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The New York Philharmonic
Old 2 weeks ago
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The New York Philharmonic

Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

It's a sad situation with orchestral music in this country. The costs of running an orchestra in a free market economy are probably the highest of any of the performing arts in any genre. Attendance is dwindling, ticket prices are going up, production costs are skyrocketing, the venues that most of the orchestras perform in are dated, both aesthetically and acoustically; none of it makes for easy solutions.

The trick seems to be how to attract new audiences. And unfortunately, the only thing that seems to be working are the film score concerts, where the orchestra plays the score live while showing a film. The only concerts that our orchestra has sold out since I started my job over 8 years ago have been those film concerts. And we have three concerts scheduled for Harry Potter in November (their normal run is a single concert with less than 50% attendance (in a 2,400 seat hall)), which will probably sell out. Try doing that with Hayden or Tchaikovsky or some esoteric new work program.

My fear is that in another 20 years, the only orchestral music that will exist will be those in films. And most of those will be sequenced on a keyboard and computer.
Old 2 weeks ago
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it seems none are immune, although I suspect the European orchestras fare a little better...different cultural priorities by governments and stronger historical precedents of support than the 'New World' ?

The concerts that seems to fill seats in Australia are targeted at baby boomer audiences: The XXX Symphony Plays Pink Floyd/Deep Purple/Queen/The Who et al, where a stripped back rock band is wrapped into the orchestra...these will sell out multiple evenings of shows. Don't knock it...it boosts the management's income and permits more adventurous programming than might otherwise be possible without these crowd-pleasers. You'll see a lot of perspex acoustic screening on stage in these shows ...it keeps the 2 tribes apart lol !

The Australian and US situations are evaluated in some detail in the podcast cited below....

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/12660395-post89.html
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The XXX Symphony Plays Pink Floyd/Deep Purple/Queen/The Who et al, where a stripped back rock band is wrapped into the orchestra...
So what exactly is a stripped back rock band? Is that just drums, bass and guitar?
Old 2 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
So what exactly is a stripped back rock band? Is that just drums, bass and guitar?
No synths covering the strings, brass and woodwinds...
Old 2 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
So what exactly is a stripped back rock band? Is that just drums, bass and guitar?
I might have misled you there a bit...it's the closest replication/cover band that can be assembled to mimic said iconic band.....augmented with an orchestra for sweetening. Like Mantovani for the new millenium.

Imbues the baby-boomer rock event with a sense of 'kulcha'...you dig ? it will pass..but hopefully in so doing may introduce a new generation to the delights of the concert hall and orchestra, who would otherwise only inhabit the superdomes and the 'entertainment centres' and pubs for their consumption of music.
Old 2 weeks ago
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Around here the Cleveland Orchestra has an acoustically redone hall to play in. They have good community support. They also always seem to be in debt. Canton Symphony has a lot of sold out concerts and they do a really good job of bringing classical music to the public. I don't know how their finances are. The Columbus Symphony has been in and out for bankruptcy multiple times. The Red Orchestra in Cleveland went belly up not too long ago. Not looking to good for classical music. Much of the blame probably goes to schools where students are no longer exposed to classical music in their formative years. Most parents don't know anything about classical music and it is not played in most houses. Teens and pre-teens are more interested in gaming and Facebook and have no real reason to listen to classical music. It maybe a "dying art". FWIW
Old 2 weeks ago
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Old 2 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Clearly Sir Simon wasn't rattled....and the audience were (eventually) entranced.
Groan...

Barbara Hannigan is a consummate performer and a very interesting musician. I look forward to more of her conducting. I can only hope that she will pay a visit to her hometown (Halifax) and conduct Symphony Nova Scotia someday - I would love to attend that concert.
Old 2 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Groan...

Barbara Hannigan is a consummate performer and a very interesting musician. I look forward to more of her conducting. I can only hope that she will pay a visit to her hometown (Halifax) and conduct Symphony Nova Scotia someday - I would love to attend that concert.
Couldn't agree more...and my point was that if orchestral managements were not risk-averse (like Barbara herself) they might better engage the optimism and loyalty of audiences, rather than mount rear-guard damage/loss control measures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnzmQZpEyb4
Old 2 weeks ago
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Gotta say, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, thanks to Music Director Ludovic Morlot, President and CEO Simon Woods and Director of Outreach Christophe Chagnard, the audiences are growing and young people are coming.

Ludo is Stepping down next season, alas. Looking for a different "thing." As far as I can tell, he is a great conductor and beloved by musicians and concert goers alike, and I get no sense of political angst within. But we will miss him.

But the Orchestra's vision is pretty strong and well supported, and I feel extremely lucky to live in a city where the classical music scene (as well as the jazz and pop scenes) are thriving. So lucky.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is thriving here -- generous endowment and gifting, wildly supportive musical arts city, and just about to move back into historic Music Hall after a mostly privately funded $140 million makeover.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/ente...hes/354327001/
Old 2 weeks ago
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Chicago Symphony Orchestra runs a small deficit but is still KING.

New York has poor management but new capable management coming in.

There are too many arts organizations vying for fewer dollars.

The death of the orchestra (in general) has been predicted for over 120 years.

No one will give up great art.
Old 2 weeks ago
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I hate to see any symphony orchestra in danger, well, music of ny sort, but symphony orchestras are so important. What I am seeing in this thread is that the interior of our country has a stronger classical arts life than we on the coasts, for all our smugness. So much for "fly over" territory. We might just have to revise the map.
Old 2 weeks ago
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After living here in Richmond almost a year, I finally got a chance to hear the local symphony. Unfortunately, their solution to getting a younger audience was to seat guests who showed up late while the orchestra was playing. Most of them were also carrying glasses of wine and didn't stop talking either. Talk about no class and completely bowing to clientele.
At least Maestro Gilbert attempted to bridge the gap of tradition while showing some new talent. I had a conductor who was not happy with the orchestras' effort at a Brahms symphony rehearsal. He slammed the stick and the stand and reminded the group that "there were people who were going to hear Brahms 2 for the first time! And some for the last time."
Old 2 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
He slammed the stick and the stand and reminded the group that "there were people who were going to hear Brahms 2 for the first time! And some for the last time."
Hats off to that Tartar. He is the skipper. The hall is his and the orchestra must bow to his demands. Hopefully he will stop the music and tell the gabbers he will wait until they are finsihed talking. That works, too. The concert hall is a place apart. It is not the food court in some shopping center.
Old 2 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Hats off to that Tartar. He is the skipper. The hall is his and the orchestra must bow to his demands. Hopefully he will stop the music and tell the gabbers he will wait until they are finsihed talking. That works, too. The concert hall is a place apart. It is not the food court in some shopping center.
Not to mention the justifiable conductor reaction when a cellphone rings in the audience, just as he's about to commence movt 1 of a symphony
Old 2 weeks ago
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Or the solo cellist with his bow poised over the strings.

And my pet peeve. If you are so freakin' sick that you can't stop coughing, stay the F home.

There, I said what I want to scream at every performance.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Or the solo cellist with his bow poised over the strings.

And my pet peeve. If you are so freakin' sick that you can't stop coughing, stay the F home.

There, I said what I want to scream at every performance.

D.
This is the stuff of a whole new thread (I suspect it's been aired many times here in other unrelated threads also): "Pet Peeves of the concert recording environment" ...I'll set it up so this one can remain Met related
Old 2 weeks ago
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When I recorded the Cleveland Opera they asked all the doctors and other professionals to leave their cell phones and pagers in the box office and if they got a call an usher would quietly come get them. In one case the person either forgot or decided that they would not do as asked and in the middle of a very quiet scene the theme song, as a ring tone, from a kids show "The Mickey Mouse Club" could be heard in the theater and I recorded it on my recorder. The person quickly turned off their cell phone and left the theater. I am sure they were embarrassed and mortified.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
After two generations of neglect of music by public schools, these pop/orchestra mashups constitute necessary outreach. Many potential audience members just don't "get" what an amazing achievement it is to have nearly a hundred top-notch musicians all working together in one performance... until they see it and hear it for themselves. The headlining artists may get 'em in the door -- much like Pearlman & Stern did during the 20th century, but then it's up to the orchestra to bring 'em back. It's true that "once in a lifetime" events can be part of that: nobody worries about "missing out" on a Beethoven symphony. That observation goes double for orchestras with long concert seasons in major metropolitan areas, where there is lots of competition for entertainment dollars and dates. This is arguably less of a problem across Middle America, where if you miss the symphony, your "next chance" might not come until next month. Another observation is that audiences now need to be told what they're about to hear, and to have it put in some context. "Music Appreciation" courses are something most younger audience members never attended, and hearing a conductor or featured artist talk about the music before performing it can be an important part of the musical experience for them. Needless to say, today's orchestras should be collecting Facebook contacts, and offering ticket discounts in exchange for tweets. Oh yes, and send those program notes out in advance, often nothing improves one's fond memory of a performance as much as having succeeded in looking smart and well-informed in front of your date!
Old 1 week ago
  #22
RPC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
The costs of running an orchestra in a free market economy are probably the highest of any of the performing arts in any genre.
...unless you're trying to run an opera company: an orchestra, a chorus, a ballet company and a theater company all at once, plus the name soloists. And yet they survive (and in some places thrive)!
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
Needless to say, today's orchestras should be collecting Facebook contacts, and offering ticket discounts in exchange for tweets.
Oh no!
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Oh no!
Let me guess David...you run a chequebook ? It's perfectly tenable for an orchestra's management to pursue more than one promotional policy: Facebook and Twits for the up-and comers, and reduced annual subscriptions, preferred seating, pre-concert drinks and discount parking dockets for the established-and-departing. In fact, it would be plain foolish to omit either strand...

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 10:31 AM..
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Let me guess David...you run a chequebook ?
LOL. That has become an acid test, hasn't it? I still do write cheques and I don't do FB. My wife on the other hand refuses to have anything to do with cheques and is very active on social media... I wonder when some sci-fi writer is going to do a re-write of Fahrenheit 451 using FB as the judgment criteria? I doubt any of the younger generation would get that the lack of a TV aerial would out the criminals of the F451 distopia. How would the 'firemen' today discover a non-Facebooker like me? Google I suppose...
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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The most consistent element of time is the certainty of change, in shape and form, of custom. Patronage from royalty and the church financed most all fine art post renaissance and within our own much shorter history wealthy industrialists and faith based institutions were the financial foundation of serious music in the US. Unfortunately the Dot Com crowd and siicone valley are a hell of a lot more into the "greatful dead" while most mega churches are emerged in "praise and worship" tunes that are euphemistically called 7-11s ( the same 11 words over and over 7 times). The last vestage of first class production, performance and stageing within the faith based community is at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It comes as no great surprise to me that the mid west with an ageing population that maintains more traditional values would still find the resources to fund serious music.
It is very easy to blame public K-12 education for the demise of music knowledge and taste however in the 50s when I was playing bass in the orchestra I never listened to classical music: it was no where close to Buddy Holly on my list. It is also an interesting fact that higher education still fights to maintain relevance with vocal pedagogy and instrumental training while public interests are far removed from any appreciation in these collective classical music teaching skills. I am personally a lot more concerned over the loss of historical fundamental civics education in our public schools.
Bobby soxer fans screamed in the forties with emotional disregard when Frank Senatra did his thing, and in the 50s with Elvis and the 60 with the Beatles: whats new? We should not be surprised they are now short of proper musical social listening skills as adults!
Hugh

Last edited by hughshouse; 1 week ago at 01:56 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The most consistent element of time is the certainty of change in shape and form of custom. Patronage from royalty and the church financed most all fine art post renaissance and within our own much shorter history wealthy industrialists and faith based institutions were the financial foundation of serious music in the US. Unfortunately the Dot Com crowd and siicone valley are a hell of a lot more into the "greatful dead" while most mega churches are emerged in "praise and worship" tunes that are euphemistically called 7-11s ( the same 11 words over and over 7 times). The last vestage of first class production, performance and stageing within the faith based community is at Temple Square in Salt Lack City. It comes as no great surprise to me that the mid west with an ageing population that maintains more traditional values would still find the resources to fund serious music.
It is very easy to blame public K-12 education for the demise of music knowledge and taste however in the 50s when I was playing bass in the orchestra I never listened to classical music: it was no where close to Buddy Holly on my list. It is also an interesting fact that higher education still fights to maintain relevance with vocal pedagogy and instrumental training while public interests are far removed from any appreciation in these collective classical music teaching skills. I am personally a lot more concerned over the loss of historical fundamental civics education in our public schools.
Bobby soxer fans screamed in the forties with emotional disregard when Frank Senatra did his thing, and in the 50s with Elvis and the 60 with the Beatles: whats new? We should not be surprised they are now short of proper musical social listening skills as adults!
Hugh
When I worked at the local conservatory we were graduating a lot of young musicians every year with very few prospects for getting a job in "music" i.e. playing in a symphony or a solo career but the conservatory had about a 10 to 1 acceptance ratio which was pretty darn good. One good thing about the local college was that they offered a 5 year double degree program so you could graduate in Clarinet performance and chemistry. A good fall back career in case music didn't work out. It was very popular option with students and still is.

The associate dean, at the time, and I tried to get the conservatory to start offering courses like "working with artist's management" and "business know how for the solo performer or music teacher" but the faculty, at the time, said this was NOT a "trade school" and shot down the proposal. (I really don't know how much closer one can get to the true meaning of a trade school than a conservatory but...) (Definition of trade school from the WWW A trade school, also known as a technical school or a vocational school, is an educational institution that exists to teach skills related to a specific job.)

Until people find listening to classical music to be as important as the latest music video on YouTube or tear them away from playing a video game then I guess classical music appreciation will continue its downward spiral.

FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Originally Posted by RPC View Post
...unless you're trying to run an opera company: an orchestra, a chorus, a ballet company and a theater company all at once, plus the name soloists. And yet they survive (and in some places thrive)!
No, most of the opera companies across the U.S. are running bigger deficits than the orchestras are.

Our opera company is one of the few still surviving and they have had to cut back on their productions also: down to two fully produced shows and one concert production, and a summer youth opera production (which I am mixing next week). They used to run three performances of three full productions. Now they are down to two performances for the full productions and a single night for the concert. And they get barely a half a house in attendance.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Let me guess David...you run a chequebook ?
Not a luddite here, far from it, but I will never post anything or create accounts on FB, LI, Apple anything.

The orchestra can control its own media releases and not give it to a megalomanic media outlet, ie. they need properly targeted and maintained email alerts, a decent website (very few of these exist) and targeted messaging to their well maintained customer and subscriber lists, some apps if need be, but the crucial thing is they need to control it. Shotgun spraying to FB is unlikely to attract an increased audience, the people who will want to go will not need to read it on FB to be aware.

Its interesting to think about why an orchestra is not getting bums on seats or a following:
1. Programming/repertoire or variety no good?
2. Listeners not aware, marketing no good?
3. Time of year, dates no good?
4. Standards no good, soloists no good?
5. Value add no good, festivals with gluttony, nice locations etc
6. Home town economy no good?
7. Political and private support no good?

etc

I don't the reason will ever be, marketing was not sent to FB.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 1 week ago at 11:21 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Not a luddite here, far from it, but I will never post anything or create accounts on FB, LI, Apple anything.

The orchestra can control its own media releases and not give it to a megalomanic media outlet, ie. they need properly targeted and maintained email alerts, a decent website (very few of these exist) and targeted messaging to their well maintained customer and subscriber lists, some apps if need be, but the crucial thing is they need to control it. Shotgun spraying to FB is unlikely to attract an increased audience, the people who will want to go will not need to read it on FB to be aware.

Its interesting to think about why an orchestra is not getting bums on seats or a following:
1. Programming/repertoire or variety no good?
2. Listeners not aware, marketing no good?
3. Time of year, dates no good?
4. Standards no good, soloists no good?
5. Value add no good, festivals with gluttony, nice locations etc
6. Home town economy no good?
7. Political and private support no good?

etc

I don't the reason will ever be, marketing was not sent to FB.
I think you left off a biggy. The potential audience members really don't care about classical music.

There is a Kendal (retirement community) here in Oberlin and at a lot of concerts I see a lot of Kendal people attending. (The Kendal bus makes a lot of trips to the concert venues) There are also a lot of students attending. What I don't see are adults from 25 to 50 years of age in attendance. Probably because they have young children and "other" things to keep them occupied.

Before Kendal was built there were very few members of the local community who came to concerts. Mostly they were retired professors or older community members who had time to attend concerts.

The influx of Kendal has had a very positive effect on the size of concert audiences.

FWIW
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