Orchestras adapt to local climes, seek new audiences

Posted on: January 14, 2011

In Friday’s (1/14) USA Today, Tim Evans writes, “When patrons showed up for a concert by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra last fall, they were treated to an evening far different from the typical performance. Inside a museum adjacent to the concert hall, a portable planetarium projected images of planets—the theme of the night’s event—dancing across the sky as concertgoers munched on food and sipped drinks included in the price of admission. … After the show, a local astronomy group set up telescopes outside for viewing Jupiter. The concert—a sell-out with a rare waiting list for tickets—is an example of the approaches big city orchestras are taking as they struggle to remain financially solvent in the face of flat ticket sales, escalating operating costs, falling donations and endowment funds that have not recovered from the recession. Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, said it is critical for orchestras to find ways to engage new audiences and build additional revenue streams while keeping a lid on expenses. Several cities’ orchestras—including those in Albuquerque, Charlotte, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville and Tampa—are struggling financially, Rosen said, not from some broad national trend, but from primarily local forces.”

Posted January 14, 2011