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I hear much to do about the state of music, how concert halls are empty and audiences dont hear enough classical music, or that modern music is scaring them out of the concert halls. But I wonder....

How often are you in the concert halls?

So in an informal survey I ask the following question:

  1. How often do you attend a classical music event?
    1. if you attend classical music events, what was the last concert you attended and what did they play?
    2. Was it a full audience or were their many chairs empty?
    3. How was the event?
  2. How often do you hear fellow composers music in concert
    1. if so where, who, and when was the last concert you attended?
    2. How did you like it?
  3. Do you attend classical music festivals such as the Aspen School and Festival or the Proms?
    1. How did you like it
  4. Do you attend free concerts or do you buy tickets?
  5. Do you attend chamber works concert, recitals, or other smaller concert?
  6. How often do you have your own work programed onto concerts?
  7. Do you attend composer conferences and festivals?
    1. If so what was it like?

If non of the questions above apply to you answer the follow below:

  1. If you do NOT attend any concerts what so ever, why?
  2. Do you hear of concerts around you on TV or other advertisements?
  3. What is the general feelings towards classical music and going to concerts among your group of friends and family?

If you have anymore to add please do beneath the questions that you answer.

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Great pictures, Chris!   You saw/heard Simon Rattle live?   Whoo weee .... I am envious.  He's one of my favorite conductors, next to MTT.  I would have preferred the Mahler as well, but hey with Sir Simon, who cares?

I don't attend many live concerts because I'm too busy attending online concerts or rehearsing for our own live concerts!  I listen to classical performances on the average of 2 - 3 hours per day.  And I mean really listen - with the score in one hand, sometimes a baton in the other, barefoot and feeling the music in every cell of my body.  I like to stop the music and play a section again to get deeper into the score - it's hard for me to sit in a live concert because they don't hand out scores or replay certain sections over and over.   ;-)   

However when I do attend live concerts - which is about once a month - I'm totally enchanted by the magic of the sound, the sparkling chandeliers, the rustling of programs and my favorite part - the orchestra tuning up.   I even love hearing the audience cough.

The great news is that in my area - Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill in North Carolina, USA - concerts are extremely well attended, often sold out and the average age is getting younger and younger.  Our NC Symphony plays in wine bars, outdoor venues, special events and they are gradually becoming a part of Joe Doe's daily life.   Everyone in the state has heard the symphony play and feels an "ownership" in the things they do.   It's an exciting time for classical music ...

  1. As often as time allows. once every 3 or 4 months? depends on what is performed and if I can go to athens at the time to watch it(this city doesn't have a proper music hall). it was this one http://beta.koa.gr/en/Events/a_farewell_concert_in_honour_of_dimitr... . a 3 piece work by Agrafiotis himself, schumann symphony no. 2, chopin concerto no. 2. I remember it fairly full-not packed though. I personally didn't like Agrafiotis' pieces and his conducting was not really my cup of tea. The concerto was, however, terrific. From the first time I listened to Apostolos Palios (hammerklavier and schubert sonata in Bb major) I was stunned-I'll propably won't miss any chance to listen to him again, if I can.
  2. I don't. But in the athens concert hall there are usually at least a couple of new music concerts each season. 
  3. doesn't apply to me. (f we had any around, I'd propably attend)
  4. Free or paid makes no difference if I like the music. Almost all are paid though.
  5. Orchestral works, solo piano works (or piano concertos) are my main focus, but I won't rule out a concert because of the ensemble itself.
  6. doesn't apply to me.
  7. never had the chance

Just a few things about our concert hall:

The concert hall in athens holds some kind of musical event at least once or twice a week, sometimes more than one in the same day (but propably during different times of the day). Usually, the state orchestra plays every friday, unless there is some other big name taking it's place at that day, and any other events (foreign orchestras, soloists, whatever) go for suterday. They sometimes have concerts on weekdays as well(they favor wednesdays for some reason), but it's hard for me to go to those. Every friday they also have concerts with students from music schools, for free. Apart from that, there are various other events(conferences, opera, ballet etc.), but I don't follow those. The prices range from very good to so so. The student ticket applies only for the back seats and the balcony, and is usually around 10 euros or lower.  the discounted ticket usually applies for people below 25 yo, people with no job (certified with a card, after that person meets certain criteria), and disabled people. the class A seats (it's class C, B, A and vip) which are excelent (center, just a few meters away from the stage) usually cost 20-30 euros, but it's not unheard of for it to be 15 euros or as high as 40 euros. Class A is my choice, unless it's really expensive (over 30 euros).

The hall looks fairly crowded most of the times, and for big names (soloist or composer) tickets getting sold out is almost certain. The "Argerich and friends" cycle, for example, was sold out a week before the concerts (there were the VIP seats available, but that was about 55 euros). The greek audience is also fairly enthousiastic, it's really fun to watch them clap again and again, even after a second encore has been played.

As a sidenote, there are many music events in the various ancient theaters during summer, although most of those are not classical. I attended Canto General by Mikis Theodorakis this summer, which could be concidered "classical" in a way (although not stylistically). The theater was completely full, the concert was incredible, the audience went wild. Tickets started from 15 euros or so.

All in all I fell that people are actually not ignoring classical music. Yes, the hall is rarely really full, but I see many of my friends that are not even remotely interested in classical music accepting the idea of going to a concert. They do favor ballets, but with just a little persuation they'll join me in a music concert.

Greece is way more cultured than the UK by the sound of it. I despair how popular culture and the mass media has destroyed everything here.

How cool!   I live within a bicycle ride of UNC-CH.  Yes, it's a little paradise here ... a bubble of beauty and culture ... but don't tell anyone.  We have just the right size population, and don't want to outgrow our natural boundaries!!

Chris Alpiar said:

I have family in Chapel Hill, the husband of my aunt is a professor at UNC-CH and they live in a most incredible home in the suburb there. What a beautiful area.

  1. How often do you attend a classical music event?
    1. if you attend classical music events, what was the last concert you attended and what did they play?
    2. Was it a full audience or were their many chairs empty?
    3. How was the event?


2-4 times a year + some amateur recitals. The last concert I have attended was during a free music festival organized by the quartet "Sine Nomine" for their 30th anniversary of their foundation. It was in a church with some tier added and it was full. And it was very nice, great playing!

How often do you hear fellow composers music in concert

if so where, who, and when was the last concert you attended?
How did you like it?

Never for the moment...

Do you attend classical music festivals such as the Aspen School and Festival or the Proms?

How did you like it?

I attended a quite small festival but the performers were quite good (London Royal Philharmonic / Charles Dutoit / Martha Argerich) and I enjoyed it a lot.

Do you attend free concerts or do you buy tickets?

Most concert I attend are free or someone give me a ticket, but sometimes I pay it.

Do you attend chamber works concert, recitals, or other smaller concert?

Yes, also.

How often do you have your own work programed onto concerts?

Fort the moment not often. Many times i play one of my one pieces when I do a piano recital but of course when the composition is commissioned it's performed.

Do you attend composer conferences and festivals?

If so what was it like?

Only attended a master class by film composer Alexandre Desplat. It was really interesting.

oh, we have our share of shit, trust me. Entertainment here deteriorated a great deal during the 90's-a combination of a higher quality of life and various "syndromes" greeks never overcame, brought us a big pile of shit (all those greek stereotypes you know of are not without base). The good thing is that despite this, good quality entertainment was always there for those who wanted it, sometimes surviving through rough times and harsh conditions with very little funding and support from the state. 

The one thing I'm greatful about is that the prices for most classical music concerts are pretty affordable, even for someone with small income (a student for example) or no income at all (someone who has no job). Especially if you consider that the friday ticket in a big cinema complex is 9 euros (not counting the 3.5 euros for the nachos and the 2 euros for the coke, lol) or that having a drink downtown in athens is usually at least 7 euros, or maybe even more.

It would be interesting to hear from others coming from non-english countries (UK and USA) about how "your" pop culture infiltrates their society. But that's for another thread. 


Adrian Allan said:

Greece is way more cultured than the UK by the sound of it. I despair how popular culture and the mass media has destroyed everything here.
  1. How often do you attend a classical music event?
    1. if you attend classical music events, what was the last concert you attended and what did they play?
    2. Was it a full audience or were their many chairs empty?
    3. How was the event?
  2. How often do you hear fellow composers music in concert
    1. if so where, who, and when was the last concert you attended?
    2. How did you like it?
  3. Do you attend classical music festivals such as the Aspen School and Festival or the Proms?Do you attend free concerts or do you buy tickets?Do you attend chamber works concert, recitals, or other smaller concert?
    1. How did you like it
  4. How often do you have your own work programed onto concerts?
  5. Do you attend composer conferences and festivals?
    1. If so what was it like?

I personally try to attend as many music concerts as I can. Luckily, even though I live in a really conservative area with a smaller population than most cities, the arts are very well supported here. I also attend many of the concerts held on my campus, as well as some of the church concerts such as the Vespers Series in which the First United Methodist church brings in wonderful soloist and chamber ensembles to perform a concert. Last year they managed to get the Vienna Boys Choir. This year I missed the concert due to my own concert I was in, but they had gotten the vocal quartet New York Polyphony. 

The last concert I went to was our local symphony orchestra's concert. In it, they played Pavaune pour une infante défunte by Ravel and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43 and Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 by Rachmaninoff. This concert also had guest pianist Conrad Tao. It was such a wonderful concert. 

The local symphony usually has two performances, Friday and Saturday. I usually go to the second one which has less people in attendance, however its still usually a full house with few empty seats. 

As far a fellow composers concerts, I attend them all. Be it the composer in residence at the local symphony, or my fellow composer at school. The concerts that contain the composer-in-residence are always very very well attended. However, Our composers concerts at school are not, but its not due to the music. Its due to very poor planning. As composers at my school, we tend to focus so much at getting the music together that often we forget to advertise the concert. We have even had people walk into our concerts not realizing we were having a concert. Hopefully this year we can plan better and and boost attendance. I know that is a personal mission for me. Our concerts themselves are very good. It displays just how diverse our composer are. 

As far as festivals and conferences, I do not attend enough. I use to go to the National Association of Composer Texas Chapter Annual Conference every year. However, due to moving so far away, its so much harder to attend them let alone submit music to them (since our chapter is so small, often the composer is required to provide their own performers, an expense I cant afford at the time.) I hope to go to the Cabrillo Festival this year, granted my piece is chosen. I also want to go to the Society of Composers Inc. annual conference and the fairly new festival for new music Fast Forward Austin as well. I also hope one day I can attend the Aspen Music Festival and School, not just as an attendee but as a composer. 

These conferences are always so much fun, and I hear so much new and interesting music. I also like hearing my own music performed outside of academia. Even if it is not a new music festival, they are always so much fun. 

Here, most of the concerts are free. All Texas Tech University Concerts are for the most part free, unless its a special concert or one with a guest artist. Symphony tickets are usually $15, or if you wait for student rush, with a valid school ID its $5. Of course, the price goes up for the best seats and of course you can also by season tickets like I did last year. The chamber concerts around town are all different prices. Lubbock Symphony Chamber concerts are usually always $15 with no student rush. The Vesper Series are usually free, and Composer concerts are as well free. 

When I am in Austin, the price of tickets are usually more expressive. But I usually only go to concerts there during christmas season and they are usually only playing the Nutcracker. 

As far as my own concerts, I try to have at the very least two pieces programed on a concert or two every year. That number goes up depending on the number of competitions and conferences I submit to. 

I saw Puccini's operetta Rondine about a month ago, which was great. Prior to that I probably have not attended any professional classical music performances in 20 years. I was part of the Baltimore Composers' Forum for about 5 years in the late 90s/early aughts and went to every concert the group gave (about 4 performances a year). Although I went to concerts much more often when I was younger, I have lost interest in it. I don't want to sit in a chair for 2-3 hours and listen to old stuff. The few times I went to shows which had new works, I didn't care for that either! I much prefer musical theatre or sitting in a bar downtown with a beer in hand, listening to live classic rock or blues. The only professional performance of anything I have written is a children's ballet which I co-wrote with another composer about a future city, which was performed by the Springfield Illinois Ballet company many years ago.

It's rare I'll attend a live classical program. The last live classical program I attended was in Dec. 2012 near Jan. 2013. Said event included classic classical Christmas works; twas a full-house. I left before the concert came to a conclusion, because I didn't feel like being polite and remaining when the music wasn't well-performed and I wasn't feeling well.

I would've went tonight to hear/see a private teacher's/friend's work at free concert, but I don't have the funds for gas, tolls, and parking, and I don't feel well-enough to go. I don't, however need to go to such an event to hear/see "new" works in-concert from fellow composers: I need go as far as the internet to watch the video of a concert. I often don't like "new" works; works of the "modern" age are either under-developed or over-developed, and I would include what I write for music in that mix.

I don't attend musical festivals, because I don't have the time/space/resources to go. It'd be wonderful to be 20 again, armed with what I know at 30, because I'd go to a lot more of this, that, and other. When I did attend festivals, concerts, recitals, and other musical events, I didn't care if it cost me or if it were free; it was all about the musical experience.

I'm my biggest advocate. If I'm not asking people if I can write for their ensembles as well as be programmed, then I'm not doing a service to my career. I'd attend an ASCAP event, in order to become a better advocate and a better composer, but I lament that the events are located in places that I cannot afford to go to.

The general feelings concerning classical music in this area within my age bracket our (in order of most to least complained about): "... classical music is boring", "... classical music isn't relatable", "... classical music is bad". Fighting these types of feelings makes getting music performed a challenge.

I do ask that question in the body of the post. And besides, I would like to know if you are a janitor at a concert hall, because depending on the concert hall you might get to hear concerts for free. I know at my local symphony the janitors do not get to hear concerts for free. This is due to the fact that the hall is located in a civic center and janitors spend most of there time during the concerts in other parts of the building cleaning and prepping for the next event. However at the Long center in Austin, janitors do watch the concerts. You can see them usually by the doors with the ushers.

true, thats why the question is asked better along with many other questions in the body of the thread. 

Saul Dzorelashvili said:

I'm not a janitor no, lol, but dont you agree that the question could have been asked a little better?

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