I left my copious notes from yesterday's public panel at work, so I can't give you a full report, but I have some ideas about making this panel even more worthwhile in future years.
1. Hold it at a time when the public is more likely to attend.
The panel was at 2 p.m. on a Friday; that is, for many potential audience members, it's a work day. Lots of people can't leave work at that time of day, period. Lots work too far from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to get there at all without taking time off. Scheduling this during working hours on a weekday makes it accessible to students, people who aren't working (out of a job, retired), and people who can take the time off work to attend.
I understand that there are constraints on where and when this can be held. However, between the SFCM and the sponsoring organizations that are within blocks of the SFCM (SFO, SFS, SF Performances), maybe there's an appropriate space free during the day on a weekend or evening.
2. Coach the panel about speaking up.
I'm glad, very glad, that the panel wasn't amplified, but the panelists were not equally audible.
3. Post the questions that will be asked of the panelists in advance.
4. Find a way to enable people who aren't in the room to submit questions for the panel.
You could do this with a Facebook page, by setting up an email address at SFCM for questions, or by using various online programs that can take questions, allow comments, etc.
5. Find a way to get the panel on the radio or on line in real time.
San Francisco Opera has been webcasting some of its press events, including the event at which Matthew Shilvock was named General Director Designate. There is, or used to be, some way to use Google Hangouts for webcasting. Facebook has to have a livestreaming component. Twitter has Periscope.
6. Include at least one past student from the Rubin Institute.
7. Include a panelist who isn't working primarily for a nationally-known publication.