Sexing Up Classical Music

by Juliana Madrone


I somewhat apprehensively watched Amazon’s test pilot Mozart in the Jungle. How would such a mainstream venue treat the world of classical music, a world that has its own complicated image problems? This glimpse behind the curtain is a decidedly younger and sexier view, full of talented and eagerly competitive artist types. The trope of the audacious outsider – familiar from countless other tales – is put to good use here in the form of a ruthless new conductor. This scenario reflects a strategy that many orchestras have in fact employed in recent years. Other clichés are perhaps too predictable, though as a cellist myself I cannot really complain about an ongoing fascination with the sexy female cellist.

Simple plot devices aside, the show is fast-paced and a better representation of the life that still breathes in classical music than the genre’s image typically allows. On top of that, it’s good fun. The votes are in, and it looks like the pilot has made it to series, so we will get to see what they make of these beginnings. If it means that more people have heard of Fauré and Grieg, then I’ll call it a success.