Page 1 of 7 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 102

Thread: Can the concert hall experience attract younger audiences and survive?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    669
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Can the concert hall experience attract younger audiences and survive?

    Our national newspaper, "The Australian" is carrying an article this weekend by a conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Asher Fisch, and here is just a brief excerpt from this: he discusses the Covid-19 lockdown and its consequences for serious music.

    It’s disastrous, and the future of concert music will never be the same,” says Fisch, who has been guest conductor for major orchestras in the US and Europe and WASO’s principal conductor since 2014. “It’s not just the problem of closed halls and people *sitting together, but the concert-goer’s age is high compared to sport or cinema; they are in the at-risk category.

    We’re basically the old people’s home of the arts. We’re coming from a low point and the concert format has not renewed itself over the years. We have to come up with new ideas of how to deliver music. Nobody will pay to watch a concert online because there are free concerts already on the internet, with all the greatest figures from Herbert von Karajan to Leonard Bernstein.


    Any suggestions on how this 'problem' can be addressed? How do we get renewal with younger audiences? Is the concert hall experience dead in the water; a relic of the 19th and 20th centuries?
    Last edited by Christabel; May-24-2020 at 01:31. Reason: italics

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    2,159
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    (I wrote a longish reply that disappeared because of my aging fumblefingers, that I don't feel like re-creating. Is there any way that an "un-do" key can be added, like MS Word has? Just a thought.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    2,733
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    (I wrote a longish reply that disappeared because of my aging fumblefingers, that I don't feel like re-creating. Is there any way that an "un-do" key can be added, like MS Word has? Just a thought.)
    Are you familiar with Ctrl+Z?

    The concert hall experience as it is today will not attract younger audiences. This is because of many reasons, some of which are social factors, the way people perceive "classical" music, and an all-round decline in music education. Revitalizing concert-hall music—i.e., restoring its revolutionary roots—requires many things that are out of our control. What we can do is limit unspoken rules at concerts, quit deifying certain composers, and play old masterworks as if they were written yesterday (rather than treating them like museum pieces).
    Last edited by Portamento; May-24-2020 at 02:47.

  4. Likes adriesba liked this post
  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    669
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    (I wrote a longish reply that disappeared because of my aging fumblefingers, that I don't feel like re-creating. Is there any way that an "un-do" key can be added, like MS Word has? Just a thought.)
    Please do try again later if you have the energy; I'd like to have your views.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    669
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Are you familiar with Ctrl+Z?

    The concert hall experience as it is today will not attract younger audiences. This is because of many reasons, some of which are social factors, the way people perceive "classical" music, and an all-round decline in music education. Revitalizing concert-hall music—i.e., restoring its revolutionary roots—requires many things that are out of our control. What we can do is limit unspoken rules at concerts, quit deifying certain composers, and play old masterworks as if they were written yesterday (rather than treating them like museum pieces).
    But how will younger generations know about these 'unspoken rules' and any changes brought about if they don't attend concerts already? The same applies to recitals, of course. Those who don't attend regularly at the concert hall don't know the music on offer; how could they? And for them all serious music is Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

    I remember seeing a film which brushed the surface of this only briefly: "Born Yesterday", with Judy Holliday and William Holden. The latter is hired to educate the former and she expresses an interest in learning about serious music. Holden speaks about "the better music" and takes her to a concert with Beethoven Symphony #2. She appreciates the experience and immediately starts to read about 'Beat-hoven'!! Though it was a silly comedy, it raised issues about music education even back in the early 1950s when the film was made.

    This might be heresy for some musical purists, but what about the notion of getting people into venues with our symphony orchestras playing film music etc. and then at least one item of non-film music, eg. Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture". There will be many who are not familiar with this but who'll be swept up by the experience and likely to return.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,932
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    play old masterworks as if they were written yesterday (rather than treating them like museum pieces).
    I agree with this. This is why I lament the dearth of conductors nowadays (solo musicians, more frequently) who refuse to take risks and just want to present everything “as the composer wrote it” (I don’t believe there’s such thing) rather than infusing them with their dynamic personalities to make them exciting and appealing to the average person. Restoring the art of interpretation would definitely go a long way in revitalizing the typical concert hall experience. As a young person who is intensely passionate and enthusiastic about classical music, I am indeed saddened that attending concerts largely means being surrounded by people 3-4 times my age who seem to be attending largely as a social event rather than out of voluntary desire to hear the music, with the few my age looking like they would rather be anasthetized than be there. Not to pass broad judgments, but that’s my (admittedly) limited experience so far.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

  8. Likes Judas Priest Fan liked this post
  9. #7
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    534
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Can the concert hall experience attract younger audiences and survive?
    Overall as an institution, I don't think so. There will probably be charismatic performers here and there like Yuja Wang, but overall I think it's obsolete. I think the dry ritualism and music-as-gymnastics-routine fostered by the competition mindset is finishing it off.

  10. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    669
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by consuono View Post
    Overall as an institution, I don't think so. There will probably be charismatic performers here and there like Yuja Wang, but overall I think it's obsolete. I think the dry ritualism and music-as-gymnastics-routine fostered by the competition mindset is finishing it off.
    You are presumably talking about instrumental competitions, for which there is never a shortage of competitors eager to carry off the prize. Indeed, this is the paradox. More and more hugely talented musicians trying to fill ever-diminishing performing opportunities.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'dry ritualism' as this has never presented a problem for me, personally. The same kind of 'ritualism' exists in live theatre - if I have your meaning correct.

  11. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Exeter, UK
    Posts
    113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The problem is that amongst the younger crowd (up to what age you want to define as younger) is that classical music has an image problem.

    It is perceived as boring and old fashioned and no amount of programming will convince people to go to the concert hall when just the words concert and orchestra are enough to put them off.

    A secondary consideration is that it is perceived in some places as elitist and only for a few, when thanks to streaming/digital and recordings in general it has never been more accessible. But this perception will natural make some people dismiss it.

    I am not sure that education is the solution, if the kids find it boring they will associate classical music with boring school lessons. Exposure while people are in a open or inquisitive state of mind is key, but how you go about it I don't know.

    My own journey to classical music came from seeds sown during my dad random channel hoping and settled on opera as curiosity and to annoy my mum. But it was years later when I decided to explore.

    The main challenge will be that classical music is inherently acoustic with a tone, rhythm and instruments that are totally alien to the modern electric instruments used in most pop/rock/dj etc music.

  12. Likes adriesba liked this post
  13. #10
    Senior Member consuono's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    534
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Christabel View Post
    You are presumably talking about instrumental competitions, for which there is never a shortage of competitors eager to carry off the prize. Indeed, this is the paradox. More and more hugely talented musicians trying to fill ever-diminishing performing opportunities.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'dry ritualism' as this has never presented a problem for me, personally. The same kind of 'ritualism' exists in live theatre - if I have your meaning correct.
    Yes. I understand competitions do serve a purpose in giving exposure to brilliant young musicians who otherwise might never get that. But at the same time I think it has encouraged this note-perfect cookie cutter approach in a lot of ways which I think has been harmful. (I would blame the rise of the conservatory for that as well.) Music becomes sort of like a gymnastics routine and competitors are just seeing if they can get through it without slipping or falling. That's where the paradox is for me, or maybe a Catch-22. And at any rate, these days a fairly decent musician who's photogenic or who has some kind of shtick can probably gain more recognition on YouTube on a shoestring budget than the latest Tchaikovsky Competition winner.

    I just think the "dry ritualism" is a sort of going through the motions because that's how it's been done for generations, with putting on your best duds and maybe engaging in some social niceties to go watch a bunch of people in tuxedos and evening gowns. Now I know there's nothing quite like live performances, but I just sometimes wonder how many go to actually hear the music. Theater is pretty much the same way. I think ultimately it may be that recordings and now streaming and the wall-to-wall oversaturation of anything and everything makes live performances a lot less meaningful than they were in past eras, when that was the only way you were going to hear that kind of music. You couldn't just load a Beethoven or Mahler symphony onto whatever device and blast it through your speakers at any time you want.
    It just doesn't seem to be as vital as it probably once was. Glenn Gould was quirky and eccentric and not to everyone's taste, but I think he was probably right way back in the 60s about the obsolescence of the concert hall.
    Last edited by consuono; May-24-2020 at 07:49.

  14. Likes Portamento liked this post
  15. #11
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    905
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I don't know everyone's situation, but I reckon that younger people would be inclined to attend live concerts if they were actually familiar with the music. The problem I think is ignorance. People don't understand that classical music is actually quite enjoyable. I also think that the constant Beethoven, Mozart, Bach stuff is going to turn people off. Not everyone is going to relate to those composers, and there is much classical music drastically different from those three. The composers who are relatively "edgier" (sorry I got another thread in my mind and can't think of a better word) than those three don't get enough attention overall, in my opinion. Show them that there is much more than those three. I don't know who should show them, but they need to have the exposure to the other composers.

  16. Likes Christabel, Allegro Con Brio liked this post
  17. #12
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    905
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Are you familiar with Ctrl+Z?

    The concert hall experience as it is today will not attract younger audiences. This is because of many reasons, some of which are social factors, the way people perceive "classical" music, and an all-round decline in music education. Revitalizing concert-hall music—i.e., restoring its revolutionary roots—requires many things that are out of our control. What we can do is limit unspoken rules at concerts, quit deifying certain composers, and play old masterworks as if they were written yesterday (rather than treating them like museum pieces).
    Ah, yes. I agree with the highlighted point.
    Last edited by adriesba; May-24-2020 at 09:15.

  18. #13
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,069
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    I myself wouldn't blame the conservatories for advocating and training brilliance in musicianship, it is their duty to prepare students for the reality of trying to get work as a player post graduation. If anything, one can easily point the finger at Liszt or Paganini if one perceives a problem with brilliance in performance. Excellence is encouraged in order to serve the music, to be able to play free from technical limitation in order to express the music without hindrance. Nobody wants to pay money to be on the nervous edge of their seat, wondering if the next florid and difficult moment will be better than the last disastrous fumble. Easy excellence and competence is also required for comprehensible ensemble playing in many difficult works new and old, that litter the repertoire.

    Often there is an equating of technical brilliance with dryness of expression. The players who are virtuosic, feel the music as much as anyone else - how could they not and why on earth would they interpret a piece any other way than musical as they feel it?

    Back on point, I can't help but agree with the sentiment that the concert hall is veering towards being a museum, perhaps even a mausoleum and wish it wasn't so. It's not the music, nor musicians fault, it is commerce that is the main driver imv and the main problem, necessary though it is. Worryingly I can't see a way out of the concert hall's continued demise but continue to believe in it as a viable venue for great music, fulfilling the same function an art gallery does.
    Last edited by mikeh375; May-24-2020 at 09:41.

  19. Likes adriesba liked this post
  20. #14
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    905
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zxxyxxz View Post
    The problem is that amongst the younger crowd (up to what age you want to define as younger) is that classical music has an image problem.

    It is perceived as boring and old fashioned and no amount of programming will convince people to go to the concert hall when just the words concert and orchestra are enough to put them off.

    A secondary consideration is that it is perceived in some places as elitist and only for a few, when thanks to streaming/digital and recordings in general it has never been more accessible. But this perception will natural make some people dismiss it.

    I am not sure that education is the solution, if the kids find it boring they will associate classical music with boring school lessons. Exposure while people are in a open or inquisitive state of mind is key, but how you go about it I don't know.

    My own journey to classical music came from seeds sown during my dad random channel hoping and settled on opera as curiosity and to annoy my mum. But it was years later when I decided to explore.

    The main challenge will be that classical music is inherently acoustic with a tone, rhythm and instruments that are totally alien to the modern electric instruments used in most pop/rock/dj etc music.
    I wonder if this is a big factor. I wonder if people nowadays tend to find enjoy classical music later in life when the seeds have already been planted and they have gotten bored with all the popular music which will have moved to something differently from what they recognized in their youth.

    Perhaps when people are young, they get caught up in this peer mentality and thus go with whatever is deemed by their peers to be the next great thing.

    Maybe as people mature, they move away from the mentality of being "cool" or whatever and gain the patience to explore that composer their parents or grandparents listened to or just become curious and willing enough to try something different.

    Perhaps appreciation for classical music is a perennial phenomenon of maturity (perhaps this is why classical music is perceived as "not cool", old fashioned, dull, uppity, snobbish, or whatever young people think it is).

    Perhaps the young people who appreciate are the exceptions in the audience. Maybe they are the few who have a maturity beyond their years, a stronger curiosity than most, or a "sheltered" experience.

    As a 20-year-old who loves classical music and live concerts and was homeschooled Kindergarten through 12th grade, I certainly fit into the category of a young person who hypothetically was placed into an ideal situation to love classical music due to being sheltered and thus not influenced by peers to be pushed to like something else.

    True, my younger brother was in the same basic environment as I was but doesn't seem to have any interest in classical music. That makes me think that there are various personality traits that perhaps make one more susceptible to classical music at an early age. Perhaps "nerdiness"? My brother would probably refer to me as a nerd. Maybe that is a factor, but I don't know. Of course my brother has been much more into social media than I have been and is thus less sheltered in a sense. I often have to ask him what something I saw on the internet means.

    TLDR: Maybe classical music or classical music concerts aren't necessarily dying but are a phenomenon of the mature or a few young people that don't necessarily fit the mold of their peers for whatever reason (environment, personality, extra exposure to the genre, etc.).
    Last edited by adriesba; May-24-2020 at 09:53.

  21. Likes Open Book liked this post
  22. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    669
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    All interesting comments and from different age groups, which is good.

    @consuono: ..."I just sometimes wonder how many go to actually hear the music." You often hear this comment but I think I may be able to help out with an answer. In 2011 my spouse and myself spent a year living in Vienna and in 2015 we travelled through a large part of Europe as I wanted to attend concerts in Berlin, Leipzig, Oslo, Amsterdam. In 2011 I went a great deal to the Musikverein, the Wiener Konzerthaus (not as much as the former) and Staatsoper (a couple of times). Also Theater an der Wien. On almost all those concert experiences (except Leipzig, where the woman sitting next to me was rude) I was able to speak to the random people sitting next to me - of all ages - during the break. Not at every concert, of course, because some people rush for the bar when the break occurs!! But I can tell you that from my conversations with Viennese, Dutch, Germans and Norwegians they all knew a great deal about the music and came because they loved it. I cannot recall how many times people spoke about their connections to the venue, the orchestra, the music. It was wonderfully enlightening. Some even emailed me when I returned to Australia and wanted me to come back to Vienna!! At the Wiener Staatsoper I shared a 7-seat box with, among 2 or 3 others, a 30 year old Austrian fellow who was in the construction industry!! We travelled home on the U4 together and he kept talking about his love of music and his desire to do more travelling to hear more music!! As I got off the train a stop before his he said, "thank you for your company; I've enjoyed our talk". He a young man, me a woman of senior years. And he told me lots about the history of the Wiener Staatsoper, Dominque Meyer and political ructions at that venue.

    In short, the vast majority of people are there because of the music. I fervently believe this. On a tram going home one night with my spouse a man was talking in an animated fashion up the back about Beethoven and Schubert. This was after one of my earliest concerts. I didn't have enough Wienerische to understand what he was saying but he was obviously referring to the concert we'd seen. Spouse and myself alighted at McDonalds for a late night hot chocolate before heading to our apartment and I said to him, "can you imagine having or hearing a conversation like this on a Sydney train or bus??!!!" I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

    The Asian nations seem to have adopted western classical music with both hands - young and old - and I feel that concertizing will be with them in perpetuity, but I have very grave concerns about European peoples. To the Asian people Simon Rattle and the Berliner Phlharmoniker are rock stars.
    Last edited by Christabel; May-24-2020 at 10:27. Reason: Theater an der Wien

Page 1 of 7 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •