I grew up in a family that had season tickets to both stock theatre and the symphony. I am closer to the older crowd mentioned in this excerpt, as far as taste. However, I’m not so sure it’s an age factor, so much as not really caring for dissonance in music. I listen for relaxation, not for innovation. Either way, it is devastating to see symphonies go under, financially.
The problems are easy to identify: The recession has pummeled charitable giving and endowments, while the audience has continued to age. Many large orchestras have been juggling high operating costs and diminishing revenues for years, so they were especially vulnerable to the downturn. Local governments and benefactors, under pressure of their own, are less able to save the day.
So what will? A crisis can sometimes be an incubator for innovation, but some observers worry that there’s a lack of bold new ideas — and that without them, many city and regional orchestras are simply doomed.
“All the data tells us all new audiences are looking for different things,” said Jesse Rosen, the president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, the industry’s leading advocacy group outside of musicians’ unions, who hopes orchestras use this period to make sweeping positive changes.
“The appetite for classical music remains as strong as ever,” he said. “[But] the desire for it is expressing itself in different ways besides people buying tickets. So how do we adapt to the generations coming up? The problem isn’t in the music, but how to be responsive.
“The audience now is segmented; you still have a large core of subscription seasons of people who are older and like things never to change,” said Rosen, while younger audiences are more willing to watch YouTube videos of symphonies.