“Orchestrate a Renaissance”

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Composing a comeback for classical music and classical architecture is the twin purpose, or so it seems, of the Future Symphony Institute, founded in Baltimore by Andrew Balio, the principal trumpet of that city’s symphony orchestra. Its latest project is the subject of this blog’s post just prior to this, “Krier’s symphony for London.”

Under the motto “Orchestrate a Renaissance,” trumpeter Balio and the philosopher and architectural theorist Roger Scruton have assembled a website to express the aims of Future Symphony. Those are enunciated in the site’s “About” section. I read it and had the devil of a time figuring out which paragraph to quote. Each one seems like a drooping bough on a tree whose fruit is truth. How to choose! I finally pegged on one, but urge readers to read the rest. So here is the paragraph summarizing the problem:

There should be no doubt about the need for a renaissance. The long retreat of music education from public school curriculums, the frequency of closures and lockouts among the nation’s longstanding musical institutions, the growing tendency to couch arguments for the relevance or irrelevance of classical music in political, utilitarian, antihistorical, and reductionist terms, the surge in popularity of “solutions” that offer to repudiate or even dismantle the tradition, the administration of the art form as a socialist program or government agency and the subsequent slouching toward bureaucratic bloat and uninspired mediocrity, and the paucity of viewpoints upon any of these subjects all point to a growing gap between those who speak today for classical music and the eternal and transcendent art form itself.

The paragraphs following summarize the gathering hope for such a renaissance, the nature of the beauty that classical music has in store for citizens, and the promise it holds out for a civic efflorescence in the world.

Substitute the word architecture throughout and the sentiments strike me as equally true. Indeed, by championing Leon Krier’s proposal for a London Music Forum, the Institute suggests that the renaissance of classical music it seeks cannot happen without a classical setting in which to unfold. Krier, in his description of the Forum, compares the lively and beautiful setting for classical concerts at Covent Garden with the dreary music halls at Southbank and the Barbican. He envisions restaurants and cafés behind the colonnade of John Nash’s Park Crescent, directly to the Forum’s south, serving concert goers and music students who will use the concert hall, chamber music hall, music school and exhibition gallery of which the Forum will be composed.

Go to the website to luxuriate in its insights, or simply to experience a space in cyberspace of truly elegant design, without the tiresome jumble and excitation common to most websites. The Institute’s website was created by its editor, Laura Jean Balio.


Proposed London Music Forum. (Leon Krier)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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4 Responses to “Orchestrate a Renaissance”

  1. Pingback: “Orchestrate a Renaissance” | mygardenfoodandotherthings

  2. Proudscousemama says:

    Love this kind of art, renaissance women are my beauty ideal because despite the squalor and dire poverty that people were living in and the threat of the Black Death lurking around every corner, the people look so jolly, full of life and having lots of fun at often bucolic looking bacchanalian feasts and not really caring about tomorrow and just living for the present moment with the artist capturing the moment at the right time.


  3. barry says:

    Seems many “art” forms suffer from modernism’s rejection of what has worked well and attempts to be shocking and different. Besides classical music and architecture as in this post, maybe a similar thing could be said about painting (when the public speaks, as at middle class art shows, its visual representations such landscapes that people like and buy) as well as struggling opera, jazz (give me Armstrong, Ellington!) Film may be doing better but I remember when stories were more important than special effects, chases, and suggestion was scarier than on-screen gore. I think even country music took a bad modernistic turn to too much blah modernism as compared to Acuff, Williams, Cline… that are classics in that genre. Maybe religion too which some see as losing its sense of wonder and mystery in an attempt to be modern. Can you feel as spiritual in a airport lounge type place as in a cathedral?

    What about poetry?


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