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Classical music occupies a strange place in the country’s cultural imagination. Regularly derided as elitist and overpriced, it’s actually cheaper to go to the Royal Opera House than an Ed Sheeran concert. Labelled as problematically un-diverse, you will overhear the audience speaking a greater variety of languages at Wigmore Hall than at the National Theatre. Condemned as out-of-touch, most films still use classical compositions to evoke strong emotion. Prospect‘s “Classical futures” looks at the past—and future of classical music.

This is your chance to discover what leading writers such as Wendy Lesser, Ivan Hewett, Alexandra Coghlan and Roger Scruton have to say on the following topics:

  • The stranger side of the opera
  • Pierre Boulez’s musical works, a beautifully decorated cul-de-sac
  • Philip Glass’s progression from outsider to modern classical music’s bestseller
  • How Richard Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle dramatises the eternal conflict between political power and human love

New content added—November 2017

The BBC Proms is one of the biggest concert series in the world. With 90 events over 8 weeks, it is a massive undertaking, with orchestras from all over the world flying in to London to participate. But it’s not just organising the musicians—and audiences—which is a challenge.

Ahead of an evening Bach prom, Prospect went backstage to see what happens in the run up to the concerts—from corridor-blocking double basses to secret photo competitions. And we spoke to two individuals who are, you might say, the eyes and ears of the operation.

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