The State of Pops Concerts: Where Light Meets Lite

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It once meant Tchaikovsky, Sousa and Doc Severinsen. Today it also spans video-game scores, Cuban mambo bands and the Lord of the Rings Symphony. Yes, it’s high season for pops concerts. And at a time when orchestras are facing deficits, bankruptcies, and closings, pops are being taken a lot more seriously.

The Philadelphia Orchestra recently announced plans to present more light classics and film scores after it filed for bankruptcy in May. The Dallas Symphony introduced an all-pops format to its summer concert series last year. Closer to home, the New York Philharmonic has staged annual concerts of Broadway hits and even canceled its summer parks concerts while keeping an Andrea Bocelli show scheduled for September.

Are pops going to help struggling orchestras? And just what does pops mean these days? In this special podcast, WQXR Vice President Graham Parker is joined by three experts: Keith Lockhart, music director of the Boston Pops; Steve Linder, a senior vice-president at IMG Artists; and Anne Midgette, the classical music critic of the Washington Post.

Podcast producer: Brian Wise; Engineer: Bill O'Neil