Monday, February 22, 2010

Marketing Contemporary Music (1)

More food for thought: Marketing Contemporary Music (article by Greg Sandow in the New York TImes; click link to view entire article).

The article's final paragraph seems to summarize the author's thesis:

Should we be trying to educate the classical music audience...? Why talk as if there's something wrong with it [contemporary classical music], as if it has a disease that needs curing? Instead, let's arouse it, excite it and draw new people to new kinds of artistic musical events. That way, even large institutions might renew themselves and heal the split between contemporary classical music and the rest of the arts.

What do you think?


If you like Mr. Sandow's writing, please check out some of the many links to his other articles on his home page.


Aiden Hartery said...

I really think that there should be more attention and education devoted to contemporary classical music.
I do think that part of the problem is directed at concert halls who program shows and seasons with only the same ol' pieces that everyone is used to and has grown to love. It totally makes sense why venues do this of course. They need an audience to pay for funding and whatnot, and to ensure a good audience, there needs to be music that is pleasing and will draw a profitable crowd.
But there should be more chances taken and more opportunities for audiences to learn to accept and love works but new and current composers. There are some outstanding works being composer, and have been composed in the last century, but it is often dusted under the rug, and assumptions are made that people just won't like it.
If symphony's continue to just play works by Beethoven and Mahler, then what is the point of even composing in the first place? That is an absurd question, and it really gets me going to even think about it, but it is a sad truth.

If more people are educated, and learn the newly developing techniques and practices of modern music, they will quickly develop a liking towards it.

Hopefully in the future, there will be a bigger drive for contemporary music, especially because there is always a rising number of promising and talented composers come into the scene.

Siobhan said...

I think your link is broken, but I googled and found the same article from this slightly different URL:

Greg offers an inspiring insight on how to engage society in modern music. I especially like the idea of changing the setting and mood from a solemn concert hall to a party mood in a rock club. This idea has the potential to captivate a completely different clientele in new and exciting ways.

I think that 'educating' society on modern classical music is an elitist way of looking at this situation. I prefer to think of it as 'engaging' and 'exposing' society to these new sounds.

Flutiano said...

The link in this article is broken, but this one works -

This article poses a challenge to those of us composing new music, and that is how are we going to get it heard? How do we find the people who would enjoy our music, and connect them to it?

The classical music audience goes to hear music that they are familiar with. "In Milwaukee, an enterprising contemporary group, Present Music -- which gets up to 700 people at some of its events and impressively sells more than 200 subscriptions to its six-concert season -- has a similar philosophy. 'You can look down from the stage, and see the earrings and nose rings and different- colored hair," said its director, Kevin Stalheim. "If I were going for mailing lists, I'd go to the art museum and modern dance companies, not the Milwaukee Symphony.'" Do we put up our posters beside those of modern dance companies, or make them in similar styles, or plaster them in and around art museums? How do we let people know what our music sounds like, in order to entice them to come out to hear it?

I like the idea that there is a different audience for contemporary music. However I also think there is overlap. For example, I love hearing classical music in concert, as well as modern music (at least some of it). I wonder if there is more connection between a contemporary music audience and an early music audience - if people who enjoy listening to baroque music on baroque instruments are more likely to enjoy contemporary music than the traditional classical music audience. Both of these types of music employ sounds that are not part of our regular soundscapes and are novel and invigorating, for audience members who like a bit of adventure.