in: News & Features

April 9, 2015

Call to Action, Ye Lovers of Classical Music


hornwToday’s Boston Globe has two items that should impel a call to action for classical music lovers. First is the Globe insert announcing all the nonprofit groups—141—that won free advertising during the past year. Selection is by reader vote. There are a number of deserving medical and health groups, but pitifully few local representatives of classical music. Among the winners are groups that already have support mechanisms, development staff, and budgets for advertising, and that already receive free advertising in the form of reviews. This is not the case for the numerous deserving smaller music groups, and others with small constituencies, that were recipients. But all of them obviously called out the troops.

The second item is the announcement of Mayor Walsh’s “long anticipated” 18-month survey throughout Boston neighborhoods “to quantify and define what Bostonians want when it comes to the city’s cultural life.” “Boston Creates” has the admirable goal of reaching out to communities. Julie Burros, the administration’s new chief of arts and culture, a cabinet-level appointment, has an inclusive vision, to comprise “not only the professional fine arts, but also the informal arts, the personal arts.”

This effort will be only as good as those who contribute opinions, but in soliciting Bostonians only, the survey will not reflect the opinions of all those who come into Boston to go to concerts, dine in neighborhood restaurants, and/or park in the city’s public and private garages.

Readers of the Boston Musical Intelligencer, this is your chance to weigh in with support of the music groups you feel deserve free advertising in the Boston Globe this year. Heed the pleas of the groups that solicit your support; free advertising would be a great boon. And let Burros know your interest in supporting the cultural life of Boston, whether or not you reside there; the best way is to email her office:

A final suggestion to all classical music groups. Keep good records of the number of people who attend each of your concerts, if you do not do so already. At some point, these attendance records can be summed up and disseminated, to show just how vitally important this cultural element is to us concertgoers, and to our beloved city.

Bettina A. Norton, emerita editor of the Intelligencer, is a retired museum professional. She has published widely in her field, American historical prints, and in later years, was editor and publisher of The Beacon Hill Chronicle. She has been attending classical music concerts “since the waning years of World War II.”


  1. Thanks for this alert. Here’s what I sent to

    I learned recently about the Boston Creates survey to assess Bostonians’ interests in the city’s cultural life. I applaud the effort.

    I love Boston and hope to become a resident some day soon, living within city boundaries. I work in the city, but live a few miles outside, in Arlington MA.

    I strongly encourage you to consider opening up the survey to anyone with an interest in the cultural life of the city. I do see the value in a regional focus. But the cultural life of Boston clearly benefits greatly from regional interest and support. Asking respondents to provide a zip code would allow segmentation of the survey results.

    Comment by Joseph Snodgrass — April 10, 2015 at 9:56 am

  2. I first went to Symphony to hear a Koussevitsky concert as a kid–mere child?–but started seriously
    to attend as a Junior sometimes and weekly as a Senior at Boston Latin. Rushing like hell to get
    there and obviously missing the fist piece, I was as breathless at my entry as I was at my exit.
    And The Hall was always packed. I always thought I got the last seat, probably from a turn in ticket.
    Mention has to be made of how thrilling the Guido Cantelli concerts were. Now you fellow lovers of the orchestra know what year that was. So when I read here that attendance is not always full I
    am dismayed. Is this because of ticket prices? Certainly the shining new conductor should be able to pull a full house. But even on my last look, his upcoming concerts in Carnegie Hall which I will attend this coming week are not sold out. Of course the acoustics of that hall do not match those of Symphony Hall and everything is a bit more sharply exposed, if that matters.Perhaps because of my unfettered–blind?–love of the orchestra and pride at being a Bostonian I don’t understand it, especially since the Philadelphia orchestra seems to sell out.

    Comment by Ed Robbins — April 11, 2015 at 4:38 am

  3. Guido Cantelli. I heard him twice, and I have his autograph on a program. He died in the fall of 1956, same time as Walter Gieseking and his wife…hard to forget. Cantelli was superb.I remember Pictures at an Exhhibition from him.

    Comment by Bettina A Norton — April 11, 2015 at 5:30 pm

  4. A thought in response to Ed Robbins: maybe the Philadelphia Orchestra still sells out because Philadelphia is still full of Philadelphians.

    Comment by Vance Koven — April 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm

  5. And it is a well-populated suburb of NYC.

    Comment by Camilli — April 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

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