Seattle’s classical ensembles, adapting to city’s changing economy and shifting demographics

Posted on: September 21, 2017

“Baritone Michael Heitmann sings with the Seattle Opera chorus and teaches in the opera’s education department,” writes Christy Karras in Tuesday’s (9/19) Seattle Times. “He sometimes drives for Uber.… Seattle’s tech-stoked economy ensures money for concert tickets, but it also raises the cost of living [for artists].… Seattle’s overall classical-music ecosystem is healthy, partly because groups have found ways to interest new patrons as the city has grown.… Playing the old standards to the same crowds was no longer enough; they had to get creative. ‘Seattle is a city that values innovation. Part of our strategy has been to do things that are a little bit different and take risks,’ ” said Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods. “Seattle audiences are growing, as are donor numbers.… However, as the gap between wealthy and non-wealthy residents grows and a lack of ethnic diversity persists in orchestras and audiences, organizations are also thinking about how to welcome underrepresented people. Seattle Symphony is adding six new members to its board this year, four of whom are people of color.… Seattle musicians say the future of classical music depends on making it accessible and fresh, both for longtime fans and a growing population of younger newcomers.”

Posted September 21, 2017

Pictured: The Seattle Symphony performs in the lobby of Benaroya Hall during one of the orchestra’s [untitled] series of late-night contemporary-music concerts. Photo by Ben Vanhouten