From Jon Farley in Britain (and posted here with his permission) comes something worth thinking about. Jon says, “I studied music at school and though I loved the music I found the stuffiness overbearing.” And then this:
I went to a [classical] concert last week and the thing that struck me was that nobody talked to the audience and that’s really weird! I listen to a wide variety of music and it’s only the classical world that does this. Even a hello, how are you? would do. I went to a contemporary music concert the next night – completely different with the organiser/performer/composer introducing the concert, performers or composers introducing pieces and you could chat to them in the interval. It made a huge amount of difference. Having performed myself – mostly as a singer – I find connecting with the audience vital and I know that’s done mostly through the music but a little talking never hurt. The concerts were all part of a festival trying to bring a wide range of music from classical to contemporary to you name it to a wider and younger audience with some success. Have a look at http://www.fuseleeds.org.uk/ for more info.
People don’t always believe me when I say that a younger audience wants things the existing (older) audience doesn’t ask for. So here’s one more piece of evidence that they do.
And now please follow that link. You’ll find the website for a festival in Leeds (in the UK) that looks just wonderful—and which brings together pop music and new classical music, mostly of the outside-the-concert-hall variety. I’ve noted the natural link between those two worlds before, and this is an exceptionally stunning example. Too bad the festival (according to Jon) is held only every other year.
Does everybody realize what credibility classical music institutions would have with that younger audience everybody talks about, if they organized something like this? Doesn’t matter whether they normally put on events like this or not. And in fact if they don’t normally go in this direction, they’d help themselves even more with a younger audience if they’d try it.