As reported in the Evening Standard today, research at concerts by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Chamber Orchestra shows that younger audiences are put off attending traditional concerts.
A survey of people aged between 24 – 36 showed that they feel alienated by concerts. With cuts to the Arts Council of 30% announced today, it’s getting more and more difficult for orchestras, ensembles and arts organisations in general to survive. Classical music needs to find ways to re-invent itself in order to continue, and the format of presenting music in traditional concert settings also needs adapting, if younger audiences in particular – the Ticket-Buyers of Tomorrow – are to be drawn in through venue doors.
The OAE has created the ‘Night Shift,’ concerts where audiences are encouraged to clap when they feel moved to do so, rather than waiting until the end of a piece, and ticket-prices are student-friendly and include the cost of a beer.
I’ve written before about expected audience behaviour at concerts, both in terms of applause and in terms of amplification and accessibility for younger audiences more used to rock gigs. Whilst there will always be a place for traditional symphonic concerts, there’s space as well for a more flexible and creative approach to concert programming and attracting new audiences to concerts.
And beer as well: now that’s an idea…