There is a lot of talk in classical music about audience engagement and getting new, namely younger and more diverse, faces in the seats at concerts. Generally anytime I hear the new audience conversation it ends up with something like this: Yes, we need and want new audiences. Yes, we’re struggling to reach them. No, we haven’t figured out the perfect formula to get and retain new listeners.
On Sunday, my attendance at the Chicago Philharmonic’s concert Speck-tacular Beethoven was really fantastic example of audience engagement, and one of the better I’ve seen. It all started with the programming.