What makes a concert interesting…

What makes a concert interesting…


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2022

… is the subject of a new research project in Berlin.

Here’s what you need to know:

Experimental Concert Research focuses on the scientific measurement of the concert experience. An international group of researchers has set itself the task of using empirical-experimental methods in a large-scale series of experiments to examine which parameters of the concert ritual are paramount to the audience’s concert experience.

This question will be examined in the setting of actual concerts using a multi-method research design. In different concerts, computer-assisted pre-and post-surveys, as well as physiological measurements and video recordings for the analysis of movement data will be used to investigate the following questions: What do people experience in a concert? Why does music move, excite and affect us? And how can the concert of the future be made more attractive?

The series experiment will be held in April and May 2022 in the Radialsystem and the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin. The concert series will feature renowned musicians such as Alban Gerhardt and Baiba Skride.


Watch an explanatory video here.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Marcel Duchamp: ‘All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting the inner qualifications and thus adds his contributions to the creative act. This becomes even more obvious when posterity gives its final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists.’

    In classical music the situation is a little more complex. Divide “the artist” into composers and performers , and the conclusion applies even more than in the plastic arts. In classical music the esthetical experience in the brains of the audience is what remains of the music art work. However, there are also good and less good performers, and some performers with fanatical supporters surely interacts with the audience in a more intensive way by default in a way that is less related to “classical music” than we want to recognize (do not forget that “music” is also dance and rituals – rituals in all senses, from religious to mating).

    That research gives lots to think about.

  • Micaela Bonetti says:

    Aahhhh, what I need to scientifically know???

    “Von Herzen, möge es wieder, zu Herzen gehen!”

  • justsaying says:

    Somehow I doubt these research protocols are designed to account for the most important variables, i.e. the musical content of the works played and inherent interest of the the performers’ interpretations.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    They’d all have to look up from their phones first.

  • RW2013 says:

    Is this like the new NYT critic trying to “demystify” classical music?