Orchestras adapt to economic climate, diverse audience needs

Posted on: February 5, 2013

Monday (2/4) in Mother Jones, Maggie Severns writes, “Last Friday, for the first time in months, the Minnesota Orchestra was back together again. Conductor Osmo Vänskä, a former principal clarinet who attends rehearsals in t-shirts and sometimes a Czech soccer jersey, his body swinging around vigorously from the knees, led his musicians in a rousing performance of Sibelius’s 2nd and 5th symphonies. … After the concert, the musicians parted ways in the bitter Minnesota cold to return to an equally bitter lockout that began in October, a labor dispute complicated by the orchestra’s dwindling endowment … The Minnesota Orchestra is far from alone … A weak economy, compounding the longstanding challenge of a dwindling audience, have brought about a massive identity crisis in the classical music world. … ‘I don’t think people assume anymore that the generation coming up, the Millennials, will behave like the Baby Boomers did—that they’ll hit 50 and start going to concerts,’ says Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras. And orchestra attendance was falling for all age groups throughout the 2000’s, before the recession began. ‘People who like classical music now are equally likely to be big fans of world music, and dubstep, and electronica,’ Rosen says. ‘Their tastes are more eclectic so they’re not as loyal as they used to be.’ ” The article goes on to detail the ways that several orchestras are adapting successfully.

Posted February 5, 2012