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.