Friday, May 23, 2008

Just Another Day in the Death of Classical Music

Alex Ross reports that 62% of the audience members at Fringe, an alternative chamber-music series in Atlanta, were under the age of 40.

I'll take a not-very-wild stab in the dark about why: tickets are $15 ($10 for students). Perhaps high prices at major musical institutions are a major reason the audience is aging at symphony orchestras and opera houses. Older people have the money to pay $225 for the best seats at San Francisco Opera.


pjwv said...

Mind if I add another little stab at guessing a reason for aging audiences, this one involving one of my pet peeves, the standard 8:00 start time(standard out here, anyway: Houston and DC, among other places, seem to be able to start operas regularly at 7:00 or 7:30 without too much inconvenience): Older people also are less likely to have to be at work by 8:00 the next morning. The symphony last night ended at 10:00 and I didn't get to bed until around midnight. As a result I'm not at my best today, I regret to say.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I will play devil's advocate and say that staying up late was a lot easier for me at 25 than it is now.

Steve Smith said...

I will further observe that for many in the work force -- young and old alike, I presume -- getting to a 7pm or 7:30pm event can be a pretty major difficulty in itself. In such cases I'm inevitably rushing straight from the office, which often means that dinner will be an $8 sandwich the size of a child's fist.

Except where Wagner's concerned, I'm perfectly content with an 8pm start at the earliest.

Henry Holland said...

PJWV, a 7:00 pm start time here in Los Angeles would be deadly; people would still be on the 10 Freeway by the time the concertmaster walked out to tune up. It's all local, I guess.

Re: pricing at SFO. It's high, sure, but there's the upper upper balcony for $25 (last 4 rows, I think) which has great sound. The upper balcony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for LAO is $30, which = a cheap dinner and a movie, and again, the sound is much better than in the $190 seats.

I know people bitch about high prices, but I'm *glad* there's corporations and the well-off that can/will pay $225 to hear a third-rate cast in La Boheme because it funds the weirder stuff that I like. Viva all-Mozart and all-Brahms concerts that fund Birtwistle pieces!