Friday, June 22, 2007

If you called your dad, he could stop it all

A.C. Douglas points us to the multimedia symposium, though, I have no idea what it really is, Engaging art: a public conversation.

Listen: my Blogger profile isn't kidding, I am 21. What do you want to know about young people? I spend quite a bit of time with them. Most of them can't be forced into a concert hall, even with the promise of slightly overpriced booze in the lobby before the show. Why waste money shooting at a target that isn't even in the same county, much less nearby? Orchestras would be wise to scrap the expensive "outreach" programs and multimedia extravaganzas, spending the money on important things like new sets of scores, recording equipment, and guest conductors.

The last time I was in Chicago for the CSO, there were plenty of young people. Now, there were the typical "hot date" couples (though why you'd want to hear Pierre Boulez conduct Mahler's 7th on a hot date, unless you're a musicology student with a thing for either Mahler or Boulez is beyond me), but there were as many young people who looked serious and interested in what was happening on stage. These people are the people you need to keep coming back, and only challenging and intelligent programming will do that. Laser light shows will get families of four, for one show. That's not enough to do anything except maybe turn the lights on in a pretty-empty house, the serious patrons having been driven away by the pablum.

No, the people who want to do something about their audiences for classical shows should start appealing to people who want to go. Those people are the only ones who can do anything about this. They're the ones more likely than not to attend multiple concerts and care about the music, beyond the "The World's Most [adjective] Classical Music" compilation snippets they've heard. The rest? They'll either catch up or continue being satisfied with Brooks and Dunn's cover of B.W. Stevenson's "My Maria." Either way, everyone should be happy.


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