13 Talking About Classical Music

Radio as Public Musicology

Chris Dromey

In the spacious, public foyer of London’s Southbank Centre (Europe’s largest arts centre), a wall-sized advert trails the concerts of the venue’s four resident orchestras with the slogan ‘a classical music season exclusively for pretty much everyone.’1 Orthodox marketing practice might well blanche at the use of ‘exclusively’ to describe classical music. Inclusivity and accessibility are the contemporary watchwords of a musical genre long dogged by cultural stereotypes, particularly surrounding (middle) class and (old) age. But the slogan’s deliberate oxymoron is surely self-aware and provocative, aiming to stop readers in their tracks, to play on classical music’s image ...

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