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The Music Column

Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

I had long been in search of a pretext for writing a column on sex, drugs, and classical music when I discovered that, by extraordinary coincidence, just such a subtitle adorned Blair Tindall’s memoir, Mozart in the Jungle (2005).  The televised series of the same name seemed also to feature much sex, drugs, and classical music, though my brief viewing was curtailed by an indignant hand (mine) on the remote control—one which refused to tolerate more than a few minutes of the show.  I had learned the lesson: If you want to attract readers and viewers both, sex and drugs can indeed draw the attentions of those readers and viewers to classical music, though sex and drugs cannot sustain them.  And if you are with me so far, then perhaps the point is made.

But there are notable points made about the status of classical music today in Blair Tindall’s book.  One of them is about the disconnect between musical education and jobs in the music establishment.  If the young musician cannot succeed in musical life as it is (with possibly a subsidized appointment to an orchestra, and gigs on the side), then that same person is inadequately educated in much else, as far as job skills go.  There are many more trained musicians than there are places for them, and their own education actually...

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