Overview

Dissertation Documents

Dissertation Document: Dissertation Overview  – Restructuring Classical Music

Dissertation Proposal, Advisors and Program

Abstract

Classical music has become marginalized in America. The flagship classical music ensembles that provide the bulk of performance employment – symphony orchestras – continue to struggle or fail. This risks the loss of professional performances of the great orchestral works of the classical music Canon. Restructuring Classical Music argues for a shift away from a focus on symphony orchestras that put a financially straining 80 – 108 musicians on a stage. As an alternative, it calls for a move towards more stable, enduring, less labor intensive and expensive 24 musician chamber orchestras, thereby rightsizing orchestras to the needs and funding capacities of their communities.

It calls for expanding the reach of the Canon by rescoring some of these great works for chamber orchestra and proves the viability of this process by presenting three masterworks from the German, French, and Russian schools, representing almost 1000 pages of scores and parts. Restructuring Classical Music documents the methodologies and modalities developed for achieving this rescoring process through Extreme Scoring.

Further, Restructuring Classical Music eschews the geographical centralization of orchestras in downtown concert halls, as well as the failed outreach activities used by U.S. orchestras to acquire new patrons. It instead provides and documents a model that orchestras can use for systematically capturing the essence of their communities by learning the lessons of the brilliant model developed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic in 2011-13 through The Brooklyn Model. By combining classical music with the culture and music of their chosen communities, professional orchestras as well as classical ensembles of any size can regain relevance in American society while preserving the Canon.

Given that there are implications to making changes to classical music masterworks in Extreme Scoring, there are also aesthetic, ethical, and ontological issues discussed in The Aesthetics and Ethics of Restructuring Classical Music. Some argue against changing something that is already perfect and the composer’s intention. Others aver that the sharing of the classical music Canon in any form is justifiable if it emotionally moves people. Who is right? Only time and the marketplace will tell.