Orchestras engage audiences with texting

Posted on: May 18, 2009

In Saturday’s (5/16) New York Times, Stephanie Clifford writes, “Cellphones are hardly applauded in concert halls, where it’s considered gauche to have them turned on, much less to pull them out during a performance. So at a recent Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concert of classics like Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 5, it was a little surprising when the conductor instructed audience members to take out their phones. Symphony administrators had decided to let the audience choose the encore by text-messaging votes: ‘A’ for Aaron Copland‘s ‘Hoedown,’ or ‘B’ for Wagner’s prelude to Act III of ‘Lohengrin.’ (‘Hoedown’ won by 23 votes.)” The orchestra is hoping to engage a younger audience by offering more interactivity. “The New York Philharmonic began asking audience members to text-message votes for encores at last summer’s concerts in New York City parks. It will repeat the project this summer. … In at least one case, mobile technology has been part of a director’s message. Gina Crusco, the artistic director of the Underworld Productions Opera Ensemble, asked audience members at a recent production at Symphony Space in Manhattan to select which of the six main ‘Così Fan Tutte’ characters should end up together.”

Posted May 18, 2009