We'll know that classical music has made it back when...
...when media discussions of "the year's music" or "the best new music" can be assumed to include classical alongside the pop, rock, r & b and other kinds.
...when the premiere of a new classical work is as eagerly anticipated and discussed as a new Paul Thomas Anderson film, Zadie Smith novel or HBO series.
...when the composer of the work gets interviewed on Fresh Air — and they replay the interview every time the piece comes out on CD, LP, DVD, 8-track tape...
...and when the presence of the new work on a concert program increases the audience, instead of reducing it.
...when no one over the age of eight needs to be taught what to expect at a classical concert, they'll just be assumed to know.
...when its practitioners and advocates can stop the special pleading about how noble and uplifting it all is, and can just go about making and enjoying it, like what happens in the other genres.
...when another classical musician as celebrated, accomplished, universal and flat-out cool as Leonard Bernstein comes along. It happened once; it could happen again.
...when the nerdy trombone player gets to date the homecoming queen. I know, this one might never happen, but one can dream...
...when its consumption (i.e., audience) in America is twice what it is now. Hey, it happened to another product of European origin, with fancy pedigree, intimidating connoisseurs, unpronounceable names, and overtones of elitism and snobbery. Why not classical music?