Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
In 2011, a list of Britain’s top 300 intellectuals was published in the Guardian. Of those 300, only two were musicians: Brian Eno and Peter Maxwell Davies. Comparatively, this is a fairly musician-friendly list; most ranked lists of activists, thinkers, individuals who reflect on society – these lists usually leave musicians out entirely. Despite the notion among musicians that they provide a special and crucial service to the world, musicians have virtually no influence on public discourse. This is not because they don’t have platforms and it is not because the public will not listen to them. The classical music elite, the composers and performers with national and international careers, these people leave their notoriety on the table by not advertising their political ideas. And while avoiding friction by keeping one’s mouth shut may make a career in music or the arts easier to navigate, it also helps to damn music to cultural irrelevance.
Bringing Soul to SoulCycle
Carnegie Hall and Ensemble Connect have teamed up with SoulCycle to perfect the fatuous art of making classical music more accessible. In the video that Carnegie Hall posted to its Facebook account on January 3rd, Ensemble Connect is seen playing arrangements of popular music and classical hits for a spin class at SoulCycle. This video typifies the ways in which classical music trivializes itself with its desperation to seduce the privileged.