US survey: 1 in 4 concertgoers say they won’t returnNews
From the Baltimore Sun (unavailable outside the US):
A recent study by WolfBrown, a California-based consulting firm that conducts market research for nonprofit cultural groups throughout the United States, says that 26% of former orchestra attendees nationwide say they’re not yet ready to resume live performances — and many of these reluctant music lovers may never return to the concert hall.
“There’s been an atrophy in demand,” researcher Alan Brown said during a June 27 filmed briefing of results tabulated by his Audience Outlook Monitor, which analyzes monthly survey responses from 660 arts groups.
“This might be the new normal,” Brown said. “I would be very reluctant to think that things are going to get much better than they have been for the last few months.”
It’s time to bring in more rappers. Baltimore & SinPhony Present: Mahler 4th Bewitch You
Do you mean ordinary rappers or the mass shooting variety?
Most (all?) mass shootings are done by disaffecting young White men, who may in fact like rap but are generally not themselves “rappers.” But go ahead and keep at the racist stereotyping.
It was time more than 50 years ago to curb racist sentiments from all aspects of society. Rather than giving in to your basest sentiments why not try to use your clearly superior Caucasian intellect to address the actual cause(s) of the problem and propose real solutions. As of this morning the failure of a sufficient number of Americas to get fully vaccinated has resulted in the inevitable emergence of a new COVID variant which is both more infectious and less efficiently recognized by the neutralizing Abs generated by existing vaccines. Why would anyone want to attend a concert under these circumstances. No doubt the Baltimore Symphony faces additional challenges but opting to address them with pejorative spewing’s from the id merely reveal ignorance not a meaningful solution.
Did you understand the point of his comment? I’m not sure you did. Btw, rap is not a pejorative so I think blacks can handle the term being used as a metaphor for the broader popular culture, which was clearly his intent. They’ll be just fine without faux keyboard moralizers like yourself.
Didn’t you get it that rap isn’t a pejorative but the comment intended that it be regarded as if it is? Calling out racism is only faux moralizing to the trump wannabe fascist crowd.
“Didn’t you get it that rap isn’t a pejorative but the comment intended that it be regarded as if it is?”
What? Wow….that is barely literate and you sure are doing a lot of mind reading. But hey, you got four thumbs up for that! And I do want to thank you for safeguarding SlippedDisc since I know this blog is a real bastion of racists, fascists and Trump supporters….lol.
Thank you for proving my point.
Listen to the lyrics of the top 25 rap songs and 85% or more will have something offensive to somebody. Meanwhile in classicalville we’ve got protests of the terminology at the core of music theory being treated as if it were specifically designed to incite racial hatred.
The Right has its share of crazies, but the Left is tearing itself apart from within.
Thank you for proving my point.
Get yout facts straight. The new, more infectious BA4 and BA5 (but thankfully less lethal, at least due to existing immunity) Covid variants did not emerge out of the US.
Those “neutralizing” antibodies from vaccines are non neutralizing. This is why vaccinated people are spreading more infectious variants quicker and quicker. This is alsowhy vaccinated people have the most hospitalizations and deaths.Vaccine Abs crowd out natural Abs, sadly.
The infectious part is out of control. Wait when the virus breaks through to much more deadly virulence.
Comrade H always good to read your latest disinformation note. Trying to deflect from your handler’s daily war crime in Ukraine by demonstrating your ignorance of basic immunology isn’t likely to result in that free weekend in the Baltic but good try.
Your ad hominem attacks do get rather tiresome.
For those who are realizing that the mRNA shots are driving the virus mutations, please get antiviral drugs and have them ready. I’m talking vaccinated people. You’ve seen the huge spikes of covid in the highly vaccinated countries. Don’t get angry but be prepared.
My opinion is that working musicians should be saving because they’ll be out of work again. My opinion…
Pop “music” is hardly enough.
Classical music lovers yearn to hear a political lecture by the artist, invariably a woke liberal, so he/she/other must be right. Sorry, left.
Pride-agenda, the new religion of the state, must prevail, in everything, replace the official flags.
Forget the dead men, bring in the contemporary composers, female, that is.
I will be attending again on the first day of the month never.
Get woke, go broke.
This survey is inherently flawed and therefore not credible.
It focuses on traditional audiences returning, and completely ignores new reservoirs of music lovers being forged by radical, revolutionary ideas. Alexander-Muti, as usual, show us the way: by making black musicians sing “filthy n*** blood” they have captivated the imagination and secured the loyalty of black audiences, who will turn en masse to concerts in Chicago, procuring that sales growth that has been evading classical music organizations till now.
This smart approach will be adopted by all other US orchestras, once proven effective on the battlefield.
This is in line with my recent concert going experience — unfortunately.
A noticeable percentage of elderly concert goers have not returned and possibly will not return.
It’s a similar problem to a small business: that extra 10 to 20% comes after the expenses are paid. It makes up the profit, or at least for music organisations the cream.
Misleading headline aside (“these reluctant music lovers MAY never return to the concert hall”), this is obviously a major concern for all of us involved in the production and delivery of live performances. The upcoming season will have a lot to say about where we are headed. If in fact the “new normal” is +/- 70% of the old normal (which wasn’t always great to begin with), then indeed our field is headed for a serious reckoning.
Based on dozens of conversations with fellow professionals, I believe demand remains close to 100% of pre-pandemic, and most of those who’ve not yet returned would like to….provided they feel safe. So that becomes the key question. And with continuing Covid waves crashing on our shore, it’s not clear if/when that point will ever arrive. From what I hear, audiences for at least some other art forms have returned more robustly, which is encouraging.
I, for one, am not returning either as an audience member or as a performer until I feel safe. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, thanks to the unwillingness of people to do what it takes to stop the virus from being transmitted.
I’m not elderly, but I do have two of the four known risk factors for the acquisition of “long Covid” if I catch even a mild case of Covid.
Organizations that don’t distance the seating and don’t require vaccines, booster shots, and masks, make me feel unsafe.
Music is amazing, but one concert, or even lots of concerts, aren’t worth spending the rest of a lifetime in disability and dysfunction, pain, extreme exhaustion, etc.
Seek help- seriously. Feel free to spend the rest of your life hiding in the basement- the rest of us are moving on. As Jack London once wrote: “The function of man is to live, not to exist.”
Well said and well quoted Alphonse!
You’re in the middle of a mental illness, not a pandemic. Even your messiah, Dr. Faucci, has said this is endemic. Venture outside and enjoy life.
Fauci. If you’re going to sneer at the man, at least spell his name right.
May I also add that my beloved mother died in December, a few days before Christmas, of Covid?
Those of you “disliking” my comment are cruel-hearted hateful human beings. Each one of you who has casually caught Covid and been part of the chain of transmission has almost surely thus been an eventual part of another human being’s cruel, miserable, wretched death. I hold each and every one of you accountable for the 1,000,000+ Covid deaths already in this nation. Each one. You are all murderers with your putrid, infected Covid breath.
I guess you don’t go out to eat anymore?
Your perspective is quite myopic. You are ignoring the massive wave of departures from states with ongoing COVID restrictions to states that lack those things. These are people upending their lives – their children’s lives – to avoid these horrid and useless restrictions.
Let’s say you are right though, and 30% of the audience will return when things are “safe”, you are then ignoring that they have had 3+ years to develop new habits which are not related to attending the orchestra.
The best option for all of your fellow professionals is to throw COVID behind you yesterday. The longer you continue it, the more of the 70% of audience you had last year will bleed away.
With the endowment funds being hit -20% this year too, donations – especially to smaller organizations – should be drying up in 3, 2, 1…
Don’t know about concerts, but with Regietheater, woke interference, Putin friendships, arrogant tenors, and the like I am certainly not returning to opera.
The fact that I’ve decided to have as little as possible to do with woke institutions – which is the clear direction in which my local orchestra’s (Philly) management and MD have been moving – is the reason I haven’t returned to the concert hall. Covid has little, if anything, to do with it.
You inspired me to peruse the 22/23 Philadelphia Orchestra calendar, to share your horror at the “woke programming”. Imagine my disappointment to discover what is by and large standard concert fare. A few more works by Black and female composers, almost invariably curtain raisers before a familiar concerto and symphony. A very few programs specifically catering to people of color, which strikes me as eminently sensible in a city with Philly’s demographics. Sorry this leads you to cut off support for a cultural treasure. And I am sorry the world keeps changing, I know how hard that can be on cranky old men. Best of luck in your quest to Make America Great Again
The world isn’t changing though, you’ve just bought the hype. The woke programming is the latest in a long line of fads that will die once its results make themselves known on the bottom line. Money talks and BS walks…
I can’t find a single program on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s calendar next year that doesn’t include:
1) a work by a female or black composer
2) a female or black conductor
3) a black or minority soloist
Yannick is a great conductor with tons of energy, but lately he’s fallen far into the SJW/woke hole and he’s taking the entire organization with him. How are things going at the Met?
And from what I’ve read, the Orchestra’s current president, who took over within the past few years, is probably fully on board with what Yannick is doing.
It’s not all about programming. I don’t wish to support organizations that push societal narratives that run counter to my values at this point in my life.
If YNS wants to run community discussions on race or spout off to an audience about how violent crime should be addressed, he can do so without my support. Feel free to pick up the slack for me.
I would only add that the risk of getting Covid is just icing on the Cake of Wokeness they serve without requests.
Dead artists are performing dead composers online. Brilliantly. Legendary.
How do the liberal clowns on their circus stage think they can ever compete with actual art? Which is a bygone era, obviously.
The blurb here doesn’t say whether this is unique to classical music. Good chance the same thing is happening to movies, pop music, and basically any large indoor gatherings.
Movies and pop music don’t depend upon an elderly audience the way classical music does. We need to make classical music more attractive to a younger generation.
Yes, perhaps by playing that “woke” music that is more relevant to modern times, but will apparently scare away many of the pearl-clutching trolls on this site.
I love my Mahler and Richard Strauss as much as anyone, but I would still like on occasion to see performances that are reflective of life in modern-day Baltimore or Washington DC.
It amounts to education — learning the canon of classical/romantic/20th century orchestral works. Salvador Dali once spoke of the importance of young artists endeavoring to learn the technique and repertoire of the great masters before creating their own works. Music is similar. It is a mistake to bend a cultural arc toward the whims of any generation before first delivering, performing, exclaiming and enlightening new audiences with the greatness of the old masters.
Zoom, while no panacea, is a presentable platform for small groups — and if the technical challenges
are met — still a good concert vehicle for older viewers or those afraid to attend. Outreach in this regard by orchestras here has been poor; no portal should be tossed like a bone toward the elderly or newly initiated. And that’s what was done. Personalized guidance (you know … an actual human being) should be provided — at senior centers or community centers for different age groups — to ease the access. If the federal government is capable of providing “navigators” for online assistance to access health insurance plans, a similar approach could be adopted by the arts community for Zoom concerts. Park concerts are, of course, wonderful.
…AND safer for those of us who have celebrated more birthdays.
The cinemas are empty in the uk.
But pop concerts are full.
Hmmm, sports that place indoors, like the NBA and college basketball, seem to be doing just fine.
This happened in the US after the 9-11 attacks. Most arts organizations got back most (but not all) of their audiences. The Baltimore Symphony was an exception: much of the loss was permanent. The BSO’s slide actually started there; then they were hit with HBO’s ‘The Wire’ in 2002, the protests in 2015, the lockout in 2019, the lockdown in 2020 . . . to say nothing of bad administration (ongoing?).
It’s a tribute to the BSO musicians that there’s been a faithful audience, which is still there–though now some subscribers are being told (by the media, not the BSO so far) that some concerts they just paid for won’t happen.
Meanwhile, the New York Times announces daily double-digit increases in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, as masks are ‘recommended’ and most Americans seem to think the problem has ended because they have decided that.
Every concert people bought tickets for will happen; some will just occur on different dates.
The problem is a lot off concert goers are not young.
So they are scared to go to a concert in case of catching
Carnegie Hall is full, so the reduction in demand is most likely to hit smaller cities with smaller populations worst. It is real, no doubt.
Audiences are always graying and subscriber bases always need refreshing, but it is true that we have a sector-wide need now to build from the bottom and recall the basics after decades of high prices and “leaders” who have publicly trounced the subscription system. Art is supposed to be a part of people’s lives, a habit.
There are many reasons that this “atrophy in demand”. Besides Covid concerns. Why would I want to buy an expensive ticket, get dressed, travel to the venue, and then sit through a concert of music I’ve heard so many times played by sour-looking musicians led by an undistinguished conductor. Long gone are the likes of Szell, Ormandy, Bernstein, Solti, Reiner and others. It’s easier to stay home, pour some Jamesons and watch the Berlin Philharmonic on Digital Concert Hall. Or pull Gergiev/LSO cds from the shelves. Orchestra managements around the world need to read John Mauceri’s new book, The War on Music, and take heed!
we no longer .have the big names.
to attract the concert goers.
like karajan bernstein etc.
Spot on! I am a musician, I have played with Baltimore Symphony many times along with other major orchestras around the country. While I have never won a job, or as I look at it, “made it into the club”, I still love the music, but not much else about the industry. I flew to San Francisco amidst the pandemic last fall to see the Fidelio production in which a dear friend was playing. I couldn’t help but tell him how disappointed I was in the conducting, the orchestra, the clunky staging, and the twisting of the story itself via teleprompter. Music and politics have always been intertwined, but the over emphasis on things like “oh, we have an Asian conductor, and she’s a woman!” and “we have a black Fidelio!” I do not care about these things. I go to shows to be moved, inspired, motivated, and have something to take with me the rest of my life to ponder and reflect on positively. The only saving grace of that trip besides good times with a good friend was hearing Esa-Pekka Salonen with the San Francisco Symphony for their first open dress rehearsal. A quality band, with a quality conductor, playing quality music. And yes, there was contemporary music on the program, with a female flautist, and a piece by a female composer. All that matters to me is that, EVERYONE wants to be there to hear something great! But, I am tired of seeing and sharing the stage with sad, old and jaded musicians, not to mention hires that have jobs based on their race or sex.
War on Music!
(I didn’t read the book yet, interesting though).
On my observation It’s started in 2008, became clear in 2012, when many genuine young talents were smashed by “robotomized” ones.The “woke culture” is a club and real talents not in it.
Wokenness is a psyop predisposition for “stepford wife robotics switch” of human culture for IA. It’s remodeling took on my eyes just about 14 -15 years.
Dead buried theirs dead. And it’s human in the grave of music or all way around: personal relationships were replaced by social, concerts by zoom, souls by IA.
“Stepford world club” called it pandemia, blaming on inexistant virus they own. They are the parasites dining on us, they feel no music, they feel nothing unless it’s in digital, pornographic, red in blood, purple in wokenness, angelic in fallenness trash, poetically satanique.
You could count my wife and I among those who feel now is not yet the time to be spending two hours in close confinement with a large crowd, be it a concert or professional sporting events. But we hardly feel this is a forever decision and very much want to attend when we feel more confident about it.
The pandemic is still a pandemic.
One day, I hope this will become endemic like the measles, with outbreaks popping up here and there on occasion.
But probably not, because many more people have accepted the measles vaccines but have not accepted the Covid vaccines.
We may be seeing the possibility of a permanent pandemic.
But if we ever do see the end of the pandemic, I will make a hasty return.
Sporting events are chaotic. They let more
People in . I have been going to motor sport
Over 50 years. I shall stop going. It was never
Why illustrate this with a picture of Munich’s Philharmonie am Gasteig?
Probably trying to show what “26%” means. The lower tier has about that percentage of vacant seats. (A recent survey showed three clearly defined groups of readers in the USA. Those who could do basic maths and those who couldn’t.)
Wonder if it has anything to do with the repetitive and imbalance racial hussle programming of the last year?
I’d want a professor who knows how to spell “hustle.”
But please favor us with some concrete examples?
But they eat out, I’ll bet.
Only times I have eaten out during the pandemic were (once) al fresco, early-bird on a weeknight when cases were low locally. We had the entire outdoor seating area to ourselves till dessert, when another couple came and sat 10 feet away from us.
Other time was again when cases were low after another wave, we sat near the front door of the restaurant so as to encounter maximum ventilation. I blew the air around, nevertheless, with a portable mini/fan. We kept masks on till food we actually delivered. We did not linger a long time as we ate and then left.
Even now I wonder if that was a mistake to go indoors at that time. Have not done it since.
The key word, conveniently left out of the lede, is “yet”.
This is how it plays out when older people make up a large part of the audience base. Faced with the general unmasking in a closed hall, concerns remain (one’s own health, that of a family member/other close contact, etc.). Despite opinions to the contrary, covid isn’t a walk in the park for everyone. We’ll be back.
Classical orchestras have created their own problem and the pandemic only accelerated the correction. Some things in society just were never meant for mass consumption. Accept it, get back to respectable programming and quite the hype.
Just a technical note: To anyone outside America who wishes to access The Baltimore Sun or any other publication/website which blocks international access, invest in a VPN! Not only does it make online transactions safer (banking, paying for a purchase), it constantly resets your computer’s IP so you can actually get around limited paywalls (such as that of the NY Times). You can set your IP source to any free country in the world. Switzerland is, according to computer geeks, the safest overall.
It’s premature to come to such conclusions. Many people are still performing risk-benefit estimates and remain apprehensive, especially given the present increase in COVID cases (thank you, BA.5 and BA.2.75…). Even when (if) the pan-COVID vaccines test successfully and are in wide use, it may well take many more months before, say, >90% of former concertgoers decide it’s really safe for them to return.
The Baltimore Symphony was relying on telemarketers to sell subscriptions 25 years ago.
Strange. No sooner were Covid restrictions lifted in Belgium than opera and classical music venues were packed out.
Opposite seems to be true in European countries at the moment. More people than ever since they couldn’t go to concerts for much too long.
Because Covid wasn’t turned into a political issue and people who are really dug into a specific political position haven’t been brainwashed into living fearful lives over what anyone can now see has mutated down to a common cold, just like the four coronaviruses that were in common circulation pre-2020 and caused… the common cold.
If you want a decent ticket at La Monnaie you have to be really quick at the moment. I have had to book in advance for the opening of the season on September 11.
I was wondering about orchestras in Europe.
Do they also see a wider age range than US orchestras?
I don’t plan to return or at least until they drop the woke programming. If there were these great undiscovered masterpieces lying around that had been written by non white males….no one would be more excited than me. But that is not the case. I wish them luck and if they manage to expand their audience because of this I’ll be happy for them but it’s not something I care to spend my money on.
I sure would like to see some of these woke programs. I subscribed to much of the Baltimore and the NSO next season next year and it’s full of Mahler, Beethoven, Ravel, etc.. OK, the NSO is doing a little George Walker and William Grant Still again. But where, pray tell, is this “woke” programming?
I do not believe you are unaware of this since it’s ubiquitous……so why pretend it’s not happening? For example this is all from Baltimore’s upcoming season:
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Ballade for Orchestra
Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers
STILL In Memoriam: The Colored Soldiers Who Died for Democracy
PRICE Piano Concerto in One Movement
ELIZABETH OGONEK New Work
TERRENCE BLANCHARD Selections from Fire Shut Up In My Bones
THOMAS Ring Out, Wild Bells, to the Wild Sky
ELLEN REID When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist
AUGUSTA READ THOMAS Prayer Bells
XAVIER FOLEY Double Bass Concerto
If a great discovery comes out of this that would be great but so far I haven’t heard anything notable. Can you name one….just one….masterpiece produced by one of these groups? Btw, I have a lot of Irish in me….and I can’t think of one masterpiece produced by an Irish composer. It would seem that would be a good reason not to fill the season up with Irish music. What do you think?
That’s the best you can do?
What you have are a handful of works by composers – not all living – who aren’t all white and male. And that’s automatically suspect?
I saw and liked Fire Shut Up in My Bones, and even if I hadn’t, Terence Blanchard is a brilliant trumpet player and has scored dozens of films, so I will generally assume he is capable of producing a competent orchestral work.
Carlos Simon is getting played everywhere these days. What I’ve heard of him is pretty good.
William Grant Still was a fine composer; or are you just objecting to the title of his piece?
Florence Price is getting her moment. Maybe it will last, maybe it won’t. I’m certainly willing to give her piano concerto a try. Is it only being played because she was Black? Maybe. I don’t care; it’s reasonable to revisit neglected pieces.
Orchestras don’t have to play only masterpieces. And frankly there are lots of masterpieces I don’t care to hear; I’ve heard them enough or they don’t float my boat.
Your definition of “woke” seems to be any piece written by someone who isn’t a white male (and probably who isn’t dead, too). Pathetic.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to hearing these pieces.
If you like it, good for you. I personally haven’t heard anything yet that I find very notable. I am very sympathetic to giving living composers a hearing, since there might be something great on the horizon (although the skewing to minority/women composers doesn’t make any sense). But to dig up pieces by dead composers who are not really very exceptional to begin with doesn’t make any sense to me. But if you’re into it, go….I’m not.
I was actually considering to attend a concert by a fine American singer, but then I read that the program relied on composers being black.
I would have loved to hear a black singer singing spirituals, which is the greatest of American music. Alas, he was a white male, so sorry, no deal. I´m such a racist.
Did they say why they won’t return?
What is the reason for this “atrophy in demand?” This piece is not very helpful.
Not too many great bands like we had in the 60s and 70s. Even the eighties.
Normalcy has not yet returned – the discomfort of wearing a mask, and being required to show a vaccine card or take a rapid test, is currently deterring many concertgoers I know, those who are casual listeners looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or a mildly interesting date night.
Awww…Poor babies! Cannot attend a concert without preventing people’s cruel, miserable, wretched Covid deaths?
I’m sure this must feel like anathema to you. You, who want to kill as many people as possible with your Covid breath.
Show your data!
Milwaukee symphony was still requiring masks during the concert. Won’t be back till that’s over.
Why? Are you so selfish you have zero consideration for others who may be sitting near you and become infected shuold you have covid? Those who consider that masks are unnecessary have learned absolutly nothing from the last two dreadful years. A million+ dead in the the USA and these selfish allegedly human beings don’t give a damn about their fellow men, women and children. Thank goodness I live in a country where masks are still required indoors and in places like public transport.
Too many Americans still confusev”freedom” with selfish entitlement.
I agree. This country has now become a ****-hole country. Were it not for my spouse who is too patriotic to leave, I would have already moved out. What junk and garbage we have now. Half the country doesn’t care if it kills the other half.
Too many Americans confuse a bad case of flu with Ebola…
Communist’s ideology! Only ideology!
Masks are still required in San Francisco for both opera and ballet and, I presume, symphony. I have no problem wearing a mask for 2-3 hours in order to attend live music. What’s so hard about that?
I mean, I watched an usher berate an elderly woman for moving a chair over because she couldn’t see during “social distancing”. These people owe their audiences a massive apology. They’ve been insufferable since 2016.
I do not go out at all anymore. Gun violence in large gatherings it just isn’t safe or sure does not seem safe in America anymore. Lot’s of things I would like to hear but I cannot recon that with the utter insanity on city streets concert’s etcetera. If it isn’t streaming forget it.
You are far more likely to die in a traffic accident on the way to the concert than to experience a mass shooting once you get there. This is not rational
Honestly, I keep getting surveys from a variety of musical organisations asking how important Covid mitigation measures are to me. And none of them have imposed any kind of Covid mitigation measures. I went to a concert of the OSM – I was just about the only one wearing a mask in a packed auditorium, and yes, I feel iffy returning. I went to the Pierre Boulez Saal yesterday – about two thirds of the audience were masked. Much better.
So I’m not cutting down on concerts entirely, but I will be more selective. I’m not going to any average concert, but I’ll weigh the risks/interest carefully before committing to any concert, and I’ll only go if the programming/artists is of sufficient interest to outweigh the risk.
If you’ve got the money, buy the tickets. Hear Mozart to Mugrave and beyond. Discuss it all with your friends, family, and strangers at the concert hall. Comment to the orchestra’s personnel about performance quality and programming. Live dangerously, but live.
Das Konzertleben ist nicht mehr lebendig. Es geht letzendlich nur um das Gewinn. Deshalb sind die Veranstaltungsräume zu gross, die gespielte Musik um mitreissend zu sein laut, das Erscheinungsbild der Künstler wichtig. Sprich: das Program hat sehr oft kein dramaturgisches Konzept, die Tonarten in der Programfolge harmonieren miteinander nicht. Dadurch hat das Konzert keine Aussage. Wenn noch die Ausführunde nur auf Perfektion sich konzentrieren, ist es kein Wunder, dass das Publikum weg bleibt. Tote Lärm statt Musik.
My wife and I just went to to the symphony for the first time since 2019.
We were so looking forward to 2020, as it was Beethoven’s birthday anniversary year. However the whole season was wiped out, as well as the next year.
But we are big fans of Anne-Sophie Mutter & Riccardo Muti & the CSO, so we took our chances and bought tickets for her performance Beethoven’s violin concerto.
It was not a simple decision, as we are both about 60 years old and concerned about Covid, and Chicago has had a spike in carjackings.
When we arrived, it was a relief to see that almost everyone in the audience was masked & the entire CSL (except for ASM) wore masks.
It is impossible to overestimate the value of a live performance. For classical music fans, it’s also impossible to think about never coming back.
Between the hypochondriacal nutcases afraid of Covid waiting behind every double-basses to jump on their whining lungs, and the inflation/recession that is going to get the Dems kicked out of the White house, the future is far from being bright for the concert halls, that’s for sure. Woke experiments will drive away the elders and fail to secure generation Z and millennials on the long run. I’m patient though, and I’ll continue to bet on Beethoven.
Here’s why we won’t return to symphony concerts, despite the fine playing and marvelous hall we have locally: the first half of each concert is modern garbage that no one would pay one percent of the ticket price to hear. Only if one stays after the interval is there anything worthwhile, and staying for it means that one is out of the concert too late to dine. If the works the audience wants to hear were programmed in the first half, and the modern dreck in the second, I would wager there would be an almost empty hall after the interval. Everyone else would be enjoying a nice dinner and talking about how wonderful the performance was. People (not just nonagenarians) go to symphony concerts to hear music that has stood the test of time, not atonal garbage.
Then eat beforehand and just go to the second half.
All you have to do is look at the average age of the classical music/opera concert-goer, and that will probably correlate to the reluctance to return to a concert hall.
Meanwhile, professional sports attendance seems to be doing just fine, as does concert stadium tours of rock/country/pop music.
Last time we went to a concert in downtown LA at the Disney Hall we were nearly mugged. Big cities need to get real on concert goer safety.
Philadelphia lost subscribers when masking and vaccination credentials became mandatory for admission. Safety has become an issue because of the numerous shootings and carjacking plaguing areas of the city. The Avenue of the Arts is still safe but there is some fear of getting to the concerts. Chicago and San Fran. have similar problems. Masks are now voluntary but there is now a surge in CovidVariants. At best the fall season will remain status quo.