There are a lot of great YA books that feature characters who care deeply about music or are aspiring musicians, but not a lot of these characters care about classical music.*
It’s a rare book that has a teen waxing rhapsodic Puccini or Haydn. On the surface, it makes sense: classical music has a reputation of being boring, out of touch, and again, really boring. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Brahms- CeleI can almost feel your eyes glazing over as we speak. But it’s actually not boring at all! Stravinsky’s ballet score The Rite of Spring caused riots when it premiered! Both the dance and the music were scandalous to theater-goers in 1913. John Cage’s piece 4’33” is played at the dynamic level of silence, so while there is music on the page, the pianist sits there silently, and Eric Satie wrote music for furniture!
Once you dig into it, you find a treasure trove of weird and interesting things, and a ton of great listening. It’s just like any genre– don’t knock it until you try it.
But how should you start? While a good place to start is something like Music: A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas Cook, you could also start at Get Into Classical, a website that helps you do just that. Or, you can let YA books be your guide!
A few recent books that I think provide a good primer and even a set list for getting into classical music are Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, and while it’s not explicitly about music at all, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.