I’ve been at the annual conference of the Association of British Orchestras, where I spoke on two panels, and gave one of the wrapup speeches. Very, very interesting in many ways, which I’ll blog about in the next few days. Among the things to talk about:
the informal dress of the Northern Sinfonia, which I heard play
the lack (as I was told) of older musicians in British orchestras
the tone of a conference — and of an orchestral scene — where government subsidies are still the mainstay of orchestra funding, and therefore trustrees (people from boards of directors) don’t play a major role
some striking initiatives to support new music, taken by the London Symphony and the London Sinfonietta, and unlike anything I know of in the US
some even more striking research on the new music audience, far beyond anything I’ve seen in the US, and successfully put into practice to draw people to new music performances at two major venues, the Barbican in London and The Sage Gateshead in Newcastle (well, really Gateshead, Newcastle’s twin city — hope I’m not treading on any sensitive toes by how I’m stating this…) This research completely supports everything I’ve been saying about younger audiences, though I’m thrilled to see how much further they’ve taken their studies.
More to come.