As many of you may know, The Beat Magazine ceased publication at the end of the summer. From our first issue in September 2009 to our last in August 2013, being Beat editor was a wonderful professional and personal adventure. But as the saying goes: all good things must come to an end.
As it turns out, some good things are harder to kill than others, and after an outpouring of support from readers and the local arts community, Beat publisher Richard Young decided to keep our website up and running.
While this means I’m out of a job as a magazine editor, I do get to continue doing one of my favourite things – interviewing and writing stories about the local classical music scene.
Most recently, I chatted with the always charming and very knowledgeable Renee Silberman of Serenata Music, who is presenting an evening of music banned by the Nazis in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The November 9 concert, co-sponsored by the London Jewish Community Centre, features music by composers who were persecuted and often murdered by the Nazi regime.
Writing the story got me thinking about music as a political force. And while it’s somewhat difficult for us to imagine the arts posing any sort of threat to the government, Renee points out that the Nazis were experts in mass manipulation and that culture can indeed play a large role in defining social norms.
(Just look at the ongoing debate about Miley Cyrus’ onstage antics and whether she is a feminist icon celebrating her sexuality or merely another young women exploited by a money-hungry patriarchy. Whatever your opinion on the matter, the fact remains that we’ve come a long way since Elvis’ hip action was considered too risque for television.)
Another ongoing local debate is London’s need for a performing arts venue. To make a long story short, our city is the only one of its size in Canada without a proper venue – but we still can’t seem to convince enough people that this matters.
So when I had the opportunity to interview Orchestra London conductor Alain Trudel about this season’s Opening Night, I couldn’t resist asking him what he thought Londoners were missing out on.
His answer was not about the orchestra’s need for a hall with decent acoustics or site-lines. It was about the need for a place for the community to come together to make music.
I’m looking forward to continuing to share those community stories with Beat readers, both in regular feature stories and in my monthly Classical Q&A columns. And if you’ve got an arts story that needs to be heard, please drop us a line! You can still reach me at thebeateditor[at]gmail[dot]com.