For people intimidated by classical music, the editors of TuTTi invite you to ''meet the real rock stars of the last 300 years.''
TuTTi is a new magazine-CD series that aims to offer easy access to the world of classical music. The publication fashions itself after People magazine in its graphics and sometimes-gossipy tone, while the CD offers a serious sample of works by the magazine's featured composer -- or at least an easy-listening selection.
''TuTTi'' refers to the musical term meaning all instruments playing at the same time; it's also Italian for ''everyone.''
Humorous and often irreverent, each issue promises snippets of background on a particular composer and includes a quirky time line for the uninformed. (For example, the first public restaurant opened in Paris the same year Beethoven was born: 1770). The series made its debut in November with Mozart. The second and third issues, available this month, focus on Leonard Bernstein and Tchaikovsky.
TuTTi aims to bring classical music down from its pedestal, so it doesn't seem quite so snooty and unapproachable. Its motto is ''Classical music for the rest of us.''
''We've gotten a little flak for that,'' says Bob Cannon, TuTTi's managing editor. ''The 'rest of us' is the majority. Most people are not into classical music, but they probably would like to be -- they're just too scared of it. They feel like it's an old museum piece; they're not allowed to touch it and roll it around in their hands.''
TuTTi's target audience is the 30- to 50-year-old woman who listens to contemporary light rock and might be interested in the kind of classical music they may have heard on a movie soundtrack, for example.
Roxanne St. Clair, marketing director for TuTTi, notes the success of the Victoria's Secret tape (the lingerie store's mix of classical favorites) and Gregorian chants, citing that ''TuTTi has a rich opportunity.''
What one might call opportunity, another might call an enormous challenge: According to one market survey, less than 2 percent of Americans purchased classical music in the past year.
Still, the publishers believe that the time is ripe for people to switch from Phil Collins to the Philharmonic with a little fun-filled encouragement. You don't need a tuxedo, says editor Cannon; a T-shirt is just fine.
Some critics have wondered if TuTTi is trying to be too hip for its own good. Those who already listen to classical programs on the far ends of the radio dial may scoff at an article on Mozart's off-color sense of humor or a Dave Barry column on why ''regular people'' don't like classical music.
But supporters claim that the classical-music world needs TuTTi to widen its audience. Case in point, says St. Clair, TuTTi gets at least one call a day from a symphony eager to get involved.