Live classical music is something tangible, honest and emotional. It can be all encompassing. Providing a sense of community beyond the shifting screens of social media.
Audience is an important word for any in the performing arts and is discussed more and more in the world of classical music. There is a fear, created partly by the traditional audiences of many concerts, that this is a dying art. Music critic Donal Henahan made the comparison between classical music and Latin, suggesting that intellectual or elitist barriers put off potential audiences. 30 years later, classical music is still a thriving, living language.
A quick look into the research of audience development for classical music left me feeling bogged down with numbers and charts. The bottom line is that regular concert goers are in the minority, but almost one third of the UK’s adult population enjoy classical mustic in some form (that’s about 6 and a half million more than the viewers of the last X Factor final).
There is a massive market for classical music. There are millions missing out on the live experience, not even including those who haven’t ‘discovered’ it yet.
It doesn’t take long to see that there are so many music lovers looking to share and it is people who affect others and their experience. According to research by the Welsh National Opera, 43% of attenders did so for the first time as a result of being taken by someone else. Of course I’m not suggesting that we drag friends, kicking and screaming, into the 2 hour ‘promming’ queues but why not share? While an appreciation is often developed over time, live classical music can be an remarkable human experience for anyone. Most of us wouldn’t think twice of getting a group of friends to go see a pub band on a Friday night, there is no reason why classical music can’t be the same.
Getting to the gigs…
Being a young adult, student or child may put you in the minority at many orchestral concerts but Student Pulse are making it that bit easier for London students.
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment have rewritten the rules of concert going and are attracting new audiences with their fantastic and relaxed pub performances.
There are always cheap seats and brilliant free resources to break into the world of classical (such as BBC Ten Pieces and ClassicFM).