Orchestras feel economic pinch, rethink public perception

Posted on: April 8, 2011

Thursday (4/7) on the ABC News website, Matt Phifer writes about the Syracuse Symphony’s recent bankruptcy filing and notes financial troubles at the Honolulu Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony. “According to the National Endowment for the Arts, in the last 25 years paid concert attendance at classical music events has been dropping. There was a 20 percent drop between 2002 and 2008. … Judith Kurnick, vice president for strategic communications for the League of American Orchestras, cites one reason for the change in public taste: the cutting of arts programs in schools. … Kurnick is quick to point out that not all orchestras are struggling to fill their auditoriums. In fact, in some cities like San Francisco and Milwaukee, paid attendance is up. ‘Orchestras are learning that it’s not just about going out and selling tickets,’ she said. ‘It’s about creating a sense of relationship, and I think orchestras are doing a lot more in that direction. And when that happens, I think the ticket sales and the audience kind of follow because they feel there’s an understanding of what it is that you get, that the music making is a way of bringing people closer together and that there’s an investment that the patron has in the experience.’ ”

Posted April 8, 2011