Classical Music is About to Become Really Important in 2017

In the aftermath of the U.S. elections — regardless of what side you reside on — our communities are left in shock and a state of division. From this place, arts organizations have a massive responsibility to bring healing to their communities, creating a safe place of refuge to be reminded of the beauty of humanity.

This past weekend, I watched as Emerald City Music — the chamber music series I direct in Seattle — presented a thematically curated evening called “Darkness Visible” (Ironic title, right?). While I first dreaded the challenge of putting on a performance at a time when most of the Seattle community was shell-shocked by the election, I recognized the real need for classical music at that very moment.

Classical music is a unifier. It has the ability to communicate what words can’t, both in times of war and peace; calm and tumult. It’s also quite democratic — especially chamber music, where many individual voices equally collaborate towards one beautiful collective sound. Classical music isn’t defined by race, age, gender identity, political affiliation, or religious beliefs. It’s only defined by our shared human experience — being with one-another; listening together.

At a time when we are all being challenged by our belief in democracy, classical music is going to need to play a strong role in re-uniting our neighbors. It’s going to remind us of our humanity; of the need for love. Concert halls going to bring people of many diverse backgrounds and beliefs together to experience deeply moving art. As organizations and artists, we can’t lose sight of the power of our craft to bring hope and healing to audiences. As concert-goers, we need to seek out solace in the arts, allowing it to remind us that we are all human. This is not a time to stop creating, nor a time to detach from the arts. Give, support, participate, create, and watch the world around you change for the better.

Because classical music — and all the various art forms — serve as a reminder of our shared human experience, and will guide our communities toward unification, peace, and a vibrant future.

Andrew Goldstein is the co-founding Executive Director of Emerald City Music, a nonprofit inspiring Seattleites to discover classical music. He holds a BM in Music Management from The Hartt School and a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University, and makes his home in Seattle with his wife, Eryn, and daughter, Hazel. On Twitter at @DailyClassical