The classical concert is in crisis.
People don't come to concerts...
...what scares them away is concert rituals.
The most alienating of all classical music's rituals is that concerts take place in concert halls. So perhaps the way for classical music to gain a new audience is to get out of the concert hall?
The classical concert hall is like a museum, usually built ages ago, and seen by many as a dusty exhibition hall where old works are displayed as in a glass case. Concert halls scare the audience away, and this problem is particularly painful for contemporary music that was never written for the old concert halls anyway.
This is why many contemporary music ensembles are busy to get out of the concert hall. Contemporary concerts are increasingly played in old industrial buildings, in the streets, in department stores and other places that are not reminiscent of another time. The London Contemporary Orchestra, a participant in the NewAud project, recently gave a concert in a bike tunnel!
Looking for new venues is also about meeting a new audience where the audience happens to be located. A lot of contemporary pieces do, for example, mix well with both techno and other underground genres, and several ensembles have had the idea of playing hard core concerts late at night for a young audience at nightclubs. And if you want to attract the audience that loves theatre but haven’t discovered contemporary music yet – well, perhaps you should find a theatre to play in.
How do contemporary music ensembles throw off the burden of the classical concert hall, how should they choose the right place to play their music – and what guarantee is there that they’ll attract a new audience just because they choose a new venue?
These are questions that NewAud will help the participating ensembles answer.