Rock Me Amadeus

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Last week, President Obama awarded San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas the National Medal of Arts for his efforts to win over a wider audience for classical music. In our current issue, MTT talks with MJ‘s Clara Jeffery about the philosophy behind his work, his love of nonclassical artists such as James Brown, and experiments such as organizing the first ever YouTube symphony. Check it out. Or take a moment to enjoy these greatest hits of classical music crossover:

1885 The Boston Pops is launched to bring classical music to the masses.

1940 Disney’s Fantasia. Money loser until 1969 re-release makes it a stoner classic.

1957 Elmer Fudd + Wagner = “Kill Da Wabbit.”

1958 Leonard Bernstein conducts his first televised Young People’s Concert.

1968 2001: A Space Odyssey immortalizes Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.

1976A Fifth of Beethoven” disco remix.

1984 Amadeus wins eight Oscars.

1990 The Three Tenors storm charts.

1998 Georgia aims for “Mozart effect” by giving new moms classical CDs.

2002 Nas samples Beethoven’s “Für Elise.”

2007 BBC launches a reality show to reclaim classical music from “posh old white people.”

2009 YouTube Symphony Orchestra and MTT play Carnegie Hall

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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