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A wonderful discussion was started on Monday about Finding Your Audience.  One word really struck me as central to the whole issue - community.  This is true no matter which side you are on, the presenting side or musician side.  I believe that people want to be a part of something, if you want to keep them coming back.  Does anyone out there have any other thoughts on this?  Success stories?  Questions?  What are you doing to make your audience feel a part of it all?  Let's keep the dialogue going and share your thoughts here.

engaging new audiences

Thank you CMA for the session. As a presenter of free chamber music concerts, ChamberMusicNY removes the economic barrier to attending live music. We are bringing non-musicians as well as musicians to Merkin, Weill, and other halls in New York from high schools, colleges and other community centers and introducing them to chamber music's powerful intimacy.

We hope planting these seeds for the appreciation of live chamber music will result in our guests going on to purchase live event tickets to our colleague's productions and recordings and thus help our genre grow.

We look forward to our next CMA session.  Have a great summer.


B. David Krivit


PO Box 230736

New York, NY 10023

(646) 300-1207

Community, new ways


Barli, thank you for sharing that amazing performance by the University of Maryland orchestra.  I knew of LIz Lehrman's choreography for non-dancers, but this is the first work I've seen.  Her staging was wonderfully creative and true to the music.  

hey Andy, I agree. As a musician, I would like to perform and be listened to, without dancing. But, like everyone at the CMA event, I am searching for new ways for my music to become rooted in community.


When I think of how non-commercial music might reach young people, I recall visiting my nephew's college dorm room.  His roomate had headphones on, playing an on-line video game while engaged in several simultaenous live chats.  Apparently, he locks in for hours, disconnected in this semi-dream state as media expertly push various emotional buttons without any meaningful expressive purpose.  

If only this kid would listen to music, good music, to spark his imagination and dreams! 


With today's sensory overload continuing to ramp upwards, it will take imaginative programming and presentation to bring young people to contemporary music. We can think outside the box, and like LIz Lehrman's work, be true to the art.



Sharing what we love

I was unable to attend the session, so apologize if I am covering material already discussed there in my thought offered here. I do understand the impulse to keep and build ones' audience. But let's not forget the extraordinary power of the music itself -- to make sure that is front and center in reaching out to affect the lives around us. You may have heard about the recent performance of Afternoon of a Faun done at the University of Maryland? If not, here's the link -- Prior to this performance, the community of students worked with two mentors to generate ideas based on the music itself. The result is captivating, musicians moving while playing from memory. People who were present in the audience that night have said this ranks as one of the most powerful concerts of their lives. As it happens, we had a somewhat similar experience in Juilliard's ChamberFest 2012 last January, when a group of musicians and dancers worked together to present Crumb's Eleven Echoes of Autumn. The musicians were staged in accordance with the musical structure of the score, and the dancers primarily served to light the musicians with hand-held lights as they moved. It was also an exceptionally powerful performance.

Here's another idea. I was in the audience over the weekend for a Company XIV performance in a quiet residential neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. I arrived half an hour early, intending to catch up on some reading. But when I walked in, declining the free wine that was offered at the front door (by someone who turned out to be in the cast), the performers were all arrayed around the edge of the performance space in front of mirrors, warming up, putting on makeup, adjusting clothing, getting ready, with an exuberant swing band track loudly playing overhead. It was so captivating to just sit there and watch the "backstage" in front of us -- almost as if we had arrived at a party -- that I never did get to my reading. It was a memorable way to start the performance, which comprised an early-music instrumental quartet, a vocal trio, dancers and live video elements. The performance was sold-out, something I understand is par for the course for this group.


Thanks to everyone for coming

I appreciate the effort that everyone made to be at the discussion. I was very impressed by the turnout.

Community is absolutely central to any discussion about connecting artists with audiences. In my job as a presenter, I have a responsibility to develop deep understanding of the communities we are trying to serve. I also have to develop deep understanding about the artists we present. Those two factors are essential to make a successful connection. I can then make a variety of cases to the audience about why they should come. And I can also explain to the artist the context for the performance and other things that might help them relate to the audience.

There is no magic approach. I try to develop projects organically in order to stay true to the art and community.


Finding your audience

I was not so sanguine about the conversation and hope that we can look for seriously looking at the issue of expanding to new audience members while continuing to satify and service our present patrons.

I was interested in what Limor was doing at the Met but concerned that she will hear some dissention from people who have come to expect a different produce from the Museum. I want to know how she handles her decision to make a major change in character of the series and I think of other colleagues (like Fred Sherry) who have made efforts to, for instance, introduce more contemporary music into a conventional series.

I think we also have to understand what our newer audiences want from an evening out, from an event for which they need to spend money.  I know that "institutional environments" like a concert hall and an opera house, are no longer attractions.  Ive heard this from my friends in their 20's who are into the arts but not into Lincoln Center. 

What attractions do we need to add, or bring out, that dont negate what we really want to do and pull in people who may well love what we have to offer? 

Often people talk about interractive events.  Here is the problem.  Listening to a Beethoven quartet IS interactive, however the interactivity is the performers putting out ideas organized by Beethoven.  The audience listens to those ideas, makes sense of them and has an emotional, philosophical and intellectual response to them.  They dont clap their hands, they dont dance with their bodies.  They travel in their minds.

SO, this doesnt seem to be an easy sell anymore.  And this is a serious challenge for us.

There are so many questions to ask.  Im hoping that the answers we get are not ones that suggest that this glorious period of music as a powerful event is ebbing I ebb away!