What's the future for music?

Thursday 26 September, 6.30pm until 8.00pm, Culturgest, Rua Arco do Cego, Piso 1, 1000-300 Lisbon, Portugal International Satellite Events 2013

The debate will be in English and Portuguese with simultaneous interpretation.

Tickets: FREE, tickets available at the venue on the day from 18:00 culturgest.bilheteira@cgd.pt

Today more music is being produced and listened to than ever before. The development of digital technology has made it easier to become a composer as well as to consume music: on your iPod; headphones at work; streamed through your house. All the world’s music, classical and contemporary, is pretty much just a click away.

But is the record stuck in the same old groove? Classical music seems to have settled down after the iconoclasm of the first half of the twentieth century and it is not obvious that the canon will be rocked anytime soon by another Stravinsky or a Boulez. More disturbingly, its audience just keeps getting older. Despite frantic efforts to reach out to ‘youth’, the concert halls retain their social niche appeal. Even in apparently thriving classical centres like Vienna or Prague, concert halls have send out young players dressed up as period Mozarts to sweep up tourists for the evening’s performance. The traditional authority of classical music is increasingly in doubt.

Meanwhile pop music, while free of the age concern, just doesn’t make any money except for the superstars and has become so fragmented in genre and style that any given new song is actually heard by fewer people than it once was. It is not obvious either that the generations since the 1960s are growing out of rock and into classical as they get older: refusing to judge and rank music, they prefer to wear their eclecticism as a badge of pride. But if we like all music, do we truly love any of it? Are we indifferent to what we hear? Ours is an age of superficial abundance and diminishing audiences, in which music is frequently lauded but rarely revered – “great!”, but not Great. So just what is the future for music?

View a recording of the debate on the Culturgest website

Vítor Belanciano
editor and columnist, Público

Ivan Hewett
chief music critic, Daily Telegraph; professor, Royal College of Music; broadcaster; author, Music: healing the rift

Dr António Pinho Vargas
composer; teacher of composition, Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa

Angus Kennedy
convenor, The Academy; author, Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination

Produced by
Angus Kennedy convenor, The Academy; author, Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination
Session partners