Of Asian-Americans 18-24 responding to the same survey, 14 percent reported attending a classical concert in the past year, more than any other demographic in that age group. Despite classical’s deserved reputation as the whitest of genres, Asian attendance rates match or surpass the national average up through the 45-54 age range. To put it one way, the younger the classical audience gets, the more Asian it becomes. To put it another, the only population that is disproportionately filling seats being vacated by old people dying off is Asians.
Music writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker makes this bold prediction in the concluding chapter of his 2007 book The Rest is Noise:Asians make up just over 4 percent of the U.S. population, but 7 percent of U.S. orchestra musicians are Asian, and the figure rises to 20 percent for top orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic. At the elite Julliard School for Music, one in five undergraduates—and one in three PhD students—is Asian.
It is a stereotype, but Asians really like classical music. As the Slate.com article puts it: “The prestige Asians ascribe to classical music is, it should be noted, completely disproportionate to the actual salaries earned by professional musicians.” But: “One area in which Asians do not dominate, Yoshihara notes, is orchestra management, which remains overwhelmingly white . . . in contrast to celebrity musicians like Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang, Asians haven’t made much headway into conducting or composing.”If the Chinese classical business can accommodate new music in the coming century, the center of gravity may shift permanently eastward.
By some estimates there are millions of Asians around the world who have devoted some portion of their lives to the serious study of classical music in some form. Yet there is no space in the established media in which Asians can come to any kind of consensus about their own aesthetic values, their own musical traditions, or even other Asian professional musicians and composers. Many Asians who listen to or perform classical music in the West go their entire lives without ever hearing other Asians talk about classical music outside of their immediate circle of friends and professional connections.
The goal of this forum is to provide that space.
EDIT 12/18/2017: I think it is obvious at this point that this website has become something other than what it was originally intended to be. As someone famous once said: "Classical music is long, Internet forums are short, and monetization is very far off." I really did not intend this to be a personal blog (which would have been much easier to set up). If anyone out there wants to contribute to this site, please register and send me a PM with your idea. I will give you feedback and help in any way I can. I do not expect you to write like me or agree with everything I say. If anyone wants to contribute but is not sure how, I have a backlog at this point of 10+ subjects that I can part out to anyone who is interested. Again, just register and send me a PM.