style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>(Another of my occasional posts about classical music publicity and promotion.
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>(Another of my occasional posts
about classical music publicity and promotion.It’s so often done badly, with flyers, posters, and press releases
that don’t say a thing. How can we do it better?)
I don’t know Laura Seay. But I
admire her a lot. She’s a viola student at Juilliard, and gave a recital a
month or so ago, joined by three other musicians, all Korean or
Korean-American. (Not hard to do at Juilliard, with its heavy Asian
And so she put up flyers for the concert, advertising the show
as “Laura and the Koreans.” As if they were a band! There weren’t any other
words. But there were pictures. The first poster I saw had, very simply, a fork
and three pairs of chopsticks. The next had a photo of Laura holding
chopsticks, and the Koreans holding forks.
There were more posters, though I’ve forgotten what they
showed. But I think this was a triumph. I know that advertising isn’t really
needed for a Juilliard recital. Your friends will come, your family will come,
class=GramE>ascattering of people from the neighborhood will come
(attracted by the free admission). But some students do promotion
class=GramE>anyway,sometimes tongue in cheek, and this was the best I’ve
Why? Because it made me want to hear the
concert. Laura Seay is clearly smart, fun, and
imaginative. Maybe she plays as well as she advertises! Or maybe she doesn’t,
but at least I know she’s got some spunk. And what do I know about other
Juilliard students, who have barebones flyers, or scholarly ones?
class=GramE>Nothing at all.
class=GramE>Nothing at all.So Laura wins.
Boring footnote: Of course she violated classical music rule
31-B, which says: “The music is what matters, not the performers.” And she also
broke rule 6-J: “You have to be serious.”
Believe me, I’m horrified.
By chance, next to one of her posters was another one, which
obeyed rule 31-B. It listed (if I remember correctly) the composers the student
was going to play, with one highlight in big type: “Including the
class=SpellE>KägelstadtTrio!!” Or words to that
effect. (And maybe there were more exclamation points.) !!
class=GramE>violatesthe serious rule, I guess, but at least the flyer
focused on the music.
But who really cares? (With apologies to the student, who
might be well worth hearing.) The Kägelstadt
Trio is a Mozart piece for the dusky sound of viola, clarinet, and piano, and
sure, you might not run into it every day. But were you dying to run out and
hear it right now? I didn’t think so. (And since the flyer didn’t explain what
it was, only people who already know the piece would have been likely to
respond.) And not many people, surely, care enough about that piece to justify
the exclamation points?
But people always care about brains, imagination, and a good
sense of fun, no matter what music you play.
(Assignment for anyone who still disapproves: Design a
poster that obeys the rules, and still draw people to the concert. Then send it
to me. I’m serious. I’d love to see a poster like that.)