Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good news for us

Recently, the Huffington Post published an article detailing the success of orchestras that market to young people. In addition, the article reported that concert attendance has remained at the same level since 2008, according to a National Endowment for the Arts survey. Here are some reasons for the steady number of concert attendees:
  • The National Endowment for the Arts' Survey of Public Participation in the Arts has been released every year since 1982. In 2008, they found that since '82, the median age of classical music attendees had gone from 40 to 48. Arts organizations began working to reverse this trend, especially since the survey "found that 35 to 54-year-olds have decreased their participation in classical music." 
  • The Cleveland Orchestra has announced that it has the goal of having the youngest audience. At a recent concert, as the Huff Post article points out, 27% of the audience was young people. The Cleveland Orchestra also has a program called "Under 18s Free," in which a person under 18 can attend a concert for free with someone who has purchased a ticket. The orchestra also has a Frequent Fan Card, which is available to students for $50 at the beginning of the season and allows them to go to any concert free of charge. Students are given the best seats in the house, according to the article.
  • The Boston Symphony gives students the opportunity to buy a College Card for $25 and attend most of the concerts for free. The Philadelphia Orchestra has also recently created the same student program.
  • A post-graduate orchestra called The New World Symphony has taken form in Florida that performs in non-traditional concert venues. Their project seeks to demonstrate that "changing the traditional concert experience greatly changes the audience." One of these changes is the group's "Pulse" series, which begin at 9:30 p.m. and "create a club-like experience."
  •  Here in Boston, nearly all of the area conservatories and institutions offer free concerts. Many professional ensembles also allow students to get in for free, or at a discounted rate (for example, the Discovery Ensemble of Boston (a wonderful ensemble) features free student tickets at the door).
Because of these initiatives, there seems to be no reason why we, the young people the article talks of, cannot attend concerts. I am very happy to be seeing these implementations in arts organizations throughout the country. One can only hope that these efforts allow young people (especially non-musicians) to see the relevance of classical music & live concert-going in today's world. 

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