Tackling declining subscriptions with fresh ideas

Posted on: October 14, 2014

In Friday’s (10/10) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini reports on recent trends in subscriptions at orchestras. Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda, “one of the most innovative arts administrators in the business, said that within her institution, everyone has been operating under the assumption that in 10 years subscriptions will essentially be gone. Not to be flippant, but this prospect seems encouraging, at least to the part of me that has long wanted American orchestras—and opera companies and chamber ensembles, but especially orchestras—to find new ways of organizing seasons and presenting concerts.… All orchestras have been trying to grapple with what seems inevitable.… Yet this downward spiral could be salutary if it forces classical ensembles to rethink the standard seasonal format.… Orchestras might be more willing to devote larger chunks of the calendar to mini-festivals offering an array of one-time programs linked to an overall theme.” The article includes comments from New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and President and Executive Director Matthew VanBesien. “Mr. VanBesien said that orchestras could either take a defensive posture or reach out, engaging audiences in a thoroughgoing discussion of new concert templates. ‘It could be a catalyst for us.’ “

Posted October 14, 2014