Review of the Decade
On Music Matters this week, Tom Service marks the end of the ‘noughties’, leading a discussion about the impact on classical music of the decade’s many new and refurbished arts centres, the changing face of the recording industry and the revolutionary effect of technology and the internet.
Drawing on archive from Music Matters’ coverage of some of the main events of the decade, Tom is joined by three people who have each played a role in shaping the role of classical music at the start of the 21st century – Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre (which re-opened in 2007), Anthony Sargent, General Director of The Sage Gateshead (celebrating 5 years since its opening), and Richard Morrison, Chief Music Critic of The Times since 2001.
New and Refurbished
Ten years ago the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, re-opened after a major refurbishment; the beginning of the 21st century was difficult time for the company, but Antonio Pappano, who arrived as Music Director in 2002, tells Tom how the search for new audiences has resulted in a transformation over the last few years.
The opening and re-opening of many arts centres around the UK has had a big impact on live performance, relationships with audiences and the role of local communities. Jude and Anthony react to interviews they gave Music Matters when their respective buildings (re-)opened, and they discuss the impact of others which include the London Coliseum, home of English National Opera, to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Glasgow City Halls and the Grand Theatre in Leeds.
The decade has also been a rollercoaster ride for the recording industry. It started with many predicting the death of the CD; the format still accounts for 90% of classical music sales, but the impact of the download revolution, and new methods of sharing and distributing music, has created a huge challenge for the industry.
Paul Moseley, General Director of Decca’s A&R and London-based operations, has experienced life on the inside of two very different models; having started the decade at Decca, he tells Tom why he left to set up the independent record company Onyx, and why he recently came back to the world of the majors.
Technology and the Internet
More generally, the role of technology and the internet has transformed every aspect of classical music-making – from composition and performance, to criticism. The veteran American critic, and blogger on the future of classical music, Greg Sandow, shares his thoughts on a decade which has seen an explosion in the ways music and ideas are shared online.
Throughout the programme Jude, Anthony and Richard each share their picks of the decade – the best operas, composers, concerts and recordings – and they make some predictions about the future of classical music in the UK. As institutions across the country come to terms with the effects of the recession, can the achievements of the last ten years be sustained into the next decade?