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Finding contemporary classical fans online and in the real world
February 16, 2012 10:49 AM   Subscribe

I love contemporary classical music, but I don't know enough other people that do too. Aside from Sequenza21, what are some good resources for meeting people online that share this interest? Also, aside from attending local events (I live in Madison, WI), can anybody suggest ways to meet people in person who are also fans? BTW, if this is an interest of yours too, feel free to send a message.
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Attending events is, in my opinion, such a passive activity that you might never meet people that way unless you're outgoing and capable of cultivating relationships with perfect strangers. I might think of this in a couple other ways:

- Is there a local group/organization that is predominantly involved in contemporary classical music? Volunteer to be their equivalent of a band booster. Volunteer to sit on their board of directors. This is something you care about, so volunteer your skills to make sure that it happens and stays a vibrant and growing part of the cultural tapestry of your community. It has been my experience that contemporary classical is more popular among musicians, so if you can start cultivating friendships with musicians you'll dramatically increase the number of fans in your circle of friends. Getting involved with an arts org is a great way to do this. (I performed with, and then served on the board of, a small chamber choir in Philadelphia that was created specifically to perform new works by local composers - that's how I met all my contemporary classical friends!)

- Cultivate contemporary classical music lovers. For the most part, they're born and not made. A few years ago, after I played Hindemith's Sonata for Flute for my mother, she announced that she hated neo-classical music and that she couldn't listen to it ever again. I took it upon myself to create her a mix-cd entitled "Neo Classical Music for People Who Hate Neo Classical Music." She was actually very appreciative, and finally admitted that she shouldn't have written the whole musical period off in one moment. Go to events yourself, but bring other friends who you think might be able to learn to appreciate the music. Also, there seems to be a bit of crossover these days between contemporary classical and film scores - think Nico Muhly and Philip Glass - so that's a great way to sucker someone in. I can convince my artsy-fartsy film friends to go see Tilda Swinton in "I Am Love" and next thing you know, they're enjoying a score by John Adams and I get to talk to them about it!
posted by jph at 11:06 AM on February 16, 2012


As well as Sequenza 21, I would suggest New Music Box.
I don't know if Twitter is the best way to meet people, but it might be a good start.
Try following contemporary groups/composers/critics on Twitter?
I would suggest eighth blackbird, International Contemporary Ensemble, Alex Ross, SONiC festival etc, and poke around their @s and follows to find a lot more.
posted by cushie at 11:11 AM on February 16, 2012


Ask someone in the composition department at UW to recommend groups or events; I get the impression the music school is pretty big on outreach. Or wait for a function/concert and talk to the producers/hosts afterward.
posted by aimedwander at 11:51 AM on February 16, 2012


I would suggest blogging about it - I love contemporary classical music, too, and one time on my blog I enthused about a particular contemporary classical composition and the composer left a comment! It's not necessarily a way to meet people immediately, though, as it will take time for your blog to establish a readership.
posted by research monkey at 12:33 PM on February 16, 2012


Can you sing at all? I met most of my friends who like classical music (contemporary and otherwise) in choirs. According to the music department website, the UW has choir open to the community--and at 180 members, I doubt it's especially competitive to join, although it is auditioned. There may well be other community choirs in Madison, too, but I'm not really familiar with the area.
posted by Aquinas at 1:22 PM on February 16, 2012


If you do sing, there are several community choirs you could join.

The Madison Symphony Chorus is gigantic, but I doubt it's what you're looking for. The repertoire isn't super-contemporary and tends toward the "standards" of choral-orchestral literature.

The Wisconsin Chamber Choir may possibly be more up your alley. Or the Festival Choir seems more contemporary, stating that they often commission new pieces.

Of course, this is all irrelevant if you don't sing, in which case, sorry.

Definitely contact the UW comp department for recommendations of groups/events, as aimedwander suggests, though. They will be so happy to have someone interested.
posted by altopower at 4:33 PM on February 16, 2012


While there is a difference between "classical contemporary" and "experimental" music, there's often overlap between the people interested in the two. You might try checking out some of the events or people associated with this blog, which could lead to some interesting new musical experiences as well as friends. (Experimental shows are often low-key and conversation-with-strangers-and-beer friendly.)
posted by daisystomper at 4:48 PM on February 16, 2012


I'm a member of the UW Wind Ensemble. We usually perform at least one piece on each concert cycle that is in the contemporary/experimental vein.

You might want to check out our concert next Saturday night (sorry for the self-promotion). Each year, we do a "Circa Now" concert, featuring pieces by living composers. Composers of the pieces are brought in to work with the group and also attend the concert. Next weekend the group is playing a piece by Zhou Long who will be visiting Madison. Here's the Concert Link. Also attending the concert will be Michael Udow and John Stevens. This might be a good opportunity to stick around after the concert and chat with other fans of contemporary music.
posted by mcarlson85 at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2012


This is definitely college radio-type music. The station I worked at had 4 hours of new classical music every Sunday, and you can stream online.
posted by radioamy at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2012


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