California Symphony shares feedback from discussions with orchestra newcomers

Posted on: January 13, 2017

In a blog at, the California Symphony, based in Walnut Creek, posts results of a discussion it hosted in August 2016, in which orchestra newcomers shared feedback about their experiences with the orchestra. Executive Director Aubrey Bergauer writes, “We put out the call for people who should go to orchestra concerts—millennials and gen-xers that are smart, have expendable income for entertainment options, and are generally culturally aware—but for whatever reason don’t attend. The set up was simple: come to a few California Symphony concerts and then tell us about it.” The initiative was launched, Bergauer says, “with the idea that arts organizations must change the way we think about new audiences, and specifically, must change our willingness to have hard conversations about the things newcomers hate, are turned off by, or are just uninformed about.” Topics include ticket-buying options at orchestra websites; program notes; online concert calendars; orchestra diversity; and supplemental activities. Included is a bullet list of actions the orchestra is taking to address issues raised in the discussion. As for the music itself, Bergauer says the orchestra was “blown away that almost every single comment was very positive…. We’ve stopped stressing over the concert programming.”

Posted January 13, 2017