Follow Voicebox on Twitter Follow Voicebox on Facebook
Follow Voicebox on Facebook

Presenters Should Step Up Their Game

April 6, 2010

music.jpegLast Friday, over lunch with a friend, the discussion turned to ways to make classical music relevant to younger audiences. This hoary topic tends to make conversation spiral around in circles. But I feel that there's enough happening in the field these days to suggest that composers and musicians are doing what they can to reach out to younger audiences. This great article in the Financial Times by Laura Battle explores the topic in some depth. But in general, arts institutions have been slower to catch on.

Here in San Francisco, there is a modicum of institutional buy-in to the idea that classical music can break free of stuffy concert halls and stiff concert etiquette. The San Francisco Symphony runs its After Hours events in the second tier lobby at Davies Symphony Hall. These are popular with a younger crowd. Museums are starting to get the hang of creating a more free and easy atmosphere for audiences to hear music - yesterday's blog post about Friday night's L@TE event at the Berkeley Art Museum provides an example of how institutions are collaborating with musicians to bring new audiences to contemporary classical music.

I would like to see more actual presenters of classical music events range beyond their habits and try new things. Why shouldn't San Francisco performances, Old First Concerts or Stanford Lively Arts produce cool, adjunct events to accompany their main stage concerts at the usual auditoriums? Logistics notwithstanding, there must be a way to create buzz around all these great artists playing in town by having them perform a low-key, short set perhaps with collaborators from other musical genres like jazz and electronica, dancers or visual artists, in a club or other convivial spot prior to the mainstage concert.

Come on, classical music presenters: let's get creative.


  • Hey, Chloe, you are so right on! We absolutely have to breach the generation gap in classical music. Presented right the young and bright generation totally relates to purely classical content, (btw without any need to ponder to pop alone the way, pop is good on its own just like classical can stand purely on its own “cross-over” required), yet the change of a stiff, impersonal, detaching audience from performer “old” format I believe is long overdue. That’s exactly what we do on our Classical Underground platform here in LA and people love it…we have so many great testimonials of those we so want to see in those seats – “yeah, that way I want it…never thought I’m classical music lover”
    What you say is exactly right way to reach out for big stage as well and that’s what we experimenting with, fly over this Monday the 19th as we have a wonderful Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski presenting his new album right after doing Rachmaninoff 1st at Disney Hall this weekend…it be fun, he’s doing a carte blanche an pared with local winners of music competition…he’s big on supporting rising talents…we are pretty much sold out, as we always are, but we’ll squeeze you in, come hang out with us
    Alexey Steele

    By Blogger where ART rules, At April 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home