How long should classical concerts run?

Posted on: March 9, 2020

“Concerts traditionally last two or three hours, a big commitment for neophytes as well as passionate regulars,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Thursday’s (3/5) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “With all of today’s cultural and entertainment options, the competitive opportunity cost for attending concerts continues to climb. My solution: Classical music concerts should be shorter…. Many local classical organizations do offer shorter programming alternatives pegged to community or family events. Why not offer similar programs to subscribers? The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has begun doing just that in summer to great success. Chamber Music Pittsburgh typically sells out its brief Pittsburgh Performs series…. ‘Experimenting with concert length is part of a broader strategy of drawing people in and providing a sort of on-ramp,’ said Lucas Held, director of communications at the Wallace Foundation, [which] has provided millions of dollars in grant money to arts organizations testing audience-building strategies…. The New World Symphony … in Miami rolled out a series of concerts years ago that ran for 30 minutes and 60-75 minutes…. ‘The question isn’t just: What music do I want to bring forth? But, what is the uncompromised artistic experience that only we can provide?’ New World Symphony President Howard Herring said.”