WHY CLASSICAL MUSIC … or any art for that matter … MATTERS

I am working with the Concert Truck on a 20 state tour in 2020. The concert truck is bringing world class art to all populations with a mobile concert hall.

Susan Zhang and Nick Luby in front of their mobile concert hall

I am pretty scientifically minded. I have two engineering degrees and am very comfortable with a spreadsheet. Yet, I have always known, despite the lack of logic, that culture, art and music are powerful. It wasn’t until a conversation with a mentor that I could put an argument around my heightened sense of value for creative productions.

I asked my respected friend, a retired museum director, how he went from entering college as a math major to leaving graduate school with a PhD in Art History. The pivot occurred when reading Henry Adam’s Mont Saint Michele and Chartes. Adam’s brilliantly describes that upon entering a space like Saint Michel, someone has a deep and seemingly conflicting sensation that man is quite small, inconsequential AND man is amazing for their ability to create such spaces.  A cathedral, embodies the spiritual. 

The arts are powerful because they can move us in ways that no object can. 


Classical music is one such force.


I have a pretty proto-typical relationship with music. My parents suggested I take piano lessons in my primary school years. I have some fond memories of tickling the ivories but most of what I recall was my shortcoming in practicing, which then lead to less than comfortable confrontations with the well-mannered-grandmother-like-figure that was my piano teacher. Mastering the instrument required more practice then my sub 10 year old mind and body could endure. (For that matter, it requires more than my present adult mind and body could endure!)

The path to classical piano virtuoso (or any instrument)  is not for the faint of heart. The technical aspects alone take incredible rigor and near superhuman feats. It is quite unlikely that you will find someone complaining as they exit the symphony hall saying, “I don’t get it, my kid could do that.” 


Classical music reminds us of how amazing humans can be!


My knowledge of the time tested music we call Classical is also typical. I want to believe I can tell the difference between Bach and Beethoven but I am hard pressed to name the precise piece. Furthermore, the names of world class composers that history has handed down to us, are not at the top of mind. I have an awareness but it is not refined nor deeply academic.

However, I can not help but encounter the musical form.  I recognize its near ubiquitous presence in other mediums of pop culture. Film borrows from the tradition regularly and leans heavily on the affective nature to get us to feel something that a moving picture alone can not. If a producer wants to: heighten the tension, increase the elation, allude to love or fill us with nearly any other human sentiment, there is a piece of music that has endured time to do so. 


Classical music makes us feel!


Classical music is one of the magical arts that moves us to the higher planes of our humanity. It reminds us how amazing human beings are and at the same time how simple we are to be scared by the guy in a hockey mask.