Classic Music, a Beer and a Chat
Posted on October 22, 2010
Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent of the London Evening Standard writes “Live classical music must change if it is to attract younger audiences, research reveals today”.
What is needed is a less formal concert atmosphere, chats about the music from the conductor and cheap ticket prices that include a free beer.
A study was conducted of people aged 24 to 36 as they attended concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in one of its Night Shift performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The feedback shows how alienated young people feel by traditional concerts and how they blame their own lack of knowledge when they fail to enjoy the music.
The exception was the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment which has created its rules-free concerts, the Night Shift, complete with student tickets that cover the price of a beer.
Concerts are introduced by the conductor to put the music in context and audiences are encouraged to applaud when they like instead of following the convention of not clapping between movements.
Supporters include DJ Goldie who had his first classical piece performed at last year’s Proms.
Melissa Dobson, of The Journal of New Music Research, said: “If information is embedded in the concert format, pitched at the right level and done in a way which creates a rapport with the players, a younger audience can really appreciate live classical music.”
William Norris, of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, said its Night Shift audience was four-fifths under-35 and a third students.
“There are more than 40 orchestras in the UK and 10 in London but they are all offering just one product – the traditional concert. Without an alternative, audiences won’t grow.”