Tag Archives: orchestra

Audience Development, Peter Gabriel and Orchestras

Last night I went to see one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.  He is right up there with the Beatles, Sting/The Police, and all my favorite classical music composers.  For this concert tour, Peter Gabriel was being backed by his own orchestra, the New Blood orchestra.  He chose particular songs to have arranged (brilliantly, I will add by John Metcalfe) so the mix was a little more on the mellow side.  There was no “Big Time” or “Sledgehammer,” but instead moving and powerful renditions of “Mercy Street” and “Blood of Eden.”

I’m not here to review the concert per se, although I highly recommend going to see this concert, but I am here to tell you that the crowd was not only hooting and hollering for Peter, they were also very excited about the orchestra.   The orchestra was mainly comprised of  musicians from the local area and the UK.  The conductor, Ben Foster, looked very young, but was extremely polished. These musicians played with such passion and conviction that you couldn’t help cheer them on.

I have no idea if other people in this audience were orchestral fans or as big of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am, but the audience was right there with me in acknowledging powerfully performed music.

Aside from the high quality content of this concert, the execution was audience friendly.  Peter told stories of how a song came into fruition to lead into the music.  Having a better understanding of the song led to a deeper enjoyment of the music.  He was gracious in always giving nods to his fellow musicians, and he definitely seemed to being having a wonderful time, always adding his personal theatrical flair.

Of course Peter couldn’t help adding a multi-media show with video images on a finely meshed backdrop.  It served as a curtain for the orchestra as well.  He is a highly creative individual that has to share the many sides of his artistry.  The video shared the many sides of the music, including the performers themselves.

Even when it rained, perhaps due to his heavy choice of water image songs, the crowd continued to be enthralled the entire time.  I was getting bathed and soaked in both rain and wondrous music.   This means that despite the set backs of the venue or any happenstance, there was no way the audience was budging from this amazing night.

Now back to the orchestra.  There has been a trend with musicians wanting to go on tour with an orchestra, and I do not see this trend letting up.  Just today I saw another article Deep Purple Guitarist Talks North American Orchestral Tour.  There is a draw for musicians to spread their wings, and working with an orchestra can provide a new outlet for their music.  This has many advantages for the orchestra world if they are smart enough to see these advantages.

First, there are new audiences being introduced to the sounds of an orchestra in a format that is already pleasing to them, a rock concert.  The audience usually ends up cheering on the orchestra as well as the main artist.  Some of the audience will take a liking to how an orchestra sounds and seek out recordings and concerts in the future.  Here is the biggest advantage, if you are an orchestra in the area and happen to have one of these types of concerts in town, you better believe I recommend finding a way to reach this new audience.

Our local theatre performance center had a chat session during the Tonys.  I can envision local orchestras equally latching on to this opportunity by hosting Twitter chats or Facebook posts, etc.  Or, perhaps finding a way for the venue or artist to mention going to see a performance of a local orchestra.  If there is a will, there is a way.

Also, if there are local musicians performing, like there were on this concert, find a way to connect with them.  Perhaps they can be personality advocates for the orchestras in the area and reach the audience by tweeting what is it like to perform with someone like Peter Gabriel.  There are people in the audience that would enjoy getting this backstage perspective.

Lastly, I would recommend attending one of these events yourself and take notes as to how the concert is executed.  The orchestra world can learn a great deal from one of these concerts, as aforementioned.  Would it really hinder us to program new and interesting music that an audience can relate to and get excited about, and allow them to applaud when highly moved after a solo?  Mozart enjoyed it.

New audiences such as the ones that attend these types of concerts are ready and waiting if we find ways to reach them, but we must make the effort to reach them.  We could stand to shed our high orchestral ideals and learn from the world around us, even if it is outside of our genre.  Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra put on a concert that could teach us many lessons that are vastly needing to be learned.

If you would like a real review of the concert, click here! 

Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra recording Digging In The Dirt at Air from York Tillyer on Vimeo.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience Development and Classical Music concerts for newbies

I had a major thought today after reading another article about a symphony performing a free classical music concert mainly for audience development purposes.  The repertoire selected was the same old type of list: Barber of Seville, some poppy selections from South Pacific, some light operetta favorites.  Throw in pieces from Fantasia and it’s a wrap!

I agree that it is nice to choose pieces that might be familiar to people in order to get them interested in classical music.  However, if they are truly newbies to art music, go ahead and program an accessible newer piece!  Here’s my story:

I had invited a friend to a wind ensemble concert.  She had never heard a wind ensemble.  She said she was willing to give it a try.  She was familiar with a few pieces on the program, but the one she really liked was something she never heard before.  She ended up enjoying the concert mainly because of this piece.  My friend came with an open mind so it really didn’t matter if the selections were familiar, only that they were quality music performed well.

From this example, if a person truly is open and new to hearing classical music, then they will be open to hearing anything!  It’s similar to when someone hears classical music out of context, let’s say on a commercial, and they end up noticing and really digging the music.

The point is, we have an opportunity to play new music for new audiences!  We don’t have to keep performing the same, although pleasant, “gateway” pieces.  We can throw in an accessible newer piece too.  I caution with “accessible” since something outside of a new ear comfort zone could be a complete turn off.  There are pieces out there that can fit nicely into an audience development concert, even if it is for kids.

I hope the composers out there are jumping up and down.  This is an opportunity for you too.  What would you compose if faced with the challenge of creating for a brand new classical music audience?

Perhaps you might still fear the fact that if the music is unfamiliar, this new audience may not like the program.  Please do consider though that if it is truly a new experience, these people are open and ready to receive the best of what you can offer them, no matter what century the music comes from.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart


Filed under arts management, Audience Development

Audience development and the passion behind the arts

This morning, I blog to you about something personal, as me, Shoshana, not as ADS.  While scanning articles this morning, I fell upon a delightfully charming concept in the The Atlantic:

How to Listen to Classical Music, and Enjoy It

This is the second post in a series by Benjamin F. Carlson. I can tell very much that this series is a labor of love for him, his attempt to share why classical music is worth listening to.

I saw the value of this type of format as an audience development tool, but you know what?  As I listened to the examples, something deeper happened.  I happen to be a musician myself.  With over 35 years of piano and  30 years of horn under my belt, I realized that sometimes it takes a little “music bath” to bring me back to the reality of why I chose to be a musician in the first place.

I spent some time freelancing in Chicago, going from gig to gig. I did get caught up at times with “how much are they paying and how long am I playing.”  I showed up to a gig, played, and went home.  I sometimes hear musicians gripe about the fact that we have a gig to go to.  We can get tired and crabby.  I wonder how this attitude can translate to the audience.

The point to all this is, sometimes as musicians (as artists), we forget the reason why we are playing in the first place.  Sometimes as artists (in general), we get caught up in the business aspects and forget the joy of our art.  I’m not saying that the business aspects are not important to consider, but do we want to treat our art as something as a means to an end or a means to a means?

When I read about artists that are connecting to audiences, I also see that most of these artists are displaying their passion for their art.  We are kidding ourselves to think that Beethoven played technically is the same as Beethoven played passionately.  We are kidding ourselves if we don’t realize that the audience can sense the difference too.

Maybe the core value to all of this is: it’s a little about what we present and how we present, but it is mainly about how we present our passion.  It is easy to get excited about art if the presentation is full of passion for the art. Maybe the decrease in patron support is a direct correlation to the decrease in passion?  Maybe we as artists need to become fully involved in our art again as the passionate artists our inner beings desire to be?

As I  took the time out to sit and listen to the examples of the post, while especially listening to the Beethoven Variations, I discovered tears were streaming down my face.  I had gotten in touch with the reason why I am a musician, why I chose to spend endless hours practicing, learning, and playing music.  I was, in a word, moved. Perhaps as artists, we need to take time on a regular basis to get in touch with the reason why we chose to become artists, and why we choose to share this passion with others.

If we don’t get in touch with this passion, and we blankly share art without it…well…what’s the point?  I highly encourage all artists to dive inward and find the reasons why they are artists.  Find what inspires you to feel that inner passion again.  The joy we feel will translate to our audience.  They will feel our joy – it’s contagious!  This is what art is about, the passion, the means to a means.

This weekend, I will be performing with the Colorado Wind Ensemble.  The music selections are old standards that are dusted off each summer.  Now that I have had my “music bath,” I will go into the performance with a more passionate attitude, be grateful that I am doing what I love to do, and play my bars and bars of after-beats with gusto!


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The 2009 Audience Development Specialists Tweets Awards!

It’s Friday, and it’s time to announce the winners for all the categories of  The 2009 Audience Development Specialists Tweets Awards!

Most Interesting Venues
The nominees are:

  • Keeping artists in the Loop Creative Showcase | Pop-Up Art program turns vacant buildings into galleries http://bit.ly/4DVbs8
    The Chicago Loop Alliance plays matchmaker with artists and landlords to beautify the vacant spaces with art.
  • Worth a repeat mention…Chiara String Quartet to Hit the Bar This Thursday http://bit.ly/8zvB3A
    The Chiara String Quartet performs in bars.
  • Audience development genius of the day…I think…Vending machine that dispenses art unveiled in Chandler http://bit.ly/582hG5
    Vision Gallery in Chandler (Arizona) unveils its newest installation, the Art-O-Mat, a vending machine that dispenses original art.
  • RT @ChicagoOpera In the cosmetics section of this Michigan Ave dept. store-with a red star in their logo– #popupopera

    Chicago Opera Theater during National Opera Week – free short performances of opera “favorites” in unexpected places in Chicago.
  • Cool idea…See your art on the side of an Asheville bus http://bit.ly/6RORxe
    The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department announces a juried public art competition for the first Art on Transit Bus Graphics Program.
  • Audience development genius of the day! Been a while since we had one!…Changing the World of Classical Music http://bit.ly/Wco7w
    “Music Director/Conductor John Stubbs of California Ballet has created an extraordinary multi-media performance experience where live classical music, dance, and film converge for one special evening in San Diego’s most exciting music and dining venue — Anthology supper club in Little Italy.”

Tweeples choice award for Most Interesting Venue of 2009 goes to: The Chicago Loop Alliance

ADS Award goes to: Chiara String Quartet.  My feeling is, that in order for the arts to be more accessible to younger generations, we need to start performing where these people gather.  Bringing classical music to a bar setting is a great idea, and something that was new to me.

Best Use of Mainstream
The nominees are:

  • Lively & Looney Pop entertainment crosses over with classical fare in Bugs Bunny on Broadway http://bit.ly/Bv8xh
  • Audience Development genius of the day: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry “Harry Potter” works wonders http://tinyurl.com/lq6skk

The ADS Award goes to: Star Wars: In Concert’: a coda with Yoda!  From L.A. to Chicago, this concert gave the GenX generation a chance to share with their children the joy of Star Wars and the joy of the orchestra all at the same time.  In our constant pursuit of getting GenX more involved, this was a great idea.

Best Arts Advocate
The nominees are:

  • (Gustavo Dudamel) In case you missed this :O)…Hollywood Swoons Over That Hair, That Baton http://bit.ly/1lXiQM
  • (Michael Kaiser) Kennedy Center chief  says great art is key to weathering crisis http://bit.ly/35eWF

The ADS Award goes to: Michael Kaiser.  It seemed like there wasn’t a week that went by where Kaiser was not in the papers.  Traveling from city to city to spread his word on how to save the arts from crisis, he also brought awareness of the arts to many that weren’t aware before.  Although I am still waiting for the documentary and the book, we at least had his blog posts at the Huffington Post to guide us regularly with his thoughts.

Best Use of Technology and Social Media
The nominees are:

The ADS award goes to: drum roll please, The Atlanta Symphony for their live Ustream discussion with Wynton Marsalis and Ken Meltzer.  This was one of the best representations of the use of new technology and social media rolled up into one, and there were a plethora of other audience development goodies too.  Here is the top 10 list of reasons why I chose this particular idea:

Audience Participation
The nominees are:

  • Fabulous! @davidsrebnik Vote for your favorite new piece. Last chance today: Digital- Composer-in-Residence http://tinyurl.com/yhyvtyk
  • Audience development genius of the day – Audience plays ‘Bingo’ right along with the cast http://bit.ly/1EMb1I
  • Audience participation! …Oleanna Will Allow Audiences to “Take a Side” Following Broadway Previews http://bit.ly/16Ibkb
  • This could be genus of the day…Tony Winner Jbara Hosts Kids’ Night on Broadway ‘Town Hall Meeting’ Event 9/15 http://bit.ly/pcyct
  • “Confessions of a First-Time Operagoer” host rings up big role http://bit.ly/hLuUQ – Seattle Opera
  • How did I miss this link? I’m voting! RT @cincinnatiopera We are at exactly 5,000 Opera Idol votes! http://ow.ly/griC

The ADS Award goes to: Cincinnati Opera for their Opera Idol!  From their website: “Cincinnati Opera launched Opera Idol™, the company’s search for the next great opera star, in June 2009. ­More than 160 amateur singers turned out for an open audition before a panel of professional judges. Through multiple rounds of voti­ng, six finalists were chosen. Videos of those finalists in performance were posted on the Cincinnati Opera website, and the public was invited to view the videos and vote for their favorite, for which over 10­,000 total votes were cast.”

I was extremely impressed with the results and how streamlined this idea was.  There was audience participation with the opera hopefuls, 160 of them,  and with the general audience, 10,000 votes casted via YouTubes and the ability to vote at their website.  This audience participation covered all the bases for getting people involved!

Best Collaborations
The nominees are:

  • Another way to collaborate with your library! … Listen to past City Arts & Lectures programs http://bit.ly/V40LN
  • Interesting collaboration! …The Harley-Davidson Museum and MIAD Partner to Retool the Art and Design of Helmets http://bit.ly/1xKAvc
  • Collaboration galas – great idea!!! Especially if you have a crosslist of donors. Costs are shared http://bit.ly/MvCYg

The ADS Award goes to: Atlanta Art à la Carte – “a new partnership among Atlanta arts organizations lets audiences create their own subscription from a mix of family performances. With this program, families can get a lower-cost look at different organization’s offerings without singing up for a membership.”  In a time where getting families and the younger generation more involved with the arts, this is a great collaborative idea that can be a win-win situation for all involved.  Getting families to sample what your city has to offer is fantastic!

Best Festivals
The nominees are:

  • When it comes to music, just remember the passion…Columbia University 10-day classical music and opera binge http://bit.ly/1m6rzf
  • I call it enthusiasm…Kennedy Center president says ArtPrize has built what non-profit arts needs: Excitement http://bit.ly/4Gb9t
  • Still hoping that there will be more of these types of events happening – ‘Culture Olympics’ open in South Korea http://bit.ly/X0irm

The ADS Award goes to: ArtPrize – this festival had the arts world buzzing.  Artists from around the world participated, they had an entire community get involved with the venue match-up for the artists, the ability to vote, and all of the social aspects through social media and local networking events were fabulously engaging, and they awarded big prizes to the winners.  Rick Devos and Jeffrey Meeuwsen of Grand Rapids, Michigan had a great idea, made it a reality, and the world was watching.

Best Use of Going Informal
The nominees are:

  • Love it! @palmbeachopera open mojito, prosecco, and wine bar with hor’s doeuvre by a celebrity chef for $25 http://bit.ly/3TXnkr

The ADS award goes to: The Cleveland Orchestra for their new informal series.  From the article: “Was it the earlier start? The informal dress of the players? The short, all-Beethoven program? Or was it the prospect of a post-concert reception and appearance by world percussion ensemble Beat the Donkey?”  Seeing that this series is selling out, perhaps the classical music world really does need to relax a little, take their bow ties off once in a while, and really jam with the audience before, during, and after the show!

Best New Programs
The nominees are:

  • Been waiting for someone to try this! RT @HouGrandOpera Going to the opera alone? Join the HGO Meet-up group! http://bit.ly/J1Vy8
  • Audience Development Genius of the day! “Internship: Summer Family Programs Volunteer Internship” http://bit.ly/btSveA

The ADS award goes to: Art-Reach, “Independence Starts Here,” and the Pennsylvania Ballet for bringing the Nutcracker alive for blind people.  This story really touched my heart.  From the article: “In a dressing room off a hallway to one side of the stage, a woman named Ermyn King will watch a TV monitor beaming the show live from the stage. She’ll wear a headset-microphone and will straightforwardly describe the dancing – how many performers are onstage, what they’re wearing, what they’re doing, how they’re interacting – as well as the scenery, the storyline, even the lighting…Just before the curtain – as in most audio-described shows, including Sunday’s Nutcracker – those using the service were invited onstage for what’s called a ‘touch tour’.”   Making your art accessible to those who never were able to enjoy it before, in my opinion, wins new program of the year!

Best Discussions
The nominees are:

  • Seems like a reply from Kaiser to last week’s discussion on catch 22…Are We Forgetting the Mission of the Arts? http://bit.ly/5ArH5d
  • RT @stagedirections Part of a boo-ed speech from @StolenChairTC: “I don’t want to be a charity.” http://bit.ly/1wz44K
  • Young audiences and the future of film and tv …Tomorrow’s hit movies won’t rely on stars or studios, film forum told http://bit.ly/am5sN
  • Very cool conversation – transcript of live discussion for “New Ways for Arts Organizations to Finance Their Operations” http://bit.ly/btxXLm
  • New Honesty: A symphony telling the public the real facts! …Backstage: Symphony ticket prices in line with other events http://bit.ly/2OngVA

The ADS Award goes to: This was one of the more challenging decisions.  I wish I could choose all of them since I’m excited about all of these discussions.  If you don’t know me yet, I am a big advocate for getting the chat going!  In the end, for choosing only one… New Ways for Arts Organizations to  Finance Their Operations is the winner.  This was a live discussion with various arts organizations of the New York area discussing the majority of issues and solutions surrounding audience development.  I highly recommend reading this discussion and perhaps forming your own arts community discussion involving these same questions.

Best “Arts Make a Difference”
The nominees are:

  • Proving once again the arts help local economy! Durham’s arts center earns $400K for city in first eight months http://bit.ly/2wXCy8
  • Exciting!…Playing For Change & eTown – Live Show: Sunday, Nov 08, 2009,7:30 pm,Location:Paramount Theatre http://bit.ly/2eSbcn
  • The arts heal us! RT @lizajlee 17-year old girl recovers from cancer through art as therapy  one example: http://bit.ly/9JF0U5
  • RT@cincinnatiopera @EmcArts @spokanesymphony Arts helped save psyche in Great Depression. http://bit.ly/Bjd8x

The ADS award goes to: Playing for Change.  “Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.”  In a world full of distances, it’s nice to see the universal language of music used as a power to unite!

Best Audience Development Quotes
The nominees are:

  • “There is a fundamental change happening in our lives. There’s a sense that we have an old way of defining participating in the arts and that the public is redefining what participation means,” Rosen said. “The challenge for us is to see where the public is and engage with them and adapt.” Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras http://bit.ly/4re6E2
  • “The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it.  Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation. “
    Michelle Obama http://tinyurl.com/qfvhd2
  • “It becomes an active listening experience [for the audience] when you’re allowed to stand up or clap your hands,” Music Director Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra http://bit.ly/5YfguZ
  • “We all need the occasional reminder that there is nothing like the power of art to destroy artificial barriers of race and doctrine” ‘Opera Goes to Church’ a moving experience http://bit.ly/4uvL8Y
  • Love this quote from the he(art) article: “Art has changed the way I look at things in the world. That change is profound and forever,” Buster Medeiros – Gotta have he(art) A hospital’s painting class places the focus on abilities, not disabilities http://bit.ly/1dK8Xo
  • Storytellers enchant audiences http://bit.ly/4wm4rg “The most important part of the story, is the listener’s imagination,” storyteller Beth Horner
  • From the Archive: Bronx Street Art “The Bronx may have been burning, and city budgets busted, yet En Foco embraced the idea that the arts were not a luxury, but a necessary part of life — perhaps even more so in tough times. ” http://bit.ly/HaN4j
  • “When you look at the realities of audiences, of marketing, of trying to fill a large hall, then it becomes obvious quickly that the best way to reinvest the resources you have is through collaborating with other groups.” Tim Sharp, Artistic Director Tulsa Oratorio Chorus
  • “I filled the house purely based on Facebook,” says da Cunha, one of the founders of Rage Productions.http://tinyurl.com/nk46hc “Mentally, we were all being too lazy. Let’s not market in the traditional way any longer with an advertisement… Students may not get the paper, but they will be on the Internet…We’re mentally starting to seek new ways to get out there because if we continue with the old way of marketing, then we will die,” da Cunha (Rahul da Cunha)

The ADS award goes to: Rahul da Cunha.  Simply put, if we want to see different results and live to see another day, we need to stop with the old way of marketing and begin a new journey of reaching out to our audiences – which is what audience development is all about.

Special mention goes to: the En Foco quote.  It was a quote with  a great deal of heart, and people came here to comment about it.

Best Audience Development Studies
The nominees are:

  • Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey (June 2009) – NEA http://bit.ly/aEEfly
  • State and Regional Differences in Arts Participation: A Geographic Analysis of the 2008 SPPA (December 2009) NEA
  • NYC study links arts, high school graduation http://bit.ly/36xgxP

The ADS Award goes to: Another big challenge for me to choose just one.  To me, any study about audience development is a winner.  If I have to choose just one, it would have to be the Wallace Foundation’s Engaging Audiences. This report presented the challenges and some of the potential solutions to building our audiences. I love reports that state the current statistics, but now more than ever, we need to be current with new and innovative ideas.

Special mention goes to: NEA’s State and Regional Differences in Arts Participation: A Geographic Analysis of the 2008 SPPA (December 2009).  I had the best time looking at all of the facts and figures with many moments of pleasant and unexpected surprises.

So there you have it.  If any of the winners are interested in receiving their official ADS certificate, please feel free to contact me.  Until next year, I’ll be scanning for more of the best Audience Development news to tweet.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Audience Development and the symphony orchestra-do you really want GenX?

This morning my thoughts are on the symphony orchestra, the musicians and the audience.  I recently went to a CMF concert where the musicians were mainly GenX’ers (27-43), but the audience was still mainly Baby Boomer and Silent generation (44+).  Why is it that orchestra’s seem to have no problems with refilling the performer seats, but have all the troubles of filling the auditorium seats with this age group?

Please allow me the ability to ramble a bit on this blog.  I hope my thoughts will lead to some useful solutions in the end.

Since I am GenX, I will be referring to this group as “we.”  We tend to have some disposable income at hand so GenX is a prime target for all of the arts.  However, are the arts seriously looking at what makes our generation tick and how to connect with us?  I am seeing a little more out of the comfort zone marketing to attempt to lure us, but for the most part, same old same old structures are still in place, and they do not work for us.

So here is a nutshell view of what the majority of GenX tends to lean towards:

1. We like it bold and quick.  If you don’t capture our MTV attention spans within the first few sections, you lose us.   This means that information needs to be short and sweet, filtered, bulleted, bold, colorful, and daring.  Once you have our attention, you have our attention.

2. We rarely tend to commit to package deals, unless they are flexible and convenient and/or something irresistible is a part of the deal.  Subscriptions are dying due to this lack of commitment from my age group.  I admit that I rarely buy subscriptions.    However, I do see that we tend to purchase season passes if we really enjoy something.  The Season Pass is different than a subscription.  For one, we can use it anytime we want as opposed to subscriptions that are mainly set concert packages with set dates.  Another reason Season Passes work is if they have some extra value attached to it.  My age group loves to buy if we can use the pass in more than one way.

3. My age group will go to a concert if there is a fun social activity attached.  Why do you think we purchase $50-$300 tickets to a rock concert?  We get to hang out with our friends and be a part of the scene.

4. With GenX, loyalty is built when relationships and trust are built.  We are the age group that may have had some exposure to the arts as kids, but it wasn’t pushed as a mainstream activity like it was for the Baby Boomers.  Why do you think typical marketing is not working for this age group?  Audience development is important to get the GenX crowd coming to your events.  Transparency and trust are needed to build relationships, two things that marketing alone isn’t very good at establishing.

5.We tend to listen to ourselves and our friends more than the media.   Find bright GenX’ers to be a part of your team. Getting GenX to become part of the audience means getting GenX’ers as staff and volunteers to help with the relationship building.

Lastly, to address the interesting point of young performers vs. young audience, I feel the big reason GenX may not be attending is the fact that GenX likes to participate.  If you take a look at our generation as a whole, GenX likes to be a part of the action, either as individuals or sometimes in groups.  We like to get our opinions out there; we like to make a difference; we like to tell people about new things that are happening.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at Twitter and Facebook.  I’m fairly certain that the majorityof the users are GenX (and GenY).    Some of the other users are people attempting to get in touch with GenX.

So, with this said, if you add more audience participation to the mix, GenX would really like it.  Going to a concert that forces us to be quiet the entire time is not what most of us consider fun.  Being a part of the concert is more fun.  I do believe there is a way to incorporate audience participation without offending the older generation.The neat thing is, when more audience participation is incorporated, most of the audience, regardless of their generation, has a great deal of fun and the concert will be more memorable, which helps build audience for future concerts and events.    This audience participation element also is good to use at your special events and gala to attract GenX to become donors and volunteers.

All in all, it really isn’t the fact that my generation doesn’t like classical music, it’s more due to the fact that the way classical music is sold and performed is not our bag.  The proof, look at internet sales.  Younger generations are buying classical music online.

If we don’t have a say in what and how we buy, and if there is no avenue for participation, most of us will not spend our hard earned money on a product that does not take our desires into account.

If you want to reach us, it may be time to make the changes that will reach us.

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.


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Great idea for audience development for symphony orchestras!

Springfield Symphony offering free ringtones

Now you can get short clips of the orchestra in concert on its Web site

By Andrew McGinn, Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD — Beethoven’s ninth has finally caught up to “I Kissed a Girl” and the “Super Mario Brothers” theme.
It’s now a ringtone — brought to you by an unlikely source of ringtones, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra…What started as an idea by the symphony’s audience development committee is now a reality…The idea, according to SSO Executive Director David Deitrick, is to get people talking about the local symphony whenever a phone rings… “They can be ambassadors for the symphony every place — except at a symphony concert,” he said.

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This is a really good idea.  I happen to have a Wagner Ride of the Valkyries ring tone and since it is different than most ring tones, people do happen to ask me about it.  I think the key is to find a piece of music that is a little different than the already popularized Eine Kleine, but having the actual symphony sound instead of the tinkling midi ring tone is definitely a step for getting some attention.

So what’s your ring tone?

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.


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Collaborating in tough times brings an audience development bonus!

Today I saw a collaboration in the news that was very encouraging.  There have been so many “tough times” articles, and I was very happy to see two arts organizations decide to team up to brave the economic storm together.

Jersey Symphony, Opera NJ team up in hard times

by Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger

Monday February 16, 2009, 6:45 AM

Although many arts groups are singing the blues, two New Jersey organizations are trying a new duet.

Opera New Jersey and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will collaborate on three productions this July in Princeton and a “Carmen” at three venues around the state next February.


What is fantastic about this collaboration is the fact that they will be sharing management, marketing, venues, performances (the opera is hiring the orchestra for performances instead of finding other musicians), and they will be sharing an audience with an announced  combined production.  This is a very smart move for these two organizations since they have similar missions,  and it will amount to growth for both organizations due to the combined efforts.  If they build relationships across the two organizations and their supporters, they are sure to benefit audience development wise too!

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

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