Here’s a comment from pianist Jeffrey Biegel, a long-time reader, on my “Who’s Your Audience?” post. I’m putting it out front on the blog, for all to see. And there’s not a word i’d want to add. Thanks, Jeffrey!
I am so happy to see this topic–I have waited more than 20 years for someone to address this. Since the late 1980s, I have been actively doing what you share. While maintaining an active list of standard repertoire, always exploring neglected works and finally, commissioning new works for piano and orchestra since 1998. With the progress of technology, my job has become more adaptable, somewhat easier–no less time consuming–in reaching more and more people in the business of music, fan bases, and composers. You Tube is only one small part of the process. It is the daily interaction with many people, mostly via social networking, which brings one closer to our audiences and presenters. I have reached thousands of people this way, and the commissioning projects I have created have seen a boom in interest mostly through our technological resources. Having said that, it is still extremely important to be on telephones and personal emails to keep it personal, rather than blanketing on You Tube to the masses. People still like the personal interaction, and I was never one to just let the powers that be take care of it for me. Many years ago, it was 1988, in a visit to Lucille Ball’s home in Beverly Hills just five months before she passed, she was intrigued about the idea of how a classical pianist gets close to his/her audience. She asked, “Don’t you talk to your audience, or just step out on stage and play?” I replied that we normally play and don’t talk. Well, she flapped her hands and said, ‘well, I can’t believe that. Isn’t there a way you can talk to them first, so you can get closer to them?’ I said I do that in programs with works that require some comments beforehand. She said, ‘You should do it more often then’, which I have. There is no easy way to get close to audiences, fans etc. It requires work time and personality. believe more and more performers will take to this method of reaching out to audiences as time marches forward.