Monday, August 10, 2009

Dressing down

I am posting three photos of well-known violinists so that you can appreciate how far we’ve come in styles of dress among some classical violinists. The first and most formal is from the 1920s. It is elegance itself. Every concert violinist used to dress this way until about 1970. The second is Nigel Kennedy – he delights in really dressing down. I do not know why. We should ask a psychologist. The third is Joshua Bell who is so modestly dressed that it makes him look immodest. Many players have adopted this casual attire; however, it does not fit the music we play – classical music is not elevator music after all. It is serious business and needs to be given more than just casual attention. Concert violinists used to wear a coat and tie to rehearsals. Now they shuffle onto the stage wearing jeans and sandals. In following the lead of the stars, orchestra managers have adopted the come-as-you-are policy for audiences and it is beginning to annoy me. These people are being pretentious by trying to look unpretentious. What silliness. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Maybe I have a sense of decorum and grace.

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