Posted on 23 September 2010.
Last spring, we updated Orchestra News readers on some research that had been done for Business for the Arts by Ipsos Reid on the attitudes of young, working Canadians towards closer engagement with arts and culture organizations. The study indicated that “three in ten (27%) would like to know more about how they can get involved in the arts and culture sector (compared to 18% of the Canadian general population), and 24% would like to spend more time volunteering in the arts (compared to 16% of the general population)”. In short: it’s good news, but what do we do with it?
A number of Canadian orchestras have risen to the challenge, by launching initiatives to better engage with younger Canadians. Here’s a round up of some initiatives we’ve been hearing about in recent weeks..
The Calgary Philharmonic is launching “Club Wolfgang” this fall with a poolside cocktail party. Club Wolfgang has been designed for music enthusiasts and emerging arts philanthropists between the ages of 20 and 40, and enables them to meet and network over cocktails, concerts, events and more. Similar to the CPO’s long-running Amadeus Patron Program, members receive special advantages including exclusive VIP receptions and recitals, concert ticket discounts and access to a behind-the-scenes rehearsal and tour of the Jack Singer Concert Hall. For a $500 membership contribution, patrons will receive these benefits for themselves and a guest for the entire season, and will be provided with a tax receipt of $250. Guests of the launch festivities will be entertained by the ever-popular Bell’arte Strings, a dynamic string quartet comprised of Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra musicians. On a Plexiglas stage over the pool, the ensemble will perform modern music with a classical twist, including Viva La Vida by Coldplay, Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, picks by Radiohead and The Beatles, and pieces by classical giants Mozart and Beethoven. www.cpo-live.com
A similar program – the TSO Young Leadership Council – has recently launched at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Here’s how it’s described on the TSO’s website: “The Young Leadership Council of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra represents the future leaders and supporters of the TSO. As a community, the YLC targets 30-40 year-old business professionals, providing a transition for those who aspire to greater involvement with the TSO in the future. The YLC hosts access events that enable young professionals to learn about, and deepen their understanding of the TSO and its positive impact on the city, while providing networking opportunities. YLC members also take advantage of the various activities that the TSO has to offer, including pre-concert lobby chats, education activities, and community events.” tso.ca
The Orchestre symphonique de Montreal has embarked on a younger audiences project of its own with a collaboration with MUTEK, linking orchestral music, electronica and video at the Molson Coors brewery at 10 p.m. on October 16. The program (led by Music Director Kent Nagano) starts with Pierre Boulez’s Messagesquisse and Gustav Mahler‘s Symphony No. 1 “Titan”, and then Berlin-based electronic music producer Thomas Fehlmann leads a variation on a theme from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” after which Mr. Fehlmann will do a solo performance, Berlin-based duo Substance & Vainqueur present Scion Versions Live – and Montreal creators Baya Cardell & fils will dress up the walls of the Molson Coors brewery warehouse with their video projections. osm.ca
The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra has just launched the LSO Access Pass, connecting young audiences with the LSO, and providing easy and affordable access to some of the hottest concerts in town. With funding support from TD Bank Financial Group, the Lethbridge Symphony will offer $12 tickets to patrons aged 15 to 29. lethbridgesymphony.org
And – during a recent teleconference among education and community engagement staff at Canadian orchestras – we were charmed to learn about the Noteworthy Kids program offered by the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra in Nanaimo, designed for music-loving children aged 8-13. The program, a season-long club, gives members the chance to attend orchestra rehearsals, meet musicians and conductors, learn about the instruments of the orchestra, meet like-minded peers, and volunteer at symphony events. And this year, members of the club will also be able to join a choir that will sing with the orchestra at its Christmas concert. vancouverislandsymphony.com
And – for a light-hearted guide on how NOT to attract younger audiences, you can read this insightful blog posting.