fred’s guide on how to draw new audiences to contemporary classical music concerts (notice how i’m not naming any names):

– DON’T FILL YOUR PROGRAMME WITH FLUFF. AVOID: pseudo-ethnic music (umm, why would we want to hear string instruments trying to sound like chinese, spanish, and/or african instruments when we can just listen to THE REAL THING??); percussion instruments (there’s a reason bach never wrote a suite for maracas); and other gimmick-filled music (if your beats aren’t any more interesting than bjork’s, give it up).

– CONSIDER THE SPACE. it’s nice that you’re trying to draw audiences into more casual spaces, but really, the strong scent of fried chicken and the constant waitstaff literally treading on your toes is distracting. here’s an idea: why not move the tables to the back of the room so that those who actually want to listen to the music can?

– REHEARSE. even if we’ve never heard the piece before, we can still tell when it’s unmusical and thrown together, particularly if it’s out of tune and sloppy.

– AVOID THE CLICHES. variety is good in a programme (within reason), but not in a single piece: enough already with the schizophrenic music! (especially the kind that riffs on popular music. it’s NOT CUTE; it’s ANNOYING.) we have a longer attention span than two minutes you know. and WHY are people still doing this pseudo-serialist crap? you’re not an austrian composer from the 1920’s!

– BOTTOM LINE: you may get a few people looking for cheap thrills to listen to your cheap renditions of contemporary classical music, but you won’t convert anyone. give your audience a little more credit; most of us have brains in between our ears, and those that don’t aren’t going to leave britney spears for you so stop wasting your time. give us something honest, moving, surprising, and that takes itself seriously, and we’ll listen. don’t and you will only get OUR WRATH.


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