Concertgebouw: Two thirds of audience did not demand money back

Concertgebouw: Two thirds of audience did not demand money back


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2020

The Liverpool conductor Vasily Petrenko is holding open conversations with major players in the classical world on his Facebook page.

In a stark and sober chat, the Concertgebouw chief Simon Reinink disclosed his surprise that two-thrids of ticket buyers have not demanded their money back, either donating the ticket or accepting a voucher.

His prognosis, though, is grim. Reinink acknowledges that the over-70s who form a large part of the classical audience will not return until there is a Covid-19 vaccine or the virus has abated. He also warns of a coming recession that will cause major sponsors to desert.

Watch here:


  • Pelleas says:

    Concertgebouw uses dishonest tactics. They hide the refund option on their website. Unless you enable refund using link hidden at the bottom of the page, you can only donate the money or get a voucher. Trying to take advantage of their customers.

    • Anarhimik says:

      True, the first time I made a mistake myself but then you can request a change of option

      • Gian Antonio says:

        In Italy refound is not even an option, it’s either voucher or donation, and it seems like many are doing donations. Personally I have 3 season passes, one of the Teatro Regio in Turin, the Rai National Symphony Orchestra and the chamber music season for Unione Musicale, and I’m donating all of them, but I must admit I have very cheap seats.

    • annnon says:

      Short sighted corporate strategem, you can only cheat your customers once, then they don’t come back.

    • Jack says:

      We were happy to donate the cost of our tickets for our Friends of Chamber Music and Symphony series. God knows they need it. So glad to hear the Concertgebouw experienced something similar.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Good for you. But why should a low paid worker who has lost his/her job and has a family donate the ticket price so that the well-paid soloist or conductor get paid?

  • Rob says:

    Why are people concerned about money?

    The Governments/banks are printing money out of thin air to keep the counterfeit economy going.

  • SoCal Dan says:

    In my case, I had purchased tickets to 19 opera performances and classical music concerts scheduled for March 2020 through the end of the summer. All have been cancelled.

    All of the tickets have been donated back to the performing arts organizations. Their total donated value exceeds $2,600. Recipients include the primary opera companies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix and Santa Fe, and the principal symphony orchestras in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County.

    In calendar year 2019, I made cash donations of $3,300 to performing arts and related organizations. I’m on track to make at least the same level of cash donations for calendar year 2020.

    Yes, I understand that not everyone has the same set of financial resources. Some have more, and some have less. But let’s all do what we can to help.

  • Evan Tucker says:

    Does this mean Vasily Petrenko is in talks to be the Concertgebouw’s next director?

    It’s truly the Age of the Petrenkos….

  • Catherine Martin says:

    Really great that people are being so generous, but I wonder if any of this money will go to the artists whose concerts have been cancelled?

  • Farce Majeure says:

    Norman, there’s a serious point to be made here in an investigative post. So many of those generous people who are not claiming refunds are under the impression that they are also helping the artists. Well, I can tell you that freelance artists who had been booked my those same organizations (festivals, orchestras etc.) are not getting a single phone call from any of them offering even a cent of their fees. It’s just force majeure, end of story. They are completely discarded, and their incomes are down to zero for the foreseeable future. In fact, the word is that some promoters are having their bonanza season off the back of those force majeure clauses, because they have sold tickets but don’t have a payroll to honor. This is going to brew into quite a scandal, and artists are too afraid to say anything because they don’t want to lose favor with those who invite them. Power games. Of course, this only emboldens the organizations to do nothing. It’s disgraceful. Once again, the artist is on the bottom of the pile. But they will not stay quiet for long.