Classical music for the (older, richer) masses
So marginalized has classical music become, so much louder is the beat of commercial popular music, that what percentage of the United States do you think is still listening to classical?
A Two percent, barely.
B The same number of people who can remember where in the basement they store their marching-band instrument from high school.
C Not measurable, since classical fans are such contrarians that they refuse to participate in public polling.
Based on the panic issuing from arts leaders and the press, it seems that one, and maybe two, of the above answers would be correct.
But in a revelation that confounds the pessimists, 11.6 percent of adult Americans said they attended at least one classical event in 2002, according to preliminary findings of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts. (More details are to be released later in the year.)
That robust figure simply scotches the idea that classical has become a fringe, stigmatized art form. While skepticism about any survey is a good thing (after all, what qualifies as classical these days, the Three Tenors?), the fact is that Americans clearly like classical music and they're willing to admit it - in large numbers. (See the details of the survey, which polled more than 17,000 people, at www.arts.gov/pub/notes/82.pdf.)
Lots more to the article.
What do you think?