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Live Tweeting the Symphony? 166

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-not-want dept.
Lasrick writes "Tom Jacobs at Pacific Standard describes desperate attempts to engage with younger audiences on the part of arts organizations who are scrambling to make their productions more interactive. But who really is more engaged: A live-tweeting audience member, or someone staring silently at the stage? Quoting: 'Not surprisingly, many performers and older patrons of the arts hate this idea, which they regard as pandering to the young. But thankfully, the debate over participatory art needn’t devolve into a depressing bout of intergenerational warfare. The controversy raises a number of questions that are hard to answer: Is sustained focus even possible in mass audiences anymore? If not, what have we lost?'"
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Live Tweeting the Symphony?

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  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:25AM (#43156809)

    I don't think the "younger generation" (read: damn kids) necessarily need interactivity. Although they don't watch TV much, they still watch a lot of video. Although they play games, they have an unprecedented tolerance for cutscenes. Just because they tweet all the time does not mean you need to have the tweetstream intertwine with the Now that you present.

    What places like the symphony need are simply content that is more relevant to those they want to attract. It's hard to sell traditional symphonic material to younger crowds, so provide that but also a bit of more contemporary stuff.

    They've already been doing that in a limited way with movie scores. An more advanced form of this is the rock band Guster, who is going around to a few select cities and playing many favorite songs that have been re-cast to work with the full symphony playing. The results are spectacular.

    That way you get younger listeners to understand why you might want to attend a full symphony, and will probably get them to attend more events. But you have to get them interested first.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Heck, evolve!
      Look at Apocalyptica!

      Sounds like Rock music, but all done on classical instruments!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Respect to Apocalyptica. (chest thump)
        They were the first awesome thing I also thought of when I read Superkendalls comment. Word up SuperKendall, you hit the nail on the head.

        Artists out there, don't give in to techno trends, make your art form relevant to your audience. They will come if you succeed. On the side then, art forms which grow the skills of focus and concentration over periods of time get my kudos. (Sorry for being AC)

    • by bimozx (2689433) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:58AM (#43156895)
      I have to fully agree with this. Like one of those Final Fantasy music orchestra concert that have been held a few times for the last few years. Or maybe the Legend of Zelda anniversary concert. You can bet those who attend both of these concerts are younger audience. I'm afraid people who tries to preserve Classic music is actually oblivious to the fact that those musics DO exist in the minds of young people, it's just that they are delivered through a different media and experience.
      • by EdZ (755139)

        Like one of those Final Fantasy music orchestra concert that have been held a few times for the last few years

        A very prime example: the latest Distant Worlds concert booked out the Royal Albert Hall within 2 hours of tickets going on sale, and most of that was due to unprecedented website load.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I have to fully agree with this. Like one of those Final Fantasy music orchestra concert that have been held a few times for the last few years. Or maybe the Legend of Zelda anniversary concert. You can bet those who attend both of these concerts are younger audience. I'm afraid people who tries to preserve Classic music is actually oblivious to the fact that those musics DO exist in the minds of young people, it's just that they are delivered through a different media and experience.

        Over the past 6 or so y

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bzipitidoo (647217)

      I've heard pretty much all the greatest classical music. It's good, but I've run out, and have had to look elsewhere for new material. Symphony orchestras aren't the place to look. They seem more interested in telling you that you're a dirty rotten pirate for even thinking of recording the music as they play, even when it's over 100 years old. The Meyerson in Dallas is plastered with signs that say recording devices are not allowed. They really seem to fear that if digital recordings leak out, there wo

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Where's some new material? Who composes orchestral music today?

        Some movie soundtracks are quite good, eg. Gladiator.

      • Who composes orchestral music today?

        Many composers still compose music for orchestra! Perhaps not many do it professionally, but, many excellent composers are otherwise employed as university professors, or as bankers. I know some!

        This is going to sound funny, but the problem is not a lack of composers; the problem is the orchestras. It is no one's job to review incoming scores. I'm serious! Any professional orchestra probably has a mountain of new compositions piled up on a desk somewhere, but it's no one'

        • by Kalvos (137750)
          Please make your thoughts about new compositions known to them. And to the wealthy patrons, and newspaper (what's that?), and radio station... etc. Quietly wishing for new material is a death wish.
    • What places like the symphony need are simply content that is more relevant to those they want to attract. It's hard to sell traditional symphonic material to younger crowds, so provide that but also a bit of more contemporary stuff.

      No, what places like the Symphony need is to get off this stupid idea that kids/teens belong in the opera house. Teens rebel against the older generation, rejecting everything they stand for, and that's a normal and natural phase in their development. Some kids/teens may genuinely be into classical though, and that's fine. Just don't try to push your notion of culture onto the ones who show no interest. Classical music is an acquired taste, not a forcefed one: don't be the Jehova's Witnesses of music.

      I used

      • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @03:18AM (#43157159) Homepage
        Teens rebel against the older generation, rejecting everything they stand for, and that's a normal and natural phase in their development.

        No, it's not. Maybe in your culture it is, but the rest of the world finds it bizarre. Other languages lack the "teen" suffix to the numbers 13-19 so they don't even know what a "teenager" is. Plenty of older children the world round are well-behaved and wish nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of their parents.

        • by chihowa (366380) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @09:38AM (#43159325)

          Teens rebel against the older generation, rejecting everything they stand for, and that's a normal and natural phase in their development.

          No, it's not. Maybe in your culture it is, but the rest of the world finds it bizarre. Other languages lack the "teen" suffix to the numbers 13-19 so they don't even know what a "teenager" is. Plenty of older children the world round are well-behaved and wish nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of their parents.

          That's not necessarily a bad aspect of our culture. Rejecting the prior generation's solution to problems when you're young and learning to synthesize your solutions with theirs when you're a little older is why our culture is so great at invention and innovation.

          Some cultures have so much respect for their elders' way of doing things that they continue bizarre rituals and have no idea what they were even supposed to accomplish anymore. The more these cultures emphasize tradition and denigrate rebellion, the less technological and scientific progress seem to come from them.

          This obviously doesn't fully explain the differences between our cultures, but there is clearly some value in bucking the system as a teen (especially when it's followed by the "mature" 20's).

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Has symphony EVER been attractive to youth?
      All those "performers and old patrons of the art" were once youth more interrested in Frank Sinatra than classical music.
      Why does classical music HAVE to appeal to everyone of all ages all the time?
      What makes classical music so special that it is often treated as if it were objectively superior music to all other forms of music.
      I like some forms of classical music, I didn't like any when I was younger (mostly because popular classical music sucks so badly). Why is

      • by grcumb (781340)

        Has symphony EVER been attractive to youth?

        It's all in how it's presented [youtube.com].

        Note to all: Not a rickroll. It's a masterpiece of symphonic comedy.

    • by OwenT (2778847)
      I think this hits the nail on the head. It's not about lack of focus, it's about lack of interest, and classical music doesn't suddenly get 'cool' because it's on Twitter.

      If you want to sell classical music to people, get them interested in it - get them involved in making it. Teach them the history - there's so much history there, and it brings it alive. Listen to Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony. Now learn the story behind it and listen again:

      http://www.pbs.org/keepingscore/shostakovich-symphony-5.html [pbs.org]
      • And realize that only a small fraction of the population is going to get interested in it, no matter how you try to sell it.

    • It's hard to sell traditional symphonic material to younger crowds

      Must not be too hard in general, since the people who like now it were once the younger crowd.

      • Must not be too hard in general, since the people who like now it were once the younger crowd.

        That only follows if the old people who like it now likedMust not be too hard in general, since the people who like now it were once the younger crowd. it when they were the younger crowd. As others has pointed out, that often wasn't the case.

    • Guster's not the only one to have done this. Despite all of the hate they get over Napster etc, you can't say no to Metallica performing live with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra [youtube.com].
    • by hackula (2596247)
      Our local orchestra started doing an annual Radiohead cover show for charity a few years back. It sells out the second tickets go on sale.
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      ...What places like the symphony need are simply content that is more relevant to those they want to attract. It's hard to sell traditional symphonic material to younger crowds, so provide that but also a bit of more contemporary stuff.

      While the younger crowd might appreciate the blending of classical scores with dubstep, chances are you're going to alienate the only base you've still got if you start down that route.

      Sorry, but as with art, you either appreciate symphonies for what they are, or you don't. I'm not going to re-work the Mona Lisa with flashing LEDs because the damn kids today can't put down their cell phones long enough to visit an art gallery.

      At some point, you are being very disrespectful to the artist.

    • Relevance is not absolute but contextual. If you remember as you went through life, first young and simple ideas and tunes and interactions, as you get older, your politics and sensibilites (often) mature and what used to be exciting and 'relevent' becomes, simple and unsophisticated, and newer attempts at cultural expression leave you cold.

      How many adults that listen to or enjoy classical music started out listening and enjoying classical music? I think that is a process of maturation and an appreciation o

    • by camg188 (932324)
      Good luck with that. It's a common tactic of merchants to play classical music in front of their stores to keep those darn kids from congregating there.
  • False comparison (Score:5, Informative)

    by starX (306011) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:41AM (#43156849) Homepage

    "But who really is more engaged: A live-tweeting audience member, or someone staring silently at the stage?"

    I know this is Slashdot, and I'm going to take a leap and say most folks here aren't in the performing arts, but I am, and your comparison is a false one. A live-tweeting audience member isn't necessarily engaged with the performance, but more importantly, audiences seldom sit silently and stare at the stage. The whole point of live performance is that the audience provides instant feedback to the performer and vice versa, and to each other. Some of the most energetic audiences of Shakespeare plays are teens (or younger children) who haven't learned to loathe the classics yet. The real question is what do audiences and performers gain by adding interactivity via twitter (et al) to the mix vs. what is lost.

    I'll float out there that, in many circumstances, phones and other wireless devices can cause interference with wireless microphone and backstage comm systems, so asking audiences to turn of their devices is a matter of ensuring that we don't get noise through AV systems. This will not affect all circumstances, of course, but it is a hard-deck restriction in many.

    • by fermion (181285)
      We have discussed this [slashdot.org] in reference to movies. The overall jist was that many people would be distracted by a phone during a movie, therefore we all have to put our phones away because a few do not have the ability to focus.

      I find phones to be slightly distracting during a movie, but I also find rowdy children and patrons who cannot stay seated for 180 minutes to be distracting as well. We deal with some of this, but not others. I argue that the real reason movies do not want texting is that it kills fi

  • I've been to Video Games Live several times, often at Wolftrap in VA. The house is constantly full to capacity, everyone has a great time, and the volunteers all say the same thing: "This is such a bigger turnout than _insert_classical_music_here_". Classical music is great and wonderful to listen to, but you shouldn't be surprised it doesn't draw the under-40 crowd.
  • Sustained focus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lorinc (2470890) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:25AM (#43157003) Homepage Journal

    Is sustained focus even possible in mass audiences anymore? If not, what have we lost?

    As an associate professor at the university, I can tell you many students have lost sustained focus, even in very small groups. If an explanation takes longer than 5 minutes, you lose them. If a problem takes longer than 5 minutes to solve, you lose them too. Starting 2 years ago, I modified all my lectures to have like "breakpoints" very often, so that no-one gets lost.

    However, I think we already lost the Cartesian approach to breaking problems into smaller tasks. If you give them a rather simple but big problem, very few students are able the break it down and solve each part. Most will just try a global solution for a few minutes, then try the internet for a global solution, and finally get bored and say it's too complicated. One of my hypotheses is that the internet permits to solve most of the problems instantaneously, so you don't need sustained attention anymore. For the few cases where it is needed, well, that's the difference between the elite and the others...

    • However, I think we already lost the Cartesian approach to breaking problems into smaller tasks. If you give them a rather simple but big problem, very few students are able the break it down and solve each part. Most will just try a global solution for a few minutes, then try the internet for a global solution, and finally get bored and say it's too complicated.

      Man, that is a scary observation. I hope there are still enough problem-solving people in the world to keep things going, we can only use so many

    • However, I think we already lost the Cartesian approach to breaking problems into smaller tasks. If you give them a rather simple but big problem, very few students are able the break it down and solve each part. Most will just try a global solution for a few minutes, then try the internet for a global solution, and finally get bored and say it's too complicated.

      Has top-down thinking ever come naturally to most people? I'm not sure, but I suspect that it's a learned skill.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "I think we have already lost the Cartesian approach" -- that kind of talking is what made me sleep during lectures. Why not just say, people have problems breaking problems into smaller tasks? Why involve some french philosopher?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        He did both. Are you saying this is too much information for you to process?

      • by hackula (2596247)
        He's gotta use that Phd for something!
    • by hackula (2596247)
      Which subject? I studied Philosophy, Poli Sci, and CS and graduated just a few years ago. Pretty much every class was fully engaged throughout my entire college experience in those subjects. Especially for Philosophy, engaging with what the professor is saying kind of the entire point. CS is not quite as engaging (a bit more lecture, a bit less discussion), but I would not think that someone who lacked this skill would even be capable of doing software development (and obviously most are upon graduation to
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Unfortunately all we're doing is encouraging that problem. Educational materials and lectures are supposed to use all sorts of tricks and multimedia to engage the learner now. At some point many people are going to find themselves presented with a problem to solve or a job to do that hasn't been carefully tailored for our entertainment, and very few of us are going to be equipped to do so.

  • Hey, brats (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:36AM (#43157035)

    This isn't a movie. These are real human beings performing in front of you, for you. Have some decency and be there instead of connecting to someone somewhere else. And GTF off my lawn!

  • So these young people of today are unable to maintain concentration for the usually under an hour of a typical classical concert either side of the interval?

    What is going to happen when they have to drive more than a couple of miles and will have to maintain concentration on a boring road with little excitement to recommend it.

    It is true that if you are even a little adventurous in your classical music going then you are going to have times where the music totally fails to engage you and the mind wanders. F

    • by hackula (2596247)
      Most have no problem watching 9 hours straight of Battlestar Galactica. I think this has more to do with the subject of focus rather than ability to focus. I enjoy classical music and go see it fairly frequently, but put me in a club with a rap concert and I will be asleep in 5 minutes flat. It is just a matter of taste.
  • "Is sustained focus even possible in mass audiences anymore? If not, what have we lost?"

    Of course it is possible. It requires only one thing: quality performance. If you pick the wrong topic, and you combine it with awful realization, all you get is a couldn't-care-less audience. A lot of people say that it's because today's audience is inferior in many ways, but I don't agree with that. If you create a really good performance, people will like it. And that doesn't mean that you have to make something sho
  • Well, are we listening to the complete Der God-Damn-Her-Dung (I'd be tweeting my ass off) or La Mer? All seriousness aside, however: in defense of those darn kids, most of the music heard at such events was made before there was recording. Lots of repetition. Certain performers have tried to deal with that by editing out (or down) thematic repetition. Yet that, too, is considered blasphemy in most quarters: how dare you not play every single note that Mozart or Beethoven wrote?

    But what probably matters more

    • Well, are we listening to the complete Der God-Damn-Her-Dung (I'd be tweeting my ass off) or La Mer? All seriousness aside, however: in defense of those darn kids, most of the music heard at such events was made before there was recording. Lots of repetition. Certain performers have tried to deal with that by editing out (or down) thematic repetition. Yet that, too, is considered blasphemy in most quarters: how dare you not play every single note that Mozart or Beethoven wrote?

      But what probably matters more than that is quality. Once upon a time in America, about 75 years ago, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Bartok lived in the same hood, within blocks of one another, in L.A. Toscanini, Stokowski, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Bernstein, all lived in this country and gave life to our culture. Walt Disney made a famous film with great music; our American Mozart, Gershwin, was an icon. Now, orchestras can't pay their musicians and a once-great culture is draining or drifting out of our cities. What rotted first, the chicken or the egg? Did we abandon quality or did it leave us? And, leaving America alone and taking a broader view: where are the new great composers? Since Shostakovich died (1975), has there been a significant symphonic composer? Can you name one?

      Glass, Copland, Britten? Tomita, Schnittke, Khachaturian? Khodaly, Salonen, Takemitsu? I've limited myself to significant symphonic composers (feel free to engage me on the error bars around "significant") who were alive as of your (pretty arbitrary) date of 1975. Do I need to go on, or are you satisfied that you were just fucking wrong?

  • But who really is more engaged: A live-tweeting audience member, or someone staring silently at the stage?

    The person staring at the stage is more "engaged" as far as the production itself. When you get immersed into media the point is to forget where you really are and the distractions that come with it (like your smartphone). Hence, someone who stops to tweet about a performance by definition has to break some of their focus on the stage to do the tweeting, and if they were that tuned into the event they would forget to do it.

    Remember when you went to the movies and something really fantastic or unexpected hap

  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @03:46AM (#43157235)
    Beethoven got dat fully sik bass. #yolo
    • Movement's coming out.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Tchaikovsky used cannons in his percussion section. Beat that, Beethoven.

      • @Tchaikovsky dont even know what the drop is. #yomommasofat
      • by RDW (41497)

        Tchaikovsky used cannons in his percussion section. Beat that, Beethoven.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington's_Victory [wikipedia.org]

        'It has had somewhat of a renaissance in recent years as it forms the centrepiece of the Battle Proms Concerts that take place at stately homes around the UK. This is the only concert series known to play the piece with the full complement of 193 live cannon: modern technology has allowed it to be played using electronic firing devices, operated by the orchestra percussionist.'

        'Beethoven had no illusions about its merits, and responded to similar criticism i

  • by fantomas (94850) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @03:51AM (#43157259)

    2300 years ago Plato was complaining that the invention of writing [wikipedia.org] had affected memory and attention span.

    The complaint that things aren't as good as they used to be, and the young don't have the wisdom of the old, is not a new phenomenon.

    • 2300 years ago Plato was complaining that the invention of writing [wikipedia.org] had affected memory and attention span.

      The complaint that things aren't as good as they used to be, and the young don't have the wisdom of the old, is not a new phenomenon.

      IIRC we find that sentiment stated on clay tablets from long before Plato.

  • The assumption that sustained focus in mass audience was possible in earlier age is just fanciful, ppl did and will always find things to distract attention from the subject. If the subject is not good enough to capture the attention of the audience the minds are going to wander no matter what
  • 'Not surprisingly, many performers and older patrons of the arts hate this idea, which they regard as pandering to the young.

    Well, the alternative is you can remain a venue for only the old, in which case your art form will die with the Baby Boomers.

    You think that's preferable, right?

  • by cruachan (113813) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:29AM (#43157387)

    It could be true that your average Jock is progressively loosing the ability for sustained concentration (did they ever have it, really?) but I see no shortage of talented young coders writing complex code. You can't do that if you can't do sustained concentration.

    Maybe we're going to end up with more of an intellectual elite again compared to the masses - which would not be desirable of course, but I don't think we're going to loose that ability from the population, per se

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      It could be true that your average Jock is progressively loosing the ability for sustained concentration (did they ever have it, really?)

      Your "average jock" will spend several hours in a row watching film, be it game or practice film, in order to better their performance, even at the high school level. Getting up into the collegiate and professional levels the amount of time spent watching and analyzing film gets even greater. Many professional athletes spend more time watching and studying film than they do working out, practicing for, and playing their sport. And as someone who played a sport at the collegiate level, let me tell you: wa

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:41AM (#43157425)
    There is more than one way to attract young people. Twitter and Facebook are unlikely since you're already telling people about something they already know but aren't particularly interested in. Youtube might work, but I doubt watching a video clip will attract most people. And then there's this: educating people while entertaining them. I learned more about appreciating classical music from this than I did my entire schooling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nodame_Cantabile [wikipedia.org] http://www.youtube.com/show/nodamecantabile [youtube.com]
  • Like waiting for the music to end when you applaud. As a (amateur) musician, the greatest disrespect you can give me is when you applaud directly after a solo. And yes, I know it is not meant disrespectfully. But please think of the musicians.
    • by Legion303 (97901)

      "the greatest disrespect you can give me is when you applaud directly after a solo."

      Huh. I see you've never played in a rowdy bar.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      With Jazz, it's acceptable and even encouraged to applaud after a solo.

      With Classical, sit on your hands until it's over.

      Have you ever been to a rock concert, and despite the two story speakers, not been able to hear the music very well because of all the idiots around you screaming their heads off and lighting each others hair on fire?

  • TFA:

    arts organizations who are scrambling to make their productions more interactive

    That's all swell and spiffy, but consider that popular culture has been given a general dumbing-down, for decades.
    You can blame a lot of people, e.g. Godless Commies, and the Semi-Conscious Liberation Army, the Tri-Labial Commission, and so forth, but the bottom line is with the individual. We all have to spend time finding useful bits of culture, and preserve them.
    By the time my little guy is a teen, we'll go enjoy that

  • I don't think the question should be whether a tweeting teen is focused, but how much their tweeting is distracting others. Even in a performance hall (as opposed to a movie theater) the light from a cell phone or tablett can be extreamly distracting. If I was in a performance hall that allowed tweeting, I would probably look for another performance hall (I just happen to be in an area where there are several I can choose from). Yeah, I may be attached at the hip to my phone, but I know when to turn the thi

  • While at our regional team's hockey games I regularly observe around 1/3rd of the audience on their various smartphones. This isn't just during intermissions or even slow parts of the games, but during fights, people smashing into the boards in front of them, etc. I think they look up when the crowd goes mad for a goal; I think.

    I don't understand as these tickets aren't exactly cheap but unless these people are somehow interacting with the game (say voting on who goes on the ice next or if the last call w
  • Tweeter mostly appeals to those losers who have been raised up by over-indulgent boomers and taught that their every thought and action was valuable and meaningful and MUST be shared with the world at large. I hate when TV shows think its cool/trendy to post tweets of viewers in real time, 99.5% of which are moronic and distract from the viewing experience for everyone else. However, I grant that it can be useful to broadcast breaking news of importance to citizens, not including tweets from entertainers
  • Why would kids go to a concert when they can just wait for the torrent to download? If they are too cheap to spend $.99 for a song, why do you think they would shell out $25+ for a Symphony ticket?
    • Old people wondering why young people are not going to live performances anymore? It's called cost. Price of tickets has been going up and up, and young people's incomes have been going down and down. A live performance is too damn expensive for young people anymore. I'm middle aged and I seldom go to concerts because they cost so much.

      • by neminem (561346)

        Interestingly, the local symphony here in Long Beach just started an initiative obviously designed to appeal to a younger audience - changing the rules for the upper balcony to include, yes, "feel free to take your phone out and tweet" (which I think is dumb, but whatever, if you want to, as long as you dim it and leave it on silent...), and "feel free to leave and buy drinks during the concert and then come back" (doesn't appeal to me, but I bet they make more that way selling their overpriced drinks...).

  • Of course sustained focus is *checks incoming e-mail message... nah, just spam* possible all you need to do *need to remind myself to update my to do list... ah, I'll just do it now... ok, done* is cut back on distractions and *wonder if there are synonyms for distraction.... looks them up on Thesuarus.com... ooh, "divertissement" is nice... nah, I'll stick with distraction. Speaking of sticking, I wonder when the next episode of Spider-Man is coming on and what it will be about. Maybe I should check Wiki

  • I don't see how tweeting about the symphony while watching the symphony is a bad thing. you are reflecting on/discussing what is going on around you.
    how many people here have regularly attending the symphony? My wife went to IU music, played in symphonies for years, and we have been BSO season ticket holders for years so i speak with some knowledge here.
    The symphony does not require full attention.
    why do they give you the huge program full of info on the works, the performers, the hall, etc? to give you

  • I think Jacobs doesn't understand the economics of the performing arts. The performing arts are largely a legacy of the feudal systems of the Middle Ages. Symphonies, like theater troupes and opera companies, depend on patronage to survive, not the box office. Ticket prices for a given performance are set high enough to keep the riff-raff out, with the gap between the production costs and the box office being closed by wealthy patrons. For a symphony to survive, they would be better served to figure out how to keep and increase their patronage, not their audience. Wealthy people aren't always motivated by the lure of profit (they are already wealthy, after all) but being recognized by their wealthy peers as a patron of the arts does have value. That is what symphonies should try to exploit, the enhanced social standing that those performances provide to their wealthy patrons. I guess a case could be made for attracting the children of their wealthy patrons, but that is decidedly not the same case as attracting the children of the riff-raff that are already structurally excluded on purpose.
    • by Kalvos (137750)
      This is the old school of thinking. Symphonies no longer have the status they once had -- because younger audiences (and that includes the younger rich audiences) no longer see them that way. In the U.S. they've been educated out of equating the symphony with something important.
  • I would be in favor of the ushers having stunguns to take care of anybody making noise (loud enough to be heard outside of a 1/2 meter circle).

    But yes i would say that having some more "modern" stuff and stuff that Rocks would help things.

    A Challenge to The Beiber (or whoever the current TweenStar is) have a performance where you are backed up by The New York Philharmonic (or any series of Named Orchestras). Bonus points if you sing Live and UnTuned.

  • by coldsalmon (946941) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @09:23AM (#43159167)

    Is logical argument even possible on the internet anymore? If not, what have we lost?

    The core audiences of the internet—older, white, well-to-do elites—are not replacing themselves as they age out of their DSL connections. To survive, news websites must create vapid articles full of made-up controversies and straw-man arguments. By making up a series of "facts" without any valid support, these sites are able to trick their readers into believing that they are using their reasoning faculties to address an important issue. Not surprisingly, many web journalists and older netizens hate this idea, which they regard as pandering to the young. But thankfully, the debate over made-up journalism needn’t devolve into a depressing bout of intergenerational warfare. The controversy raises a number of questions that are hard to answer: Is the use of facts and reason even possible on the internet anymore? If not, what have we lost? But part of the discussion, taken on its own terms, boils down to a fairly tractable psychological question: Who, really, is more engaged? Is it the reader who zips through a dozen poorly-researched or made-up articles and posts them to Slashdot, or the one who realizes that it's all a bunch of bullshit and decides to get some real work done?

  • Live tweeting is already happening at a lot of nonpop concerts ... chamber music, especially, and even at symphony concerts -- by the performers. I follow a harpist who tweets and posts photos during long periods of rests.

    The whole discussion is really deep desperation on the part of orchestras, and not just in the U.S. Orchestras are shutting down across Europe as well. As likely one of the few actual composers on Slashdot (this is me [maltedmedia.com]), I'm not awfully sorry about it. I've written a few dozen orchestral co

  • I've heard some talk about encouraging live tweeting at my Church too. We are not one of those new touchy-feely casual contemporary churches, and our services are about as old-school as you can get without doing it all in Latin. We don't really want to change that, so I guess there is a lot of searching to find some way to freshen our appeal without changing what our current membership loves. This seems to be exactly the situation you are in.

    Where livetweeting is really successful is sporting events. Havi

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @10:38AM (#43159969) Homepage

    "Desperate attempts to engage" us drove me and my wife away from our local symphony , the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, CA. We had season tickets for several years. Then they started showing video on a huge screen at their performances -- not all the performances, but about half. It was incredibly annoying. They'd play something that was supposed to be pastoral, and on the giant screen they'd put pictures of mountains and forests and streams -- not the landscapes that I wanted to imagine while listening to the music, but the landscapes that they wanted me to see. They'd do a piano concerto, and for the entire duration of the piece, they'd project live video of the soloist's hands from above, moving around on the screen. Incredibly annoying. We started trying to figure out which concerts had video, and we wouldn't show up for those. When it came time to renew our season tickets, we didn't. We figured we'd just buy tickets to individual performaces that we knew wouldn't have video, but in reality that was too much of a hassle, so we never went back.

    Hey, Pacific Symphony, want me and my wife back in your concert hall, helping to fill seats and keep you afloat financially? Then please bring a bunch of musicians out on the stage and have them play good music really well.

  • This is just an example of the older generations 'not getting it'. This has all happened before and it will all happen again, and again, and again.

    Your parents said the same sort of things about you at one point. The specifics were different, but the people acting the same.

  • Excerpt:
    The very clever Schickele writes music in the name of P.D.Q Bach which pokes fun at the greatest classical works, but at the same time, by poking fun, he demonstrates the utmost respect for it.

    Who else would make Beethoven's Fifth Symphony the subject of sports commentators? P.D.Q Bach does in New Horizon's in Music Appreciation, possibly the funniest segment of classical music ever written. And yet, without realising it, you actually learn about the music too. The ideas of themes, motifs, cadenzas,

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein

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