Classical music at e.g.

I spent Thursday and Friday at the [e.g. conference]( in Monterey, California, which was incrediblly inspiring. I feel really lucky to have been a part of it. Each day, the roughly 300 attendees were given the opportunity to hear hours and hours of presentations by talented people who have done incredible things. While I found the content of the presentations to be fascinating, what I really loved was that everyone involved was doing something driven by passion, and while there were many paths to the discovery of a particular passion, they had all figured it out (some were born into it, and some only discovered it after having gone through meandering paths of adventure in other fields).

There was, however, one thing that stood out, and not in a good way: classical music.

Music at conferences like TED and e.g. are often based in the avant-garde and experimental, which can, of course, be interesting and thought-provoking. Classical instruments like the piano, violin and cello are usually part of some kind of crossover performance. The musicians are often quite talented, and the audience loves this stuff. During the 2 days I was at e.g., there were exactly two purely-classical performances, which starkly contrasted in quality when compared to the other presentations. The first was a short solo piano piece that wasn't very well prepared, and the second, a Brahms piano trio that was pretty much sight read on stage. After the piano trio sight-reading performance, something incredible happened: the crowd gave a standing ovation! I was thoroughly confused and disappointed. If this same performance had taken place in a concert hall, all of the musicians in the audience would have walked out.

Curators at conferences like e.g. and TED need to feature classical performances that are as high in caliber as the rest of the presentations—or, leave them out entirely.