Tonight, this event took place at the time and in the location where there used to be free pre-concert talks, open to all comers, including those who serendipitously encountered them. (These last being precisely the kind of people who are unlikely to consider signing up for a formal course of study but who are most likely to benefit from hearing even some of an imaginative talk addressing the program as a whole.)
I won’t criticise the replacement event – it’s just one part of a larger program of study offered by the concert presenter in collaboration with a local educational institution – but I fear this sends some of the wrong messages. It says “private and closed”, that an enriching pre-concert event “isn’t for you”, and – most troubling of all at this point in history – that classical music is all about formal study instead of enriching entertainment. That worries me a lot.