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Music Events (more headlines) 02-13-2005

Classical Music: Sexing Up & Dumbing Down?

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MusicTank turns its attention on the trials and tribulations of the classical music sector and considers whether the sector's woes are a result of major label short-termism, industry myopia, soundbite culture or a backlash against the CD boom of the 80s and 90s.

The panel, keynoted by Richard Bernas, Conductor and Music Consultant at the Tate Modern will also look at possible ways reinvigorating the sector.

Currently major labels are cutting back on their classical rosters, with Sir John Elliot Gardiner's 20-year run at Deutsche Gramaphon coming to an abrupt end. And yet media-friendly crossover acts are doing very well at the moment, for example opera boy band Il Divo managed to sell 130,000 copies of their debut in it's first week.

Last year's Glastonbury festival however proved that there is a mass market for the real thing as 50,000 people flocked to the main stage to see the English National Opera performing Wagner. (See below for full copy)

Keynote:
Richard Bernas (Conductor & Music Consultant, Tate Modern)

Chairman:
Keith Harris (MusicTank Chairman & Keith Harris Music)

Panel:
Paul Moseley (Independent Music & Media Alliance and exec. prod Russell Watson)
Sarah Gee (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra)
Shirley Thompson (Composer & Conductor)

Event Details:

Bertorelli - 11-13, Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4RB,
18.30 21.00hrs,
Cost £20 (£15 trade body members) - places MUST be booked in advance.
For further details or to book visit:

Classical Music: Sexing Up & Dumbing Down?

At a time of ongoing major label contraction in classical repertoire and artist signings, there appears to be no lack of appetite for multi-million pound deals for young, media-friendly, crossover artists. In the run up to Christmas '04, opera quartet Il Divo sold 130,000 copies of their debut album in its first week of release, knocking Robbie Williams off the top slot. And Nicola Benedetti, a 17 yr old violinist, recently signed to Universal in a deal reportedly worth £1m a year.

In stark contrast, conductor Sir John Elliot Gardiner's 20-year relationship with premier classical label, Deutsche Gramaphon, has been abruptly terminated. Ongoing classical chart domination by crossover artists and themed compilations, declining audiences and a heavy reliance on film & TV soundtrack licensing add to the general concern that this sector is in trouble.

But if proof were needed that younger music fans aren't turned off by classical music when it's presented in a format and setting they can relate to, last year saw 50,000 people flood to the main stage at Glastonbury to see the English National Opera performing Wagner's Ride Of The Valkeryies.

Some believe that the timing is perfect for independents to step out of isolation and develop the business maturity required to take the genre forward. Timely indeed, given one of Classical's most respected quartets ˆ the Brodsky Quartet ˆ is soon to launch their own label in a bid for greater artistic freedom.

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