A debate held last week by Cambridge University’s prestigious public speaking society offers new hope for those who lament the younger generations’ lack of interest in classical music.

Proposing that “classical music is irrelevant to today’s youth”, The Cambridge Union pitted BBC Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out in the affirmative against comedian and author Stephen Fry, ever outspoken on arts issues. The verdict: classical music reigned victorious, 365 audience votes to 57.

The singlet-clad, baseball-capped Kissy Sell Out riled against the artform’s elitism and argued that there is no room for the static ritual of the classical concert hall in contemporary youth culture: “sitting still, no Bacardi Breezers, no dancing, no hands in the air”. He acknowledged he uses classical music for shock value in his own club sets.

Fry, an alumnus of Queens’ College Cambridge, countered that classical music can be embraced by youngsters alongside pop and rock – he claimed he had tickets to see Lady Gaga after the debate – but ultimately rewards listeners with the deeper and more fulfilling experience.

“You can like two different things at once and not explode or be a hypocrite. Surely if education in a university is...