One of the projects I am most proud of being a part of is What Would Beethoven Do? This groundbreaking documentary explores the most important issues classical music and musicians face in the modern world. And it does so with style.
I have long believed that classical music is for everyone; it’s just that there are certain obstacles for the layman that prevent them from devoting any kind of interest or attention. And who could blame them? One of the biggest ones is the snooty, exclusionary attitude many in the professional classical world tend to exude. This film tackles that issue head-on and explores how professional musicians, conductors, composers and teachers can make classical music fun and inclusive. Why not be excited to share its wonders?
Another obstacle is the tendency for professional musicians to be preservationist about classical music. While this attitude is a bit more understandable, it is ultimately counterintuitive to what that music was all about. At the time it was written, it was pushing the boundaries of music and moving the entire craft forward. Yet when modern composers do the same, such as Dinuk when he writes classical/Hip Hop fusion, it is treated with contempt. If orchestras were a bit more open to programming new works that move forward in the same spirit as Beethoven or Mahler, then perhaps more people would be interested, and classical music wouldn’t be such a long-haired pursuit. Indeed, many composers adapted folk tunes and “popular” music of the time into their compositions. Why is the same practice now frowned upon in classical circles?
Ultimately, this film is about how amazing and accessible classical music can be, and how we as professional musicians can ensure its survival. But it is also for people who want to learn more about classical music, and it does exactly what should be done: welcome those people into the fold. This is an incredibly important documentary, and I am very proud to have been a part of it.
By the way, should you be in the LA area on June 4th, there is an LA premiere scheduled to take place. You can find the information below. Hope to see you there!