John Stubbs is a violinist with the San Diego Symphony and music director and conductor for the California Ballet Company. A specialist in conducting ballet orchestras, he debuted an instructional progam in 2009 called Conducting Preparations, geared at training young people in ballet orchestration.
“Whenever I see pop groups perform,” said Stubbs in late 2009, “I wish that I could see that same level of fun at classical music performances.”
A St. Louis native, Stubbs has been a member of the San Diego Symphony since 1977. He says that his hobby for the past decade has been “looking at my industry — classical music — and asking what’s going to bring people in. What’s going to connect? We’re always trying to find new eyes, new ears.”
But due to the attrition in classical music audiences in recent years, one wonders if entrepreneurs like Stubbs aren’t really struggling to keep a dying art form alive.
“I have a theory about that,” he says. “I’ve been in the business for over 30 years, and I’ve been hearing every year that our audiences are graying and that they’re going to start dying off soon. And then the next year, all new people show up and they have gray hair.” Stubbs finds hope in what he calls the natural inclination to seek out new experience.
“You reach your 30s,” he says, “and you realize that maybe rock and roll and Jägermeister aren’t all there is to life.”