Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Attempts at Getting a Younger Audience

Classical music organizations have tried a lot of way to get younger people into their performances, but the Utica Symphony is attempting something that doesn't seem to make much sense. On April 11th, they will "Come Together" with a Jeans n' Classics at the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica NY to play the music of The Beatles in celebration of the orchestra’s 75th anniversary.

“Everybody loves The Beatles,” Ensign said. “It will be interesting to see the diversity of the audience.” Ensign said the orchestra expects the turnout to be double or triple its usual crowd.

Hmmmm - Get a younger audience by playing the Beatles. I'm fourty-six and I'm young to really remember the Beatles. Yes, I know lots of people younger than me who enjoys the Beatles music, but none of them are people I consider "younger", all of them ranging from thirty and older.

Having said that, yes, the Beatles do have an appeal. The film "Beyond the Universe" is an interesting film using the Beatles music somewhat like "Mamma Mia!" uses the music of ABBA. The people who loved the film, love Beatles music (and perhaps visa versa), but "Beyond the Universe" was hardly the success of "Mamma Mia!" Numerous instore music companies provide "easy listening" music which often features Beatles music, but that hardly bodes well for creating a "young" audience.

Maybe what this orchestra is trying to do is "youngER" audience, with people less than in their sixties. OK, that said, perhaps they will get more people into their 75th Anniversary concert. I hope so. I just rather think they aren't necessarily going to get the audience of an age they expect.

Now, if they were to perform a collection songs by of U2, Coldplay or even the Rolling Stones (who are older but still going). Lee Johnson has written a Grateful Dead Symphony, but again they tend to appeal to the older "young" crowd. There is Madonna, Sting and Michael Jackson who are more familiar to the youth of today than the Beatles. I think it's a great idea - it just wasn't really thought through if what the Utica Symphony wants in a young audience.

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