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Understanding the Dilemma Orchestras Face when trying to Balanced the Budget

There is more to orchestras balancing their books than just selling more tickets

It is hardly news anymore to hear of an orchestra struggling to balance their budget. Atlanta musicians are locked out for the 2nd time in two years over contract negotiations - the musicians have been asked to take yet another pay cut. The Philadelphia Orchestra declared bankruptcy a couple of years ago. Colorado Symphony has been operating with a deficit for years. These are not isolated examples.

When ever the news reports the demise of an orchestra, there are a half dozen articles that pop up to discussing what changes need to be made in order for orchestras to be profitable again:

- raise ticket prices to cover costs
- lower ticket prices to get more people into the concert hall
- program new music
- program old music
- attract a younger audience
- better leverage the existing audience (particularly the donor base)
The list goes on and on, yet the real problem is: based on the type of orchestra, the…

Boston Symphony Orchestra Introduces First-Ever Tanglewood Lawncast on July 11

A new technology pilot program offering up to 500 lawn patrons exclusive digital media content while listening to an All-Dvořák program led by BSO Music Director Designate Andris Nelsons On July 11, during an all-Dvořák BSO concert under the direction of BSO Music Director Designate Andris Nelsons, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will introduce the first-ever Tanglewood Lawncast, a unique, technology-enhanced lawn experience, offering participating patrons access to exclusive digital media content—program notes, performer interviews, and additional camera feeds—via their smartphones and tablets. The Tanglewood Lawncast pilot program will take place on a specifically designated area of the lawn outside of the Koussevitzky Music Shed, with space to accommodate up to 500 patrons with lawn tickets. Patrons interested in participating in the program can register at www.tanglewood.org/lawncast, with availability determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

July 11 Tangelwood Lawncast prog…

Why are people under 40 not in your concert hall?

Symphonies are becoming increasingly aware that the average age of their patrons and ticket buyers are aging, with no real increase in getting a younger generation of symphony goers to replace them. Why??? It comes down to how we communicate with this younger generation.
If your concert hall does not have people under the age of 35, it is because of the culture you have established. They do not feel comfortable in your hall and until they do, they have no desire to attend your concerts.  This is, of course, a generalization, but overall, people under the age of 35 have a few things in common that we need to be aware of in order to effectively market to them.
There are roughly 79 million Millennials in the United States—25 percent of the population. The Millennials exceed the number of Baby Boomers (often their parents) by about 3 million. They have been through two recessions: one at the beginning of the millennium, another in the great recession caused by the mortgage crisis in 2009.…

The Need for Well Rounded Students

Lou Spisto is at it again, calling for well rounded students

Reblog from: Dallas Daily News

Louis Spisto Encourages Well-Rounded Education for Today’s Students
According to arts advocates like Louis Spisto, keeping arts education in schools is essential to the development of today’s students. Throughout his long career as a producer and arts executive, Spisto has led the development of community and education-based performing arts and theater programs designed to spread appreciation of the arts amongst youth.


Unfortunately, in the era of school budget cuts, arts education is almost always one of the primary targets. Schools nationwide are trimming arts programs, and students are no longer learning to appreciate music, visual and performing arts. This is worrying to Louis Spisto and many others in the art community.


“The argument for arts education is robust for so many reasons, regardless of how strict budgetary limitations become,” says Lou Spisto.


According to a report by Americans f…

Social Media’s Role in the Performing Arts with Arts Expert Lou Spisto

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repost from: advisories.com

While great performers and performances will always be central to why people attend live arts events, experts like Lou Spisto (with nearly three decades of experience in the arts world) believe that social media is becoming an important player for audience engagement and possible growth in overall attendance. Social media’s influence seems to be everywhere and the 2014 Academy Awards may be the boldest example of this to date. Ellen DeGeneres, the host of the show and already a top figure on Twitter, broke new ground with the “impromptu” tweet of her “selfie” that included some of the world’s most well-known celebrities. It generated more than 3 million retweets. She easily surpassed the previous record holder, President Obama, who had under a million.

Although this may be an extreme example of the power of social media and a “live” event, does it auger well for the performing arts? Can social media make the opera, ballet symphony orchestra or theater event …

Family Day at the Opera

March 22, 2014 | Ellie Caulkins Opera House Lobby

Denver, CO — (February 17, 2014) In collaboration with and sponsored by Arts & Venues Denver, Opera Colorado presents Family Day at the Opera on March 22 at 10:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. This free family performance will feature anabridged production of TheBarber of Seville sung in English. Performed by Opera Colorado’s 2014 Young Artists, Family Day at the Opera features the professional production of The Barber of Seville that Opera Colorado takes directly into schools and community venues across the state of Colorado. Kevin Taylor at the Opera House will offer family-friendly refreshments and snacks available for purchase in the lobby of the Opera House. Family Day at the Opera includes a short Q&A session after the 50 minute performance, along with hands-on crafts and entertainment. Don’t miss this opportunity to bring your whole family to the Opera and experience the joy of live performance in …

Arapahoe Philharmonic Showcases Classic Traditions with Brahms and Tchaikovsky

Guest Violinist, Josiah Hamill, Winner of 2014 Concerto Competition

Denver – The Arapahoe Philharmonic presents “Classic Traditions” on Friday, March 14, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. with a program featuring Johannes Brahms’ lush Symphony No. 2 and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the most popular and technical concertos for violin, with soloist Josiah Hamill, winner of the 2014 T. Gordon Parks Collegiate Concerto Competition sponsored by the orchestra. Maestro Devin Patrick Hughes conducts this fifth concert in the Philharmonic’s 60th Anniversary Season at Mission Hills Church, 620 SouthPark Drive, Littleton. Hughes and Charley Samson, Colorado Public Radio classical music host and Arapahoe Philharmonic emcee, will give a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. discussing the program. Tickets are $25 (adults), $20 (seniors), and $5 (students/children) and are available online at www.arapahoe-phil.org, by phone at 303-781-1892 or at the door.


Each Arapahoe Philharmonic concert also pro…

Massive Mid-Century Masterpieces Link Two Modern Composers: John Cage & Olivier Messiaen Shared Their Piano Cycles in Paris

Dedicated Proponents, Pianists Adam Tendler & Christopher Taylor Will Reveal the Intricacies of These Linked Works in a Pair of Linked Concerts at Jacaranda Music’s February 22nd Mid-Century Modern Program


Jacaranda's 10th anniversary season continues on Saturday, February 22, 2014 with a dinner break — a break that separates the performances of two 20-movement mid-twentieth-century masterworks by John Cage and Olivier Messiaen. Each cycle is played by an American pianist with whom the music has become synonymous: Adam Tendler and Christopher Taylor, respectively. The consecutive concerts (Tendler at 5:00 p.m. and Taylor at 7:30 p.m.) will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

Jacaranda’s first decade gave extensive attention to the centenaries of Messiaen (1908-92) and Cage (1912-89). As a nod to that legacy, artistic director Patrick Scott chose for the 10th anniversary two works for solo piano that link the comp…

Kronos Quartet 40th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall, March 28

World Premiere by Terry Riley

NY Premiere by Philip Glass Special Guests: Bryce Dessner, Wu Man, Jherek Bischoff, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, + Musicians from Face The Music

As a highlight of its 40th anniversary season,Kronos Quartettakes the stage in Carnegie Hall’s fabled Stern Auditorium onFriday, March 28 at 8 pm. The one-night-only concert features a world premiere byTerry Riley, and boasts a stellar array of guest artists.ComposerBryce Dessnerof The National will play electric guitar onAheym, the title piece from his acclaimed new Anti- CD of works written for Kronos. Pipa virtuosoWu Man, a frequent partner, will be heard in the New York premiere ofPhilip Glass’sOrion: China. Protean indie-rock composerJherek Bischoffjoins in on electric bass forA Semiperfect Number, which he premiered with Kronos last July at Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

Spotlighting Kronos’s commitment to mentoring young artists, the program also includes appearances by theBrooklyn Youth Chorusand musicians fromFa…

American Composers Forum Announces Finalists in National Composition Contest

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left to right: Michael Laurello, Todd Lerew, Kristina Warren

Three student composers are chosen from 250+ applicants
In partnership with the acclaimed new music ensemble So Percussion, the American Composers Forum is pleased to announce the finalists in the 2014 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest: Michael Laurello (Yale School of Music), Todd Lerew (CalArts), and Kristina Warren (University of Virginia). Each finalist will receive a cash prize and be asked to compose an eight- to ten-minute piece for So Percussion. The resulting pieces will be workshopped with the finalists in residence, and premiered by So Percussion on July 20 at Princeton University, as part of the So Percussion Summer Institute 2014. One of the works will be chosen to receive the final prize, which includes an additional cash award and future public performances by So Percussion.


The National Composition Contest is open to composers currently enrolled in graduate and undergraduate institutions i…

Yo-Yo Ma Applauds Oscar Nomination of Morgan Neville’s Documentary 20 Feet from Stardom

Boston, MA – Jan. 16, 2013 – Delighted to hear of the Oscar nomination of Morgan Neville’s documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma said: “What I love most about 20 Feet from Stardom is how deeply Morgan Neville examined the preconditions of creativity. He showed us how the giants stand on the shoulders of the artists whose stories he told."


Morgan Neville is currently directing The Sound of Silk, a documentary about the musicians in the Silk Road Ensemble. Brought together by the Silk Road Project, which was founded in 1998 under the artistic direction of Ma, the Ensemble has featured members from more than 20 countries, performed in 119 cities in 30 countries, generated more than 80 new works, recorded 60 pieces of music, and just released its fifth CD, A Playlist Without Borders.



The Silk Road Ensemble: Ascending Bird
For further information about The Sound of Silk, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pershing Square Found…

Minnesota Orchestra Returns with Two Weeks of Homecoming Concerts

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (January 17, 2014)—The Minnesota Orchestra today announced plans for two weeks of homecoming concerts February 7 through 15, offering audiences the first chance to hear the ensemble perform in the renovated Orchestra Hall. The Orchestra’s return begins February 7 and 8 with a pair of historic concerts led by the ensemble’s eminent Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, highlighted by Beethoven’s heroic Third Symphony and Skrowaczewski’s own powerful orchestration of Bach’s D-minor Toccata and Fugue—the work that opened the first concert at Orchestra Hall in 1974. French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier continues the musical homecoming February 14 and 15 with a set of Valentine’s weekend concerts that includes an all-British program of Holst’s popular The Planets and Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the latter featuring virtuoso soloist Steven Isserlis.


All concerts begin at 8 p.m., and all are preceded by a free public open house at Orchestra Hall, with doors opening at 4 p.…