I’m often asked to support things out in the classical music world — causes, performances, projects, groups, crowdfunding campaigns. And I almost always don’t do it, because when these requests get numerous, they could overwhelm both me and the blog. And diminish whatever force my support might have.
This is an organization I’ve underestimated. Maybe not entirely my fault, because I think they could do more to tell their story. But after their founder Sam Bodkin reached out to me, and I spent two lively hours with him in NYC this week, I’m firmly in their camp.
What they do
You might already know what they do, since they’re famous for it. Classical music houseparties, for younger people who don’t normally listen to classical music. With, from all that I’ve heard, tumultuous, happy results.
But what I didn’t know is how big they are. They’ve been in 21 cities, 16 in the US, and five abroad. In not all of them have they kept active, but that’s in part because the need funding to pump up what they do.
Still, they’ve kept going in 12 cities, with thousands of people coming. In New York, 20 Groupmuses in the last month! Same in Boston. Getting toward that in San Francisco. Less elsewhere, but they’re growing. And even their one-time presence elsewhere (London, Berlin, Seoul, Sao Paolo) shows how far they can go.
Hence Kickstarter. Read their vivid pitch!
The campaign started yesterday, and already they’ve raised more than half their $100,000 goal.
But why should they — or we — stop at $100,000? They need every dollar we can give them.
Because this is really a revolution in classical music. Don’t think of it only as a way to bring new people in. From everything I’ve heard (not only from Sam), it’s a revolution in what a classical performance feels like. Which is crucial a thousand times for finding and keeping a new young audience. (I’ll be going to one in DC, to see it myself.)
So this is crucial for our entire field. We could talk a lot about synergies between Groupmuse and the big classical music institutions. Ticket promotions (discount big-org tix for Groupmuse members), mailing list exchanges, making Groupmuse part of big-org reaching out to younger people.
But the biggest, most revolutionary, most important synergy would be making the big-org performances more like Groupmuse! In my view, that’s where we have to go to keep classical music flourishing.
And Groupmuse — which already has done a few special big performances — can strongly help.
I don’t mean to slight the many others doing great things with young audiences. But Groupmuse has a wide reach, and explosive growth and consistency, that right now make them stand out.