Classical Music has a reputation for being endless, boring, and stuffy. The Classical Music Is Cool trope challenges this by often having a character who initially dislikes classical music become excitedly rapturous after actually listening to a symphony or opera (thus also overlapping with I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham).
Other times, this trope can be used in works where there are clashing "cultured" and "uncultured" groups who favor classical and popular (usually rock) music respectively. After both groups take the time to listen to the music they say they hate, both groups eventually agree that there's merit in both popular and classical music thereby leading to an Aesop about why it's good to keep an open mind on cultural matters.
This trope also can be invoked to show hidden depths and/or sensitivity in a lower-class/ middle-class male who seems loutish upon first glance. Or maybe he's motivated to appreciate music because he's developed an interest in an Elegant Classical Musician.
Further see Orchestral Bombing and Rock Me, Amadeus!. The polar opposite of Classical Music Is Boring. Also compare and contrast At the Opera Tonight, when what's cool is not so much the music itself but that it gives people a chance to hang out at a high society event.
- This ad for "Classical Thunder".
- In a Calvin and Hobbes strip, the 1812 Overture was being played and Hobbes pointed out to Calvin that those weren't drums in the symphony but cannons. Calvin's appreciation of the piece greatly increases with this revelation.
- In V for Vendetta, the masked vigilante keeps a room full of rare high culture artifacts in his Elaborate Underground Base, including many recordings of classical music, which he deeply appreciates. Evey, who has never heard such a thing, is overawed.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: A large crowd gathers to hear Beethoven play the modern-day keyboards at the mall.
- A Clockwork Orange: The Villain Protagonist Alex DeLarge, is a hip young hooligan who is outfitted in the height of fashion and attends all the most popular hangouts. He's also a fan of classical music, with his favorite composer being Beethoven. Classical music seems to be more popular in this future dystopia than it is today, though much of what we hear is synthesized versions, and evidenced by Dim's reaction to the singer at the milk bar, it's not universally admired by the youth.
- In Mr. Holland's Opus, this is part of Mr. Holland's job as a music teacher, to get kids to appreciate classical music. At one point he demonstrates the connection between Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell's "A Lover's Concerto" (as recorded by the Toys) and Christian Petzold's Minuet in G major,note much to the amazement of the students (and disapproval from the administration).
- Not quite "classical," but still in the spirit of the trope: In Drumline the band director tries to teach his students to appreciate the classics of pop, such as Earth, Wind & Fire, which the students tend to dismiss as old, stuffy, and out of date. By the end, some of the students write a new routine that incorporates both modern music and the classics.
- Eroica Witt from The Amy Virus loves classical music so much, she renamed herself after a Beethoven symphony.
- In Borgel, the titular Cool Uncle Borgel introduces the main character to classical music on the radio and he finds it really interesting and enlightening.
- In Kafka on the Shore, the lower-middle-class Hoshino is exposed to classical music during his journey with Nakata, and develops an appreciation for it, realizing that it's not the stuffy, boring sort of music he thought it was.
- A Clockwork Orange: Alex, our Villain Protagonist, is a hip young hooligan who dresses in the height of youth fashion and loves classical music, particularly Beethoven, and most particularly the 9th Symphony. In the end, he's given a job working with music, obviously informed by his classical tastes.
- In Dexter, senior FBI Agent Frank Lundy introduces Debra Morgan to Chopin, which helps develop their MayDecember Romance.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: After being in a music appreciation class that many use as an excuse to nap, Moze comes to appreciate Mozart's more bombastic and lively pieces when they help her in a volleyball game.
- In the Power Rangers Zeo episode "Instruments of Destruction", it is revealed that Skull is a talented piano player, but refuses to admit it to the people because he believes that it would make him lose his macho cred and lose the respect of his friend Bulk, who hates classical music. After convincing from Adam, Skull agrees to do a performance in front of the school. His skills wow the audience, with Bulk confronting him and admitting that it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.
- Boy Meets World: Mr.Feeny drags Erik to an opera and the teenager bemoans it all the way until it actually starts. Turns out, he's a fan of Flight of the Valkyrie because it reminds him of Bugs Bunny.
- Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle becomes enraptured after seeing an opera on TV and spends the episode struggling to write his own. Prior to this, he had already shown an aptitude for classical piano music.
- Professor Arturo very much enjoys classical music, saying in "The Guardian" that going to an opera is as entertaining for him as seeing an Indiana Jones movie is for others. note
- To Arturo's surprise, Rembrandt is also something of a fan. While not in a rush to go to the opera or a classical music concert, Rembrandt is a professional singer, so he considered it a must to know and respect the greats. He is able to identify a piece of classical music just by hearing a brief snippet, which impresses Arturo.
- Musicians like Wendy Carlos (Switched-On Bach), have made Electronic Music renditions of iconic classical music pieces that pep up the music by giving it spacy and futuristic sounds. As a result, many people who normally would never listen to classical music have bought these albums, because they felt it sounded much more exciting and better. Truth be told, several have eventually learned to appreciate classical music thanks to these electronic versions.
- Some of Frank Zappa's biggest influences included classical composers, such as Edgard Varèse and Igor Stravinsky.
- With so many progressive rock musicians having classical backgrounds, this seems to be an ethos, with many performers working classical repertoire into their music.
- Yes has used Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" as entrance music at their concerts for a long time.
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer was famous for doing rockified versions of classical music, with one of their most famous albums being a version of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, to the point where ELP's version is the best-known to the general non-classical-listening public.
- Arthur. D.W. gets Yo-Yo Ma to come to the library to play the cello. Arthur and his friends are sure it's going to be boring. Francine has invited her uncle, jazz musician Joshua Redman, for the same day. The kids hope that the two will get into a fight. An Imagine Spot has them in a wrestling ring; Ma pulls out his cello and puts Redman to sleep. But on the day of the meeting it actually goes well, both get along and Redman expresses his enjoyment of classical music.
- One episode of Iron Man had a girl who learned to appreciate her piano lessons after using the sound of pianos to repair Iron Man's armor.
- An episode of Kick Buttowski' starts with Kick's father instructing him to practice piano. He adds that Kick is not to leave the piano. After a few failed workarounds, Kick decides to go wherever he pleases and take the piano with him. He tries his stunts as usual and finds that when he's doing so, he can play the piano perfectly. Furthermore, he finds out that he really enjoys it.
- Cartoons like What's Opera, Doc?, The Band Concert, The Cat Concerto and others would not nearly be as hilarious without classical music, either as the source of gags or as Standard Snippets. Also, Mickey Mousing (making the actions in cartoons follow those in the musical score) often uses classical music.