Carnegie Hall’s ideal concertgoers

Carnegie Hall’s ideal concertgoers


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2021

Don’t blame us.

It’s a promo photo the hall has just posted.

Serously, though – red bow-tie and green hankie? Red bow-tie at all? Is his 1971?

And that phone in the hand – so 2011


And no masks?




  • Alviano says:

    Looks like a pre-tied bow tie.

  • Wurm says:

    … and both of them privileged middle class white people! where is the diversity?

  • gimel says:

    1) It’s for Christmas! Give the guy a break. They’re having a little fun, matching outfits, a night out to see the lights on Fifth Avenue… Geez, don’t be such a Gringe.

    2) I give them this: they’re being HONEST, that IS the patronage of Carnegie Hall, that IS the face and look of the typical audience member.

    3) Better than hiring a PR firm to go up to Harlem to take rando pictures and claim they are life long classical music fans.

  • gimel says:

    I meant “grinch” (obviously)

  • John Borstlap says:

    Red bowtie and green hankie demonstrate the untamed subversiveness underneath the reassuring surface of the white suprematist NY middleclass. The phone in the hand shows that the possibility of a boring program will be compensated, it’s a safety measure.

  • Ich bin Ereignis says:

    It’s all about image, social status and utter superficiality, as opposed to substance, education and culture. Long gone are the days when concert programs included actual excerpts from the score, because the audience was actually expected to be able to read it — such as for instance, the program booklet for Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, with commentary and extensive musical analysis by Alban Berg, copies of which can still be found (the full version is the Grosse Ausgabe). Nowadays, one goes to the concert hall no longer to nourish the soul, but to display one’s social standing and essentially follow a pre-made script dictated by soulless and clueless deciders whose vision is closer to that of a market analyst rather than an actual artistic leader, since their one and only priority is the bottom line. These administrators are often chosen by clueless boards who themselves have no musical appreciation nor education and who are there, too, in order to feel somewhat relevant and get a nice dose of narcissism in the process. No wonder the entire industry is experiencing a slow and painful decline.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The message is clear: you may dress as a nerd and have your cellulars on.

  • With New York rents and ticket prices, they can only afford to shop for clothes at Goodwill.

  • Emily Post says:

    The woman looks underdressed. Show some respect for the arts.

  • V.Lind says:

    What world do they think these people return to after their concert — Mayfield, where they live next door to the Cleavers? In the 50s? If ever I saw Eisenhower voters written all over people it’s this pair.

    So Carnegie’s ideal patron is utterly, utterly square? Maybe s/he is, but isn’t promotional literature meant to appeal to a WIDER audience? Oh, hang on, this IS outreach. Carnegie’s usual audience is a good 30 years older than this pair. This is a youth initiative.

    They must have had to dig deep into someone’s costume box to kit this pair out, and haul some ageing hairdresser out of retirement to do her hair.

    Maybe this is aimed at Jersey, to try to cash in on those who will be confused by the rebranding of their orchestra (or who just want to find an alternative to NJSO. not just NJS, because it’s in — gulp — Newark!).

    But, as someone much older than those two throwbacks, a sighting of them on a poster would be a a signal to me that this was an activity to be avoided as assiduously as a Cats screening.

  • PaulD says:

    They are the ideal customers for classical music – they’re young.

  • TubaMinimum says:

    I know you are restlessly refreshing Instagram waiting for Yuja’s next post, but giving catty commentary on some audience member’s outfit who was photographed for some event photo on social media is low and without any news value.

  • caranome says:

    Classic image of trust fund babies (Biff n Chauncy) who are groomed (Carnegie hopes) to be next-generation donors to prop up the hall. Until they put up an image of a black couple on the front covers, all this talk of DIE is just empty virtue signaling.

  • Jay says:

    Perhaps one focus is on those who can do things like rent out the hall, as the photo suggests.

  • Monsoon says:

    Well, still not as bad as that year when they had images of Rolex time pieces all over their website because they were a corporate sponsor.

  • BobS says:

    What’s this ? Fired the house photographer as well ? Costs too much to use the real background ?

  • Michael Varcoe-Cocks says:

    The green silk handkerchief clearly picks up quite subtly – the flecks of green in the bow-tie! It was never fashionable (actually considered rather common and vulgar) for the colour of the pocket handkerchief to be the same as that of the tie (bow tie or conventional tie). The perfect, safe and elegant solution is just to use a white handkerchief.

  • Nijinsky says:

    sum pea-pull jus haff’2 aht-Fürst-ease dare strap on commitments…

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Looks alright to me.

  • Kenny says:

    He’s definitely wearing someone else’s shirt and jacket, too. I assume also the pants.l

    What an idiotic idea, especially these days. Masks would have been clever, at least.

  • Wait A Minute. says:

    Why would Slippedisc, a website that informs and supports classical music, want to act like a bully towards patrons of the arts? Red tie and green hankie: maybe this was at a holiday event? And perhaps the photo was taken some years ago pre-COVID, hence the lack of masks.

    No matter what the circumstances of the photo, I am dismayed that any adult– especially one who runs a website with a significant voice in classical music– would demean the appearance of the people in this photo.

  • Eli Rosen says:

    Nice couple.