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Beyond outreach: inside the fight for classical music’s future

From Ibiza Proms to Tiny Tots concerts, classical music is trying to broaden its appeal. But does it risk losing what makes it special?

By Suna Erdem   March 2018

"Outreach" can be a double-edged sword. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Michael Reeve

One drizzly evening last autumn, Ed Gardner and I were stomping our feet and slapping our thighs in a Croydon hall. We were doing body percussion with teenage refugees. At one point Gardner, one of Britain’s most eminent conductors, was tasked with counting in our group. “No pressure, eh?” he laughed, counting to four before we started to move.

We were being led by an 18-year-old Somali who had fled conflict in his homeland, and would not have looked out…

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