“Rebranding” classical music for contemporary culture

Posted on: December 20, 2010

In Saturday’s (12/18) Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan writes, in the final article in a three-part series about the future of orchestras, “Somehow, the world of opera, symphony orchestras and chamber music has come to be seen by much of the general public as staid, stodgy and just plain passé. In some ways, its reputation as démodé is deserved. … But on the other hand, classical music, a centuries-old form that can soaringly celebrate the human spirit and piercingly evoke life’s ugliness, does not always get a fighting chance. … To use today’s marketing parlance, classical music needs to rebrand itself. … With a beaming smile, a flying mass of curly hair and an electrifying stage presence, the 29-year-old [Gustavo Dudamel] has captivated Los Angeles Philharmonic audiences—with every concert he has conducted in his first two seasons as music director sold out. … ‘Gustavo was a really hot property and, so, everyone had this inclination that he was this rock star,’ said Shana Mathur, [Los Angeles Philharmonic] vice president of marketing and communications. ‘But if you market him like a rock star, is that going to burn out really quickly, especially with the true classical music lovers? Is that too much hype? We really had to find a balance between what would excite new people and also what [would] be authentic to who he is.’ ”

Posted December 20, 2010