Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

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Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

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1 thought on “Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

  1. I love TED, I’m crazy about classical music (used to be a professional choral singer until I got hijacked to the boonies), and this guy has got it SOOOOOOOOOOO right!Unfortunately, the classical world has done an awful lot to give itself the reputation of being a bunch of stuffy, nose-in-the-air elitists by enshrining the “Greats” – I’m reminded of a remark Mozart is said to have made about the Big Names of his day being “so holy, they shit marble” – and obscuring the flesh-and-blood humans who wrote the music. (I also used to write program notes. A lot of those guys were nuckin’futs.)And God forbid that they recognize the humor in centuries-old music, or remember that just as Shakespeare was popular entertainment in his day, this was the popular music of its day, with everything that entails. Once I sang in a concert of secular madrigals by Josquin des Prez and his contemporaries. The lyrics were irreverent and even downright bawdy, but when I tried to put together translations that would reflect that, I caught all kinds of crap from my fellow singers! Fortunately our director agreed with me. ;-)Also, by giving short shrift to the “lesser” composers, they’ve narrowed the scope of classical music even further, to the point of near-homogeneity. At that point it becomes boring, or simply high-class Muzak.I’m in my mid-50s, and I remember hearing Antheil and Var�se on the radio along with Bach and Beethoven. But aside from some very rare exceptions (such as WNYC2 24/7, which plays some WILD SHIT!), you won’t hear that any more – not even at 3 am. There’s so much amazing stuff out there that almost no one knows about! IMO it’s tragic.Having said that, I pride myself on having gotten several people into classical. I dragged my ex out of the doldrums of Easy Listening (which I can’t stand; it reminds me of going to the dentist) and into classical very early in our relationship. One of the first investments we made after we got married was a pair of season tickets to the orchestra. Our son grew up with classical and sang in a top-notch children’s choir for several years. I’m currently working to broaden a friend’s musical horizons; he’s been into Romantic for quite a while, but I’m gradually introducing him to the whole classical spectrum. I’m especially pleased to say he’s getting more and more into choral music!Classical music tewtally RAWKS. We need a lot more evangelists like Ben Zander to spread the word!

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