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' Big Data ' proves conservatism in live classical music

The study of a Spanish musicologist proves from the study of almost 5,000 concerts that a handful of big names dominates the schedules. Six composers drink 20% of the programs

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' Big Data ' proves conservatism in live classical music

More auditoriums, more orchestras, more interpreters, more cycles... And yet, "classical music concerts suffer a runaway crisis and desperately need a review." It is aim of introduction of a study signed by Spanish musicologist Miguel Ángel Marín and entitled Reto Al Listener: How to change trends in programming of classical music. The diagnosis is clear after studying with big data techniques about 5,000 concerts held between 2010 and 2015 in 785 institutions of 283 cities around world: while public decreases – in Spain a 22.4% last decade-and renewal of amateurs do not The conservatism of proposals impoverishes everything.

Marín, an expert at University of La Rioja, knows what he's talking about. As a programmer, he is in charge of music section at Juan March Foundation. And his conclusions, far from inbreeding, deny idea that sector crosses a great moment, starting with his country of origin: "Compared to 30 years ago, Spanish musical life has taken an unquestionable giant step. We enjoy a rich panorama. Both in attendance and in equipment and regular activity, we are better than ever. But in specific programming terms, I think not so much, "says author of study.

Marín has extracted data from Bachtrack.com portal, among or sources. The platform offers most complete planetary concert agenda and from re jump redundancies that demonstrate low inclination to audacity of most programmers. In symphonic music, ranking is headlined by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Schubert and Debussy. The six of m drink 20% of cycles. No living composer is among 33 first positions. In opera The names vary, obviously, but tendency to repeat already known is same. 75% of posters among most important atres of world dominate titles of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, Rossini, Donizetti, Richard Strauss, Bizet, Janacek and Haendel. And of all of m, first four drink 50% of representations. They send in a conservative vicious circle.

The incredible waning audience

In last decade, it is pointed out in study, public has declined ir assistance in Spain to halls in a 22.4%, (according to SGAE data), a decline more in line with Australia (22.1% between 2012 and 2015), which with United States, where, if 13% of population attended at least One concert per year in 1982, in 2008 only made it 9.3%.

All of this shows overall breadth of study. But Marín is particularly interested in closest and still untouched environment of analysis: "On programming in Spain re are still very few jobs, but those that exist point in same direction detected in my research. In article I quote those published by Fundación Autor and Pablo Sánchez Quinteiro, based on programming of several seasons of Spanish orchestras. They reveal an amazing coincidence with top 10 of studio around world. "

Who should break this fence? "The key is programmer," says Marín. "The public always feeds on same composers, has not developed habit and taste for or repertoires. Those in charge of profiling cycles perceive that re is no demand for or options, y settle in fear and do not leave beaten paths ".

But re are alternatives: "each, depending on trajectory of your institution, profiles of your audience and your creativity, you have to find effective formulas to get out of that dynamic little by little." It is also essential, in addition to increasing variety, increasing frequency. The study, published in journal Resonance, of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, shows that of 1,914 authors, only 33 (1.72%) surpass 100 interpretations and that 1,438 (a 75.13%) have three or less in five years that deals with analysis.

Christina Scheppelmann, artistic director of Barcelona Liceu, believes that balance is solution: "I would not speak of guilt. To find a balance between repertoires of more preference for public and new ones is a task that, to a greater or lesser extent, y make all atres. This vocation allows to maintain a budgetary balance and also to enjoy while discovering ".

Alfonso Aijón, almost 50 years in front of Ibermúsica cycle, also points out or reasons. He's very much in agreement with Marín's diagnosis. But he believes that we must begin to tackle problem by root: "All imagination and efforts of programmers and ir protagonists will not get success we crave as long as music is not taught from elementary school as a basic subject. The longer this training measure is delayed, concert halls will be proportionately more empty. " Scheppelmann insists on this point: "The essential remains in schools: investment and subsidy of culture and education. This is how music and art are shown to be two essential pillars of society. This will encourage curiosity and interest on part of society in addition to attracting new works. "

Specialized training in conservatories and higher education centres of music is one of aspects that report touches. The preponderance of reduced repertoires directly affects time that y are programmed. Fabián Paiselo, director of Reina Sofía School and founder of Plural Ensemble, dedicated to contemporary music, explains: "Although string repertoire is broad, it influences a range of classical and nineteenth-century composers." The wind varies more and includes more pieces of XX, according to him, "although y are not always best of repertoire." Not only choice of composers should be rethinked. Also ensembles: one of aspects that we must develop in depth in education is to broaden teaching of chamber and orchestra music rar than to focus on field of soloist. "

Mortier's recipe

Among recipes, study also proves twinnings and connections that exist between composers because of ir proximity. It reveals audacity of many reference cultures to influence canons of past and present. On a large scale, case of Russians, French, Austrians and Germans, Anglo-Saxon and Italian and, at or levels, Czechs, with ir invincible triangle of Dvorák, Janacek and lately Martinu.

All of m form a network of variations and musical accounts that, as study gars, represented philosophy of one of great musical managers of this era: Gerard Mortier, died in 2014. "The programmer has two functions. On one hand to provide listener, and perhaps also interpreter, opportunities to discover works and unknown authors. On or, build new listening itineraries by reshaping programmatic structures by means of unconventional staging that will challenge your expectations. "

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