The Top Classical Music States, According to Google Trends

Stowe, Vermont (credit: Flickr/Peter Rintels)

Here’s a test: try and guess where in the United States people exhibit the most interest in classical music.

It’s hardly obvious, so I’ll tell you: Vermont. That is according to Google Trends, a tool that looks at patterns of searches on the Internet.

Since 2004, Vermonters have done more Googling of the term “classical music” than people in any other state. They are followed in the ranking by residents of New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Vermont residents are nearly twice as likely to Google “classical music” than those of Georgia and West Virginia, the two least classical-crazy states.

Google Trends tracks how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google since 2004. It then assigns each point a relative number from 0 to 100, with the high point of the trends data scoring 100.

Why are Vermont residents Googling classical music so much? It’s hard to say. Vermont has just one professional statewide orchestra, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and no major opera companies. But it is home to several chamber music series including the venerable Marlboro Music Festival. The state also has a respected network of public radio stations that play classical music.

Demographic and political factors may play a role. Vermont has one of the oldest populations in the U.S., a factor that correlates with traditional classical listenership. Public spending on the arts is also better than average, with $1.03 per capita projected for 2016 (though well below front-runner Minnesota, which allocates $6.29 per capita, and is 10th on Google Trends’ ranking).


If you have a theory about New England’s interest in classical music, drop me a line or leave a comment below.

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of posts on the business of classical music, the arts and the digital media landscape. Welcome, and thanks for reading!

16 responses to “The Top Classical Music States, According to Google Trends”

  1. Vermont was a pioneer with an online radio show about classical music in 1995 (Kalvos & Damian) and it ran 10 years and won several awards. Together with the plethora of lower-power classical stations in the Vermont Public Radio network, many semi-pro orchestras and several professional chamber ensembles, and numerous summer classical music institutes, it’s a paradise for classical music (which I prefer to call “nonpop” anyway).

  2. Thank you for your comments. Liz & J. Scott, I appreciate the heads up about the Opera Company of Middlebury – I will keep it on my radar.

    Dennis, Yes, the Vermont Public Radio network is indeed one of the country’s standard-bearers in classical broadcasting. (Non-pop is a good alternate term too.)

  3. Here are a few examples (i could list sooo many) from the central part of the state, but the music scene is vast, when you look between all our maple trees….
    Professional vocal music: and
    More Opera:
    Lots of semi-professional music:
    The choral scene is big. Here is a slice:
    Great venues and programming:
    It all starts with EDUCATION: and and

  4. The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association has been cultivating a love and appreciation of classical music in young people since 1964. Many of their alumni go on to become performing musicians, conductors, and teachers. Youth music programs like the VYOA ensure that there is a strong base of classical music patrons and supporters in Vermont from generation to generation!

  5. They may not be on the level of the groups mentioned above, but there are SEVERAL excellent Vermont Community Choirs that perform a large amount of classical material as part of their concerts!

  6. This is a very interesting article that confirms what I was suspecting since I moved to Vermont. As an artistic director of another professional orchestra in Vermont, the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and conductor of the University of Vermont Symphony, and VYP, I have noticed that the audience here have very deep appreciation for classical music! I have had numerous involved conversations with concert-goers about interpretations to historical background to even architecture of concert halls. There are around 9 amateur orchestras within an easy driving distance from Burlington, plus several concert bands, two very successful chamber music festivals (Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival) in Burlington and several more in the state, and numerous community choirs. My another suspicion is that there are more professional conductors in Chittenden County (population around 160,000) than McDonalds…

  7. Just to reiterate, Vermont does have the Opera Company of Middlebury, which has been offering fantastic shows to Vermonters since 2004. Also, Heliand Consort will be celebrating it’s 10th season of bringing wind and piano chamber music to audiences around Vermont in 2016-2017!

  8. Thank you again to everyone for the great feedback. There’s certainly a lot here for people to explore – whether they’re local residents or visitors looking to sample the state’s cultural offerings. I know I’ll be keeping this list on hand for my next visit.

  9. Clearly not a scientific method 🙂 I’ve never googled the term, but classical music is a huge part of my life as a participant and audience member. I’ve lived in a bunch of states (and had great music education in public schools of NJ) and have never been aware of so many opportunities to participate on so many levels as in Vt. In December, groups are tripping over each other for concert dates.
    I do regret the loss of our second (commercial) classical music station a few years ago. What a luxury it was to have a choice as to which classical music to listen to at any moment.

  10. PS. I wonder if the same would be true of a google search for “traditional” (folk) music. That scene in Vermont is utterly amazing–and also nurtures young musicians. When I arrived as pastor to a small parish and met my new bishop, one of the first things she said was that she hoped I’d get the parish to move beyond it’s home grown folk service. I didn’t have anything to say to that at the moment, but now I’d reply, “You don’t know Vermont, do you?”

  11. As the music director of orchestras in Massachusetts (Pioneer Valley Symphony) and Rhode Island (Brown University Orchestra), I’m delighted to see Vermont, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island heading this list! There are numerous musicians from Vermont in the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, based in Greenfield, Massachusetts, about 12 miles south of the Vermont border, and many audience members, too.

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