Choices, choices: wooing audiences with different concert start times

Posted on: August 6, 2018

“More than a few Philadelphia concertgoers this fall may inadvertently walk in well after the curtain has gone up if they don’t take care to look at their tickets,” writes Peter Dobrin in Friday’s (8/3) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society is moving the start time for 38 of its 50 concerts a half-hour earlier, to 7:30 p.m. Other groups are also tweaking times.… PCMS polled its listeners … 70 percent said they preferred a 7:30 start time…. The now-fading norm of 8 p.m. wasn’t always the norm…. A look at Philadelphia Orchestra program booklets from the ‘60s shows that 8:30 evenings and 2 p.m. Fridays were still standard. By the 1976-77 season, there were those times, and a 7:30 Tuesday had slipped in…. But won’t listeners show up for concerts no matter when the downbeat comes? ‘No,’ says Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. ‘There is probably enough research out there that says there are a number of barriers of a practical nature … and all of these factors have a bearing on the audience experience.… People are trying out a lot of different things, and times of concerts is certainly one of them.’ ”

Posted August 6, 2018

In photo: The Kimmel Center of Performing Arts’ Perelman Theater, home to performances by ensembles including the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Orchestra