral, jazz, and “traditional vocalists,” to more along the lines of hip hop and rock. Part of pops orchestras’ mission is to provide music that is more relatable than some of its more classical counterparts, but as these traditional artists’ appeal is aging, they must also serve to give these artists a stage. There are still concerts that include popular music like the Beatles, I’ve seen a Queen tribute, Broadway hits, and film scores, but I pose to you this question: how do they keep these artists relevant? Obviously, classical concerts struggle with the same question, but I feel that there is more of a tendency for pops concerts to be “cheesy” which can be a turn off for younger concertgoers. (I would’ve been embarrassed at the Sir Mix-A-Lot Seattle Symphony concert.) What do you think?


One comment on “Pop(s) Goes the Orchestra

  1. laurenelizabethdickel
    November 17, 2014

    Nice post. I think it is a huge struggle. There is something inherently long term and in many classical orchestra compositions. After literally centuries of being played over and over these pieces have gained a reputation of longevity and standard. Additionally, we have to take into consideration, not only the popularity of these pieces, but their ‘academic’ theoretical genius and complexity. In many cases the composition it self is simply a piece of art to be marveled at, on the page.

    For popular concerts, it is harder to find the same genius and complexity. There are of course exceptions, but making an arrangement of a popular music piece is certainly something more along the lines of a trend.. Honestly I find them slightly tacky some times and a weird cheep way to attract younger audiences.

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