Turning younger audiences into classical music’s faithful

Posted on: February 2, 2010

In the February 8 issue of The New Yorker, Alex Ross writes, “In November, the National Endowment for the Arts released the latest installments of its Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which has been appearing every five years since 1982. … The survey, whose results have been further refined in a report by the League of American Orchestras, indicates that the number of people who venture out to classical performances in a given year has been declining for almost three decades, and that such people are getting steadily older. … Although a smaller portion of the population is heading out to concerts, those who do go are going more often: orchestras reported a slight rise in total attendance between 2003 and 2007. The challenge is to bring younger generations into this shrinking but strongly committed cohort. Marketing will not be enough; a deeper transformation is required. … In 2008, Justin Kantor and David Handler, two classical musicians in their late twenties, opened a club called (Le) Poisson Rouge, on the site of the storied old Village Gate, on Bleecker Street. … You can’t match the intimacy of such a space in a large venue, but a few scenic changes might make the concert hall a more alluring, more deeply musical place: you could move the program notes online, have an articulate spokesperson comment on each piece, bring down the houselights, and put the spotlight on the musicians, where it belongs.” New Yorker subscribers can view the abstract and the full article by clicking here.

Posted February 2, 2010