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Swan Song or Song and Dance?
Perspectives from a Pianist and an Audience Member
Part II

J.H. Jacobson
"Father" of microsurgery, author, and devoted classical concert-goer

The Seed Must Be Planted

I am a lover of classical music (with no ties to the music industry) and I'm worried. Symphony orchestras are in financial trouble and many are disappearing altogether; attendance at classical music concerts is declining and the audiences that remain are consistently older and greyer; classical music FM stations are going off the air or switching to rock and rap. Jazz is no longer presented in any quantity. Record companies in large measure have given up the promotion of young talent which should develop into the virtuosos of the future. Recently, blank CDs have outsold recorded ones. Controversy may exist but I feel strongly that there can be no doubt about the general direction of decline.

To my mind the cause is simple. Music appreciation is no longer taught in our schools. I was a young child in a classroom when I learned to listen. The consequent pleasure has enriched all my years.

In my book, "The Classical Music Experience," I tell the reader, "My hope is that you, too, will become a lover of classical music. If I can accomplish this, I shall have improved the quality of your life just as surely as I do with successful major surgery."

The seed must be planted and, parents, you must make your voices heard.

Visit next week for the concluding instalment in our special multi-part feature on the state of live classical music.

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