Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why do I need to dress up for classical music?

I am a big big fan of classical music in all its glory and magnificence. Be it the quiet yet forceful presence of a Chopin etude or the grand opulence of a Shostakovich symphony, each piece is a profound experience in and of itself.

I've been to many concerts, both back in LA and here in St. Louis, taking advantage of generous student discounts. And every time I get into a discussion about my sartorial choices. You see, I refuse to dress "up" for classical music. Instead of busting out my neatly pressed dress-shirt and red striped tie, I show up in my day-to-day outfit: jeans, sweater or a jacket, and a shirt.

I've asked many times why it is necessary to dress up for an event like this and have never received a convincing response. Here is a sample of responses I normally get:

"It's what people do."

"It's a form of respect."

"It's part of the culture."

What kind of lame BS is this? I show my utmost respect for the heavenly performance onstage by enthusiastically and sincerely clapping till my palms turn magenta. I show my respect by not talking. I show my respect by not being this dipshit who halted the entire New York Philharmonic mid-performance by pretending his phone wasn't ringing and not turning it off.

I am there to listen to great music, not to show off my new blue shirt.

People don't expect us to dress up for movies. Nor are we expected to dress up for rock concerts. Same goes for ball games, and every major type of performance. Then why insist on the same for classical music? In a day and age where classical music is fighting to maintain its position and dispel notions of elitism or snobbery, these artificial norms hardly do any favors.

The notion that one must dress up for a concert implies that classical music is somehow superior or more proper than other music. And that's wrong too. Don't get me wrong, I love listening to piano sonatas, symphonies and other works, but I don't think they are inherently superior to rock music or other more popular forms of music.

Anyway, time for me to get off my puny soapbox. Enough ranting about needless social conventions. Back to work.


  1. I went to Itzhak Perlman at UCLA last Thursday in hoodie and jeans. HOODIES 4 LYFE BRO