What can Classical Music learn from the contemporary world?


I have been giving this talk either as a Keynote address or an interactive workshop all over Europe and the States, from Estonia (pictured) to North Carolina. My idea is to present a “provocation”, challenging existing thinking and the accepted orthodoxy of the conservatoire world. It has resulted in some lively discussions and occasionally an acceptance that we do need to change our thinking in order to be relevant, and legitimate in this “brave new world”, in other words...to survive into the future.

I cover the following main areas of argument:

  • What are the new models of thinking, learning and teaching?

  • What is the role of the musician in the 21st century?

  • Employability and the need to develop essential new skills both musical and non- musical

  • What are the employment trends and what are the new opportunities?

  • As employment moves away from the contracting world of orchestral jobs, what is replacing it?

  • Are smaller ensembles the way forward and how do you go about creating not just new ideas but new opportunities?

  • What are the new ideas for concert presentation and how is this growing audiences?

  • What is the place of technology in performance?

  • A critique of the existing culture and work of the conservatoire model from teaching methods to curricula.

The talk has usually been the start of a residency where discussion of these arguments and issues have been central.