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NEA report shows declining attendance in arts events nationwide

December 10, 2009 | 12:05 am


Have you been noticing a growing number of empty seats at classical concerts in recent years? Have you attended a recent gallery opening where there was actually enough Champagne and hors d'oeuvres to go around -- and perhaps even some to take home?

If so, your imagination isn't playing tricks on you.

A new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts said that the number of American adults attending arts and cultural events has sunk to its lowest level since 1982, which was when the NEA began conducting the poll.

The study, which was organized in partnership with the Census Bureau, noted that the downward trend was at least partially due to the deteriorating economic conditions of the last two years, including the rise in the price of gasoline and an overall drop in consumer spending. 

But it also emphasized larger shifts in the American public's relationship to the arts. The report, which uses data collected in 2008, said that the share of adults who attended at least one arts event was 34.6%, down from 39.4% in 2002, which was the last time the survey was conducted.

Moreover, those who did attend arts events did so less frequently. The report found that the average number of attendances per individual was 5.2 in 2008, down from 6.1 in 2002.

Among the types of arts events that the report measures are museum shows, classical music concerts, opera, ballet, theater and jazz concerts.

The NEA released preliminary results of the report in June. The full report, which was made public today, includes data by state and region. California ranked near the top among states for art museum attendance. In 2008, 31% of the state's residents -- more than 8 million people --visited an art museum or gallery. 

Overall, the Pacific and New England regions ranked high in the attendance of performing arts and visual arts events, according to the report.

The regions with some of the lowest arts attendance are the East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee,  Mississippi) and the West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas).

"The 2008 survey results are, at a glance, disappointing," said Sunil Iyengar, the NEA's director of research and analysis, in a summary of the report.

He said a single survey cannot explain all the reasons for the nationwide decline, but noted that among the possible causes is decreasing arts education.

The report shows that since 1982, the number of 18-to-24-year-olds who said they had any music education in their lives has declined by more than a third. For visual arts education, the number has decreased by a half.

One of the most surprising findings in the report was that people ages 45 to 54 -- who have historically been a significant component of arts audiences -- showed the steepest declines in attendance for arts events. Only 36% of those in this age group attended an arts event in 2008, versus 46% in 2002.

The survey also showed that college-educated adults cut back on their consumption across nearly all art forms.

When analyzed by gender, the data showed that females outpaced males in attendance across most of the arts -- the exceptions being jazz and Latin music events.

The full report is expected to be accessible on the NEA's website today. You can also tune into a webcast of a conference at which arts leaders from around the country will discuss the results.

The webcast is scheduled to begin today at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

-- David Ng

Photo: Visitors attend a recent exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

Duh. Start presenting art that is relevant to humanity, and they will come. Stop building monstrosities as Mausoleums to rich patrons, and make comfortable, livable, human proportioned spaces and they will come. Start presenting art and music outside of academic ones, and they will come.

Make LASCMA a place to meet and enjoy life in, to feel it intensely rather than be "smart', and they will come. Stop catering to rich patrons and art academies that they contyrol, and they will come. Stop showing only those who have been brainwashed and place MFA before their names, and they will come. Start searching for talent outside of the easily accessable, and humanly irrelevant, art academies and they will come.

Do your jobs, especially those who take public monies, and create spaces and present art and musics that elevate life, that allow one to feel it intensely, present that which triggers emotions of more, of commonality, of binding to one another and exploring nature, of things of purpose, and they will come.

Check out the possibilites a few hundred gallons of that obscure, old school substance, known as paint, can do to a site, and create the richness of color and harmony and living, that true creative art brings to us, in other words, start doing your jobs, and they will come.

art collegia delenda est

I'm thinking about arts education that has been getting short shrift forever. What if our children learned from the very earliest years that art and music is part of life for everyone? I suspect the study would show something different. I agree with Mr. Frazell about many of the ills he cites. The people with tons of money for the arts want mostly to attach their names to bricks and mortar, whereas truly supporting art comes from BUYING art from artists and creating environments where artists can afford to live and create. Too often, patrons, politicians, and commercial interest pool their influence to do things that are stupid. like trying to build another building for the Barnes art collection.

Donald said it all. There has been such a long hate for passion in the arts by the cabal that is the modern art world we have now come to the precipice. Somehow it’s evolved that intellect in art equates a cold dark nothing.
At its “commercial best” contemporary art will grudgingly exploit the shocking satire (Hirst and Koons.) This blind embrace of the smart dispassionate has a price. Low attendance. All forms of entertainment need relatable factor for the patron. That’s why art movies do badly, but that’s ok, their budgets are low. Museums budgets are huge. SHOW ART PEOPLE LIKE. Why didn’t the Hopper show make it to the west coast? It would have done very well.
Andrew Weyth, Klimpt, a good Russian show featuring masters like Nicola Fechin would bring people in. Show new artists who paint recognizable subjects. What sells in art books, sells to the public. Does contemporary art have to suffer? It can benefit. Run the shows side by side; there will be a bleed over. Embrace diversity.

Interesting survey. We are of course lower in the South. By how much? In what areas?
That said, it is just not much of our culture to attend "art" events. Although here in Nashville there has been a noticeable improvement with the Frist, expansion at Cheekwood, more gallery openings (in fact I can only think of 3 gallery closings over the past 10 years. Not bad. The opera looks to be sold out for every performance, even though we only have 3 events this year. The symphony has a brand new hall to showcase. The plays are drawing good numbers, and there are quite a few groups putting on provocative shows. (Anyone else out there that has seen The Goat?) I cannot speak to the jazz concerts, not too sure what all that may encompass.
I will agree very much with Mr Frazell though, in that there are many fewer events that lead us to travel. In fact, we have not been to an out of state museum in 3 years and aside from Porgy and Bess in Virginia next spring there is nothing planned. Most everything seems to be geared toward a different profile than us.

Yes, Jim Lewis, i have seen The Goat by Edward Albee a few years ago here in LA (at Mark Taper Forum, if i am not mistaken) and liked that play very much. You are saying that "everything seems to be geared toward a different profile than us". Who are "us" and how would you describe your "profile"? You seem like an intelligent person who is interested in fine arts - isn't that exactly the profile that should be "targeted"? Toward what kind of people do you find the arts to be geared?
Is it really just as simple as William Wray says - "SHOW ART PEOPLE LIKE"? What kind of people? During my visits to museums and galleries over the last few decades, many times i have seen people liking stuff that some of us here would never even call "art", let alone good art. Different people like different things. So, are you simply saying - show everything? Hard to be against that, but is it realistic or practical?
Most of those who call themselves "artists" probably believe and will argue that their creations are indeed connected to all those things Donald Frazell is talking about - human, natural, divine - but it does not make any one of us see (or hear) them any differently. If one starts judging works of art by their popularity numbers alone (which is what DF and WW seem to suggest here), then the lowest common denominator takes over and that does not seem to me like an acceptable solution either.
A 5% drop in arts events' attendance across the country, in just six years, is huge and very sad. On the more positive local side, however, according to this survey, almost every third Californian (and that includes newborns and children of all ages as well as terminally ill and institutionalized) visited an art museum or a gallery last year. That number does not look bad at all!

The numbers among the late boomers is way down, especially for contempt art. And they are not repeating thier visits.
No one is saying art is entertainment, they are different things for different reasons, yin and yang of a whole. But contempt art is for the self styled "intelligentsia", smart people of education but no sense, who cannot think for themselves outside of waht the academies tell them to do . Art is not for the masses, but is for everyone from all backgroundsto FEEL adn comprehend, or isnt art at all. It iss up to those who respond to it from each group to stand up and say what arts are, they must be defined just like any other word, or it has no meaning.

And art no onger has meaning, its a play thing for the rich and bored. Those who cant be too thin or too rich. The music I love is way over your head, yet iof the streets and life and few love it. Butit is still the best music man has created, as was the art of Matisse, Klee, Gauguin, and Cezanne. Art was dominated by Europe for awhile, as it had obscenely rich who allowed talented individuals complete and total time to pursue their crafts. But no longer, the wealth of information is out thre and availablt to anyone, academies are no longer needed, except to protect the interests of the status quo. And make no mistake, you are defending them.

arts are things of passion, taht complete us, taht bring balance of mind, body and soul. One msut be stron in all three to be aan artist and feel completely, a weak body is not conducive to sensaul intensity, nor more than one who is strictly athletic is a poet. But both can be, if they live thier areas in as intense a balance as posible. Art no onger is, its "smart", but lacks body, or true intelligence, the ability to process huge reams of information into their essence, throwing out the trash that is now made into fetish pieces of the limited smarts peoples "art".

Art is of us, for us, buy us, never them. The us can be from any group of any age of any ethnicity, as todays toadys are all lilly white. Witha few tokens to make them feel better. Intensity of mind, body and soul. thats creative.art. Always has been, always will be
Imperial Clothing, read it

art collegia delenda est

Mark I cited some examples in my post-- the main issue is we need to cut way down on the dominance of weak Conceptual art in the pubic eye. Look the reviews promoting artists on this blog; art shows with slogans scribbled on Cardboard, mud covered girls, paintings of planks.
Generations of artists have not been thought the fundamentals of art on school. Master degrees in art given to artists who were never taught to draw by teachers who can’t draw either. The art world espouses propaganda that a wide rage of skill sets is limiting to artistic expression. This has compromised the arts to the point where proficiency at drawing is poison. A definition of success as and artist today is when you have students making your art for you.
People are confused when they see art a child can do lionized as greatness. They want art they can see is something a talented master laboring a lifetime produced, art they can be in awe of yet understand as a reflection of today’s society. Snaky ideas, cynicism, dark satire, ugly abstraction rule the galleries, magazines and museums. Good-looking kids with imagery lifted or found and re- grouped are given the grants and the promotion. Art is cut from grade schools because most people don’t understand the domination of ugly conceptual art, further compounding the problem. Damien Hirst has been secretly be painting in a shed in his back yard for years. Bet he’s trying to do something that representational, but has to be ashamed of it.

When DF has spent decades collaborating and performing together with many of the world's greatest musicians (mostly classical and jazz, but occasionally others too) like i have, then and only then i may become interested in considering his comments about music seriously. Maybe then his assumptions about me would become a little closer to reality as well.
Meanwhile, i thank William Wray for a response that is coherent and reasonable. Art world, the way you describe it, is a mess indeed. You are mentioning "weak Conceptual art" which seems to imply that you know some strong Conceptual art as well. If that is true and if such art does not require drawing skills, then why do you consider such skills essential? Just wondering... It is hard to believe that influential bosses of the art world would not want to make as much money as they can by promoting and selling the stuff that is preferred by most people, but would instead insist on pushing garbage down our throats when, according to you, nobody really likes it - for decades! My feeling about dealing with the problem of declining attendance is closer to that of Evelyn Yaari who commented here earlier - there should be not less but more education in fine arts (preferably good kind, of course), it should start as early as possible (elementary school) and be brought to as many kids as possible.

Touched a nerve, eh? Unless your name is Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell or Wayne Shorter, I dont give a darn. You have proven your lack of understanding modern music in your comment in how rhythm is simply something to divide up music and give order, you really havent been listening over the last 80 years, Again, tempo and time signatues are NOT rhythm, you dont get it. You are Euro through and through, and have no understanding, or more imortantly, feeling for musics from India, Latin America, Africa and your own country. Sound like some are simply tolerant of ignorance for business sake, the time is done for that.

We must begin anew, save the Watts Towers, and build a true interactive arts vision, dance doesnt do it because they usually pick at best mediocre music, Sinatra, Talking heads, Cage, going down in quality music themes by "top" choreographers. Museums dont play music in the museums with the visual arts, and dont get the connection. Except for lame "whale" sounds in the Japanese Pavilion right now. Opera is show business, about as good as it gets outside of movies, but nothing new has been done worthwile in a hundred years. Yet all great creative visual arts are musical and or poetic by nature, never prosaic, which is but illustration. Often of decadence as with the 19th century Salon, and todays. No difference,

True creative arts are never effette, effeminant, emasculated, like todays. It is virile, masculine, feminine, not consumed with finish, but living life intensely, physically. And William, i disagree with the comment on attractive MFAs, most are scrawny and never picked up a ball or weight in their lives. That wont get it done. Mind, BODY and soul, cant refer to what you dont know.

art collegia delenda est

Mark I will be the first to admit that like all vocations in life there is a dominance of mediocre talent who though a combination of reasons from connections to politics tend to dominate any given field. A mediocre majority runs the world is no great epiphany. There are tons of bad painters of all approaches. The problem is that all forms of education have certain standards that have to be met to become a proficient in your field of endeavor. Not so with art. Basics are replaced with emphasis of a clever idea.
A good example might be Glenn Ligon the conceptual artist who was chosen to have his work hang in the white house. While he has enough education to understand basic design, the strength his work is of the metaphor of cultural repression, not art fundamentals. He encapsulates the concept by taking the text of famous writers written pages, blows them up to a distorted super graphic size, and silk-screens them onto his surface of choice. Like a child with a Xerox machine copying and distorting he "creates" some nice texture effects. The metaphor of cultural repression takes visual form by being impossible to read. Get it? I guess some people find this deep; I think it’s smart high school level collage.
When rich people buy this art they feel smart and socially informed. In this case they now have a politically correct hook that seems deep, but is easy to explain to their friends and makes them sound like a sage. Critics, galleries, museums do the same. It fits smoothly into marketing, investment and the promotion of the Cabal that controls the art world.
Could Mr. Legion do the same with a sound education in the fundamentals of representational painting? Picture a portrait painting of James Baldwin on the skill level of Andrew Weyth that showed the layers of cultural repression etched on the man's face. Two approaches to the same idea. One supported by the art world, one considered trite craft.
If Mr.Ligon could paint well he might combine the two and have more tools in his toolbox. In the end the 20 years it takes to learn how to paint is too much of a sacrifice in a world where the power brokers give it no value. Better to network; appropriate images and re- format them, follow fashion, and exploit the guilt of cultural repression. How is it something is more unadulterated that comes from combining imagery than something that comes out of your own brush? I can’t answer that, but the art world sells that idea.

To DF:
Nice try, Joni! What, it is not your name either? Then why should i pay any attention to what you are saying about music? Of course i shouldn't, but i must admit that ignorance masquerading as omniscience does annoy me a bit sometimes. Speaking of Herbie Hancock, by the way - at least i have performed together with him. Have you? In case you don't know, making music together always means listening to each other - me to him and him to me. With fine musicians like that, believe me, it really is fun!
As usual, you are arguing with the definition of rhythm that is entirely of your own invention and is, not surprisingly, completely incorrect. My definition of it is in fact the correct one and it can be found in one of our previous discussions from over a month ago. For the benefit of other readers who may have trouble locating it, here it is once again: rhythm in music is the way musical sounds are organized in time - their so-called "horizontal" relationship. This is as simply as i can possibly put it without sacrificing accuracy. You are welcome. If anyone is interested and asks nicely, i might be inclined to explain what tempos and time signatures are, when i have a few minutes at some later time.
To WW:
Thank you very much for some interesting examples of what we are all trying to discuss here - problems of the art world and how to get more people interested in the arts.

Please explain what tempos and time signatures are, MarK. I'd like to learn more about music.

Poor, poor rhythmically retarded(in the literal sense of held back, undeveloped, immature)MK. you are such a creature of sheet music, of a old, dead world European conception of time. dont you know that world died in WWI? Europe has always used a beat, placing notes in space, not driving them. Creating a simplistic structure for melody(line) and Harmony(color0 to evolve and describe. There is no ral rhythm in this. It is an old man sitting peacefully before a window listening to old music, the heart beating the only sense of life, of movement. All other musics have more developed forms of rhythms, sense only in Bach and the polonaise and mazurkas of Chopin, and Spanish musics which have the non European music of flamenco(of gypsys from India and Egypt, and of Islam) to draw upon.

African and Indian are far more developed and dont use a simplistic beat, but actually play around a pulse, in jazz, swing, that of the body, of the soul, as well as mind. Listen to the drummers Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and Billy Higgins of the three most influential groups of the 60s, Colrtranes, Miles,and Colemans. They dont keep a beat, they play around it. They propel the music. Jones is African , polyrhthms that combine into one huge driving force, the bass player more plodding and on beat, but his is a holy instrument setting the harmonies as much as time. Williams barely touches the drums, his cymbals flying like a hummingbird, alive, givng texture and multidirectional forces to the rich color of Miles horn, which doesnt use vibrato, a cheap euro trick to give some sort of fluctuation to a constant and single minded direction. Higgins in between, with Charlie Hadens bass harmonic, Colemans abstract conception of harmelodics infusion all four of the group. With no piano, as Haden takes that role while Higgins makes the piece run, not just sit and think. It is alive,

In jazz one is a basketball player to your contempt Euro music chessplayer, which is why your stuff is just silly games like Duchamps toys. It being clever over living, being intense in mind body and soul, feeling the heart race, changing tempo and direction naturally, Not forced and artificial of a singular overtrained and hyped intelligence, but the blood flowing through ones veins, the tingling in the fingertips, all rhythms, all different at the same time, yet all One.

Hancock and Corea both played with "avant garde" Euro conceptions for a minute in the early 70s, then moved on. They took what they could find of worth, and incorporated it into much,much more. Euro musics arent incapable of this, why? Because of their limited, retarded sense of rythm. There is no movement, no breath, no sex or love. It is all mental. Which is self absorbed, about ones own thoughts, not a common humanities. And so we got what you see, and hear, and trained yourself to sense more than actually is. Thats academia. Anemia.

You are still stuck in the musical equivalent of salon painting. Pre Cezanne, who brought a rhythm to his work. He unified painting, making all three parts, of line(melody) color(harmony) and structure over composition(rhythm). Look at his last paintings by far his greatest, and his watercolors. Mt St Victoire is but a mosaic of color, interlacing layers of colored brush strokes into a rhythmical harmony, melody barely surviving on the suface, but underneath it flows. Rhythm became the texture of the piece, a neglected facet of art in Europe before this. Braques sand in paint, Klee's plaster on burlap, giving a twisted sens of space in a multi layerd rhythm, with the arythmical black lines as bars and color blocks on top. Polyrhythms. Yet no beat apparent, but felt. Far more sophisticated far more intense, far more real. for art reflects truth, it does not attempt to replicate it. That is always a lie, no one can possess it. Some twist it like Dali, but still claim to own it. Yet this view has now corrupted modernism into the contempt silly mind games and attempts at personal control, to appease the rich and their need for grandeur.

Self delusions, as is contempt music, and so the quote I gave you from Wynton dismissing your music. There are far more types more advanced if not as overdressed and arrogant, players in formation in penguin suits. That is not about music, its about show, and a heightened sense of power in the audience and its patrons. Lies.

As far as listening to each other, LOL!. in small ensembles yes, but always looking for signposts as to where each over practiced piece will then lead, at the service of the composer, not adding anything, or as little as humanly can. Being a slave to one individual when the potential of several of equal knowledge working as one has so many more possibilities, and intensity of soul. Of creating From a work, not looking to illustrate a theory, as bad art always does. Theories and written music are but the starting point, life must then dictate the direction. One cannot notate all music, those who read Charlie Parkers work thought it was nothing, til they heard it at speeds beyond comprehension, and developed relationships impossible to put into written form. If it doesnt feel natural, right, then you have failed. It must be organic alive. And what could be more artificial than Cage and many of the other overhyped insular, self absorbed wannabes.

Ask you "buddy" Mr Hancock how the sound was that famous night, Lincolns birthday in a new Lincoln Center 1964. Huddled together, they couldnt hear one another, and thought their concert to benefit voting rights,a passionate cause,a disaster. Yet in the slower pieces especially ,My Funny Valentine CD,with the faster Four and More, created perhaps the greatest concert ever. They had to strain to hear one another, and so sensed each other, and cut the experimentation into what they truly felt, of passion formed by a mind and physical technique. As jazz musicians feed off one another, take tangents into new possibilities yet firmly entranced into the original intent, emotion, passion, rhythm driving them through new terrain. To find new colors and forms.
After this group, when Wayne Shorter joined, time became liquid, it bent and flowed, the music warped and reflected what we truly know of our universe, resolving in not an end, but a past that continues to develop and grow. Life. Hancocks having been a student of physics didn’t hurt. What do academics know? Only what they are taught, they don’t explore outside of their limited worlds, and so, are stilted, and cant dance. Cant be alive, cant know what it is to be human, it has been trained out of them like so many Pavlovs dogs. It is all about them. Because they “know” better.
. An orchestra doesn’t listen or hear other sections, they look at the head penguin with a stick, he keeps them in line, he controls the flow, not each others interaction. The venues are made for sound to go out, not to one another, that is not needed. for they dont listen to one another, they perform preformed instructions. Not like a basketball player who has spent years learning the fundamentals to then improvise to those attempting to stop him, and play with a group in a constantly changing flow. That of life. Not a game, as with chess, and Euro Avant Garde, dead things, like reading in Latin, academic, as they are dead languages. Ones one cannot feel for they are no longer adapting, evolving, living. And so incapable of human passion, but can for mental knowledge. Whihc is but one. Mind. body and soul. Your musics lack them, only mental gymnastics, and so, irrelevant, as combining al three into a far more difficult and elevated form , leading to far more potential growth and knowledge. One does not learn from words alone, nor simple sounds placed in a certain order in space. An empty space, when it is truly alive.

I am sure you will have your arguments, lacking substance, but hones from ages of academic drivel, and lacking in human experience. Of exploring nature. Of reaching for god. You know. Art.

Have a nice day!
art collegia delenda est
Save the Watts Towers. Tear down the Ivories.

I think I understand what tempos and time signatures are now. I used a metronome while reading the epitome and got through it in 3/8 time.

Nicely put, Cate. You are learning fast! And remembering well...
Unlike DF, whose every pronouncement about classical music reveals new and ever-deepening levels of spectacular ignorance that is stubbornly satisfied with itself. For example, that ludicrous statement he made about sections of the orchestra not having to listen to one another. In reality, any musician who does not listen to others would not last more than a few minutes in any fine orchestra. When the acoustics on stage are so bad that musicians have trouble hearing each other, which does happen sometimes, then discreet amplification is used and speakers are placed in strategic locations to enable musicians to hear each other better. The function of the conductor is unfortunately often misunderstood by many and usually overemphasized even by music critics who should know better.
The quote by Wynton Marsalis, as i have shown earlier, says absolutely nothing about classical music and is therefore irrelevant to any of these arguments. And DF, unlike WM, clearly knows very little if anything about all the amazing developments in classical music during the last hundred years. What he writes about rhythm shows that his definition of it is "whatever i understand as rhythm", which is a very small part of what rhythm really is.
In general, this kind of attitude that is consistently exhibited by DF - "whatever i like is good; but if i don't get it, i don't like it; and if i don't like it, it's bad" - is probably quite typical of narrow-minded people. He actually said a few reasonable things about jazz, but the funny thing is that he keeps defending it so fervently as if somebody is attacking it, while in fact i have never said a single negative word about his favorite kind of music. Apparently, he is unable to comprehend that situation because, according to his line of thinking, praising something automatically means denigrating something else. Sad.

Still got the old ostrich head in the ground, or elsewhere eh MK? No, Wynton said avant garde composers. Nobody calls those like Monk and Shorter, or Miles and even Bird avant garde, though they were. A few with European leanings like Gunther Shuller or the Bleys or silly old Keith Jarrett, who really just put together strings of plagiarisms. He was comparing jazz musician/composers to Euro eggheads, straight up. Why do you think he left Euro behind, he proved his pont and moved on. Though he is like the Mortician at jazz' funeral, making it look pretty, if now dead. But a few are left, who must be treasured, yet monies go to clowns. You are still in denial. How would Wynton compare Shorter to avant garde when he was THE avant garde composer of jazz?

While I like and respect those of Euro musics from before the Great War, little came afterwards, most that did German and of the middle war years, our 30 Year or Peloponnesian War era. And none Gallic, flacky, flighty types they are, and wannabe Cartesian, and so fools like Cage who think they are intelligent, when only an academic who has been taught like a dog, trained to hear a certain way, would ever claim so. And when these overtrained penguins do listen its for cues, not to react and complement, the music is already played out, and to a tricked out metronome, mechanical, no pulse. No life. Mental. And nothing is more retarded than thinking one is smart. Academies are made as a retreat from the world to study in peace, not to find order in the supposed chaos of life. You have to do something first, and learn to feel life, impossible in sterile, academic settings.

You dont understand rhythm, period. Euros dont have any, it was never developed and drums were never a part of musics from the Hellenes on, its about control, not flow. Rhythm is equal to and ingrained, intertwined as one with melody and harmony. It is not a complicated beat system to hold sounds together, it is the pulse of the music itself. Post WWII "Music" is simply there to keep academic types employed, same as with academic visual arts. They represent the status quo, and whatever "new" and "dialogue" created music is just two sides of the same coin arguing non existent issues, irrelevant, and certainly about keeping thsoe in power that way.

Rhythm is freedom, it joins us together. And so, ignored and corrupted into nothingness by academies, whose money comes from those they pretend to criticize. You are but jesters, fools, as entertaining as Damian Hirst. A complete waste of monies when there are thousands of more important issues in our world, a distraction from facing truth. Absurdist entertainment for the pseudo intellectula, rich and decadent set.

jazz may be dying, its day is pretty much done. But your stuff is completely dependant on grants from rich institutions and government funds. It would have never gotten off the ground if it depended on ticket and CD sales, like all other forms of music. Even more than Opera. which is also but a fantasy world. Disneyland is much cheaper, and a full days entertainment. Sport more true and honestly, skillfuly, competitive, and dependant on earned and proven abilities. Even with Tigers HGH, now thats a depressing thing, the lil playa outa control in more ways than one. Still, the best. Can your 'Music" claim that? LOL!. Only that it is more lily pure, literally, Ivory color blind boy. LOL!

oh but avant garde composer are so clever! riiiiiiight.
Get a job.

art e musica collegia delenda est
The Valhallas of the Pharisees, keepers of the flame gone wrong, for they are supposed to protect and preserve, but have mistaken themselves for Messiahs and Prophets. And so, corrupted.

Save the Watts Towers, tear down the Ivories. In south LA lies greatness.

When someone says that he likes the way a person A does a certain thing more than how people in group B do the same, it means that the person who is expressing this view does not think that the person A belongs to group B. Furthermore, when that someone says something like: "These new players are not bad, but i prefer the way Magic Johnson used to create scoring chances for his teammates" - are those "new players" meant to be hockey or soccer stars? Of course not! The person would clearly be talking about basketball only - so he would probably be referring to Chris Paul and Deron Williams. The same with jazz and classical - they are different worlds, and therefore any reasonable person would not be talking about both in the same sentence without specifying it. Finally, WM explicitly states that he is talking about his own preference and not equating it with an objective judgment of quality. He knows better. That's the end of yet another reading comprehension lesson for now. As for the opinions about rhythm, each one of us is definitely entitled to have his own preference.

After drawing myself a visual aid of "Figure A" and "Figure B" and then creating an old-school diagram of your sentence structure, MarK, I began to understand your explanation. Some concepts are complicated and difficult to explain. I learn best when I break things down, pull out the essential parts, and then put them back together again to better understand the whole.

If I passed this "reading comprehension" lesson, I have come away with an understanding that there are distinctly different types of art and music that cannot be lumped together in one category. There is a line of distinction between these types that cannot (or should not?) be crossed. It is unreasonable to compare, judge (or pit against one another) two different types of music (e.g., jazz and classical). Each type has its own unique qualities.

It seems to me that the trouble starts when an artist who loves both types of music attempts to blur the lines of distinction between the two. Is it possible to compose a "jazzy" classical piece of music and still be considered a great classical work?

The answer to your question, Cate, is an unequivocal "yes and no". There is definitely a line of distinction, but it is not akin to a Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989, and i wouldn't go so far as to say that it "should not be crossed". In addition to Wynton Marsalis, several other musicians have been stepping over this line on many occasions - e.g. George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Andre Previn. The first two tried to erase the line, attempting to create some kind of fusion, mostly with limited success; while the third kept the two sides well apart - he always made it clear that he was primarily a classical musician who was nevertheless proficient as a traditional jazz pianist as well, when he felt like it. More recently, an outstanding classical pianist Denis Matsuev has shown a notable talent in jazz too, and he has been performing in both capacities for about a decade now. Forays into classical repertoire by such talented jazz musicians like Bela Fleck and Chick Corea sound surprisingly boring and utterly uninteresting, compared to good classical performers, let alone the great ones. A very fine Austrian classical pianist named Friedrich Gulda who died a decade ago was apparently quite impressive in jazz too.
The important thing, in my opinion, is that both types of music have been influencing each other for about a century. Composers such as Maurice Ravel, Darius Milhaud, Dmitry Shostakovich, John Adams and many others used elements of jazz in their classical compositions. Your concluding question can't be answered without a clear definition of what should be considered 'great'. If that word is used loosely, then one can name several well-written classical works that have an unmistakable jazz flavor. But i would not call any of them truly 'great'. Obviously, jazz musicians take a lot from classical music as well, and then shape whatever it is they have learned, according to their musical sensibilities. For instance, French pianist named Jacques Loussier has practically made a career out of performing and recording his own jazz arrangements of classical pieces - mainly by Bach but many others as well - most often as a trio with bassist Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac and drummer Andre Arpino.
So, i would say that the line is still there, but many of the finest musicians on both sides of it are interested in what is going on on the other side and there is a good mutual respect between the two "camps". One of the most interesting examples of crossing this line and combining the two sides that i personally have heard in recent decades is music by Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin who writes primarily for piano and whose non-improvisational pieces are written in unmistakably classical forms while using an equally unmistakable jazz language, harmonically and rhythmically speaking. There is a brilliant recording of some of his music made by the remarkable Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin whose recent performance in San Francisco (of a very different repertoire) was reviewed on this blog just about a week ago.

I agree Coreas classical efforts are rather lame, though his early adventures with the avant garde(Euro) are interesting, his best works being truly American though, like Windows, Samba Yantra and Blues Connotation(Monk). He had incredible talent, but got messed up, Scientology will do that.

He has done little but silliness since he started Return to Forever, though his dual piano work with Herbie Hancock was excllent, the boy can play. His first effort with Miles, In a Silent Way, is incredible, one of the best works ever, with Hancock also on electric piano and Joe Zawinul on organ. It blows ALL the minimalist Euro stuff away, as minimalism is actually Sub Minimalism. Matisse had already taken it as far as it could go and still be alive, vital, passionate. And Miles is the Matisse of music.

Jazz players doing classical, especially on their terms as improvising artists, have done much better than the other way around. Hubert Laws doing Passacaglia in C minor by Bach killed Jean Piere Rampal when I saw them both at the Bowl decades ago. Rampal an incredible technician, but the usual Gallic flightiness, not beef, all flash. Gorgeous tone, but no depth to his work. Not a creative artist.

Most jazz musicians have a solid foundation in Euro musics, as well as many others from throughout the world, which is why it is the first and only Modern music. Just as european artists had begun to seek art they equated on an equal level, beginning with Braque and Picasso, though earlier had like Japanese prints and such, as European arts had hit a dead end before WWII. To keep alive it needed new forms of language to reflect the world around them what we knew, scientifically, and how we lived in an industrialized world.

I remember years with Reagan in office a PBS show of Itzak Perlman and another great Israeli violinist showcasing jazz musicians, as it is far more admired overseas than here at home, which is typical of new creative arts. Matisse and Gauguin sold far more to Germans and Russians and Americans than to the French, who considered them rebels against the status quo the hacks depend upon for career, when they were truly building upon the past. Same here, we dont appreciate what we have.

Dizzy Gillespie was there, and I believe Corea, not sure who the bassist and drummer were. But they played hardcore jazz, bebop and some more progressive, possibly some free jazz, and Nancy "with the smilng face" was nodding attempting to look like she was interested during the whole thing. Too much color and intensity for her comprehension, let alone spiritual passion. She was Reagans wife and chief defender after all. Then they brought out Diane Schurr, who as always sang over the top on everything. An incredible instrument with absolutely no taste or feel for life. Being blind, i guess i cant blame her, but what a waste of talent. More Barbara Streisand than Betty Carter. And of course Nancy came running up and hugging her, she could relate to it, nice white girl that Diane is.

Then they had a lil jam at the end, with Itzhak playing, my god the man can play, his tone, his projection, but he had absolutely no idea where to go. Which is why great musicians respect and understand just how advanced and creative jazz can be. Certainly isnt always, just like anything else 80% is crap, and then perhaps 10% of whats left really, really good, and them some true jems, truly brilliant works strewn within. Euro musics have weeded out most of the crap with time, as all tings are and little of our time wil survive. But then, not al is. Like Wynton said about Euro musics, its just some more music, not better or worse than any other necessarily, take the works one at a time, as we should all of our fellow humans.

It is not inherently better, but does have fantastic work within its sphere. But one cannot write off other forms from other cultures, and why i am furious when the eggheads of euro music call theirs "Music", as if everything else is lesser forms, which is far from true. Every culture has its strengths and weaknesses, Germans were the best at music, but god look at their stuff now. French at color, Americans at movement and rhytmic musics. Where all are one. Team games, rather than one voice magnified. Latin America is the future now. But other cultures have been fantastic in music and the arts, Islamic, Buddhist, Indonesia, Japan, Africa with its many cultures, Pre Columbian. Many have added to our common humanity, and this is where Modern art and music attempted to create a common mythology, to bind us all as one.

Which the Academies have steered us away from for profit for career. And splintering the audience for marketing profit, instead of creative arts purpose. To embody the yearnings of mind, body and soul entwined of Man. And so.

art collegia delenda est
Save the Watts Towers, tear down the Ivories.

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