This question is one that every orchestra in the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century has asked. While the usual factors of aging audiences and reduced visibility still nag at the bottom line of many orchestras globally, classical music organizations are presented with the new problem of competing with more entertainment options than ever before. Society and human interaction have fundamentally changed since the advent and integration of digital and social technologies, along with the way that the public consumes music. It stands to reason that the concert experiences attached to orchestral music must change along with them to remain relevant. Indeed, there is a consensus amongst professional ensembles, as well as amongst marketing experts, that the music is not the problem in the lack of engagement of young audiences. Instead, it is how the music is presented, and the isolation of the classical concert experience from the rest of modern society.
Symphony 21, created by a millennial conductor who believes both in the innovation of the digital age as well as the timeless human beauty of orchestral music, seeks to address these issues, not by reinventing the wheel, but by removing that wheel from the wagon and attaching it to an electric hybrid vehicle. Symphony 21 presents a variety of orchestral and chamber concerts that incorporate aspects of video production, social media, livestreaming, and other visual arts. It also reframes the concert experience. Tails are out, modern suits with bold colours are in. Instead of thick program booklets, enhanced pre-concert talks with Q+A sessions administered through live-tweeting provide a more interactive way for audiences to learn about repertoire without attending a conservatory lecture. Think a craft beer bar, and an intimate post-show hang!
Symphony 21 believes that there is no problem with the music, but seeks to provide a platform for the music that binds us to reach audiences that may have never thought of themselves as classical music lovers. We let the music speak for itself, whilst finding new vehicles for it to be heard. A symphony for the 21st century....
- Jaelem Bhate, Artistic Director
Arts organizations rely on audiences. Our first devotion is to the people who attend our concerts, and as such, we are always finding new ways to allow more people to experience an evening with Symphony 21! We launched in August of 2019, and have already managed to turn some heads. Check out this feature on us in The Vancouver Sun.
If you are interested in supporting us, please consider making a donation or getting in touch to find out more about our sponsorship packages.
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