Keith Lockhart Says, Come To The Boston Pops…And You Might Come Back To Hear Mahler

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Worried about orchestra audiences getting older? Maestro Keith Lockhart, poised to launch the spring season of the acclaimed Boston Pops, has no such concerns.

Says Lockhart, “The acclaimed Boston music critic, Philip Hale, was writing about the same issue more than a century ago. It’s nothing new. In fact, it makes sense that classical music is something you come to over time.

“In life, your palate expands as you grow older. You’re not typically building a fine wine collection at age 22. As you age, you look for things that make you look a little deeper at life.”

Lockhart actually sees a different form of trouble on the horizon.

“Older audiences are accustomed to putting up with the aggravations that attending a live performance entails,” he says. “You’ve got to pay the babysitter, drive in the rain, sit in a less than comfortable seat, and share the space with strangers. In that sense, the arts are a social occasion, a chance to share our common humanity.

“Younger people are growing up experiencing entertainment, and quite frankly distraction, on small screens, which are immediate, totally personal, and right in their hands. They’re not sharing the experience with anyone, and they’re doing it when and where they want to. This is a very different experience from what you get in a concert hall.”

Lockhart recognizes that attending a performance of serious music requires “full immersion and intense focus”— not only from the performers, but from the audience as well.

“If convenience is your motivating factor,” Lockhart says, “you may not want to come to a concert. Our job as musicians is to remain steadfast in offering, for example, the experience of what Mahler felt like when he composed his 7th Symphony.

“Unfortunately today, people never stop stimulating their brains in low-level ways, whether it’s playing a video game or watching a rerun. Whatever happened to just sitting there and thinking?”

This is why Lockhart prizes his role as Conductor of the Pops, which he views as “the great outreach arm of the classical music industry. There’s no orchestra like it in this country or in the world that plays such a wide variety of music at such a high level.”

Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com