A seat at the table
RE “Time to Get on the Stick” [Aug. 14]: How can orchestras appeal to a younger audience and save themselves from being outmoded? How about making it possible for more than just the spectacularly rich to be able to afford to see a performance?
My 5-year-old is coming along well in her classical music appreciation, but as long as concerts continue to be sold nearly exclusively on subscription, I will never be able to afford to take her to Walt Disney Concert Hall. Without the amazing experience of hearing a symphony performed live, who knows how long she will deem Beethoven’s music relevant?
I will gladly read Mark Swed’s opinions on the quality of American symphony orchestras, but his views on how those orchestras attract audiences are naive and counterproductive.
American orchestras are kept afloat by talented marketing professionals who work hard to fill seats despite diminishing demand for their products. Having a quality orchestra to sell certainly helps, but quality playing can no more save orchestras than quality writing can save daily newspapers.
Had Swed interviewed any marketing experts for his article, he’d have learned that, without increasingly sophisticated marketing techniques, even the most thrilling concerts and scintillating lectures will play to empty halls.
O’Donnell is a marketing and sales consultant specializing in stage entertainment, performing arts and entertainment-related travel destinations.