Broad I know... but i thought it would be good to get a discussion going on the future of classical music in all it's guises and what we think is in store?
I for one believe that the future is very bright indeed. I live in london and over the last few years I have felt a real change in attitudes towards classical/opera, particularly among the younger generation 18-35. I think accessibility has improved at the same time that people are looking for more 'earthly' and refined cultural experiences. New venues are opening across town, festivals are aplenty, and their is an intriguing live scene that combines classical music performers with dance music DJs - One of the pioneers is the grandson of Prokofiev!! - not everyones cup of tea I know but I think it's an absolutely fantastic thing to be happening and vital to the ongoing development of the genre.
I have noticed a higher turn out at venues in my area from orchestras who are playing contemporary 'classical music' as well as traditional 'classical music'.
The orchestras who are playing modern pieces and not just the old repetoire tend to have increased attendance - this includes the professional orchestras and the community groups - at all performances. I agree classical music has a bright future, if it is allowed to evolve. The audience doesn't want to listen to just the old stuff or just the new stuff, but both. If we allow new music to be added to the 'classical' repetoire we will continue to attract adventurous and interested audiences.
I have been to a few Proms performances and I have been paying particular attention to the demographic of the audiences, I would say majority are 35 - 50 with the rest evenly split between very old and very young. All round a quite even spread which I think is good going forward and an indication of how Classical Music can reach out to all ages.