V.com weekend vote: What motivates you most to go to a live concert, the program or the performers?

October 8, 2022, 11:34 PM · What motivates you to get tickets, set aside an evening, and get yourself to a live concert? Is it the program, or the featured performer(s)?

performer or program

And if that is too hard to think about as a general question, think about the last time you attended a live concert; what made you go?

When the season programs come out for the local orchestras, I'll confess that the first thing I look for is, "Which violin soloists are coming to town?" It is quite likely that I'll mark my calendar for those concerts and really try to go, whether they are violinists I've seen many times, or newer violinists that I'm curious to hear.

I also get pretty jazzed for my favorite orchestral works, and I do like the big productions. Wow did I love it, a number of years ago when the LA Phil played all the Mahler Symphonies - I went to all of them! And when it comes to something like opera, yes, I'll show up for Porgy and Bess and probably look at the cast only after I've secured the tickets.

But the last time I attended a concert, it was because I wanted to see a certain performer - I wanted to see violinist Nathan Cole play Mozart Concerto No. 4 at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil - and he completely hit it out of the park, what a great performance.

What motivates you to attend a live performance? Would go to see a certain performer, even if you weren't crazy about the repertoire or didn't know the repertoire? Would you go to a concert just to hear a certain piece, above all? What drove you go to the last performance that you attended? If you buy season tickets, what primarily motivates you to get a certain package - is it the featured artists, or the repertoire? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts about it in the comments.

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Replies

October 9, 2022 at 07:26 AM · The last concert I attended was a London Philaharmonic one at the Royal Festival Hall in London. I went because it was the LPO, but also because they were playing a Mozart piano concerto which I had never heard before (to now, its still the only one I've heard, although I don't remember which one it was). The pianist was someone I'd never heard of.

October 9, 2022 at 09:39 AM · A difficult question, Laurie: I would have liked an option for both! Ultimately, I voted for repertoire, but the thing is that artists I like generally play music that I like, and that’s a factor in my liking them.

October 9, 2022 at 01:04 PM · I chose repertoire, albeit with some hesitation. There are some concerts I will not go to because I don't like the repertoire, even if my favorite soloist is performing at the concert. That said, occasionally I will choose a concert with a particular soloist even if I am not totally thrilled with the repertoire.

October 9, 2022 at 02:13 PM · For me it’s the program all the way. I don’t like solo music all that much; I don’t listen to concertos on my own unless I have to for some reason. And I don’t have favorite performers the way I have favorite composers. The one exception is if I know the performer(s) personally, then I’m excited to go see and hear them play. Sometimes a small intimate venue will simulate that. One of the orchestras I play with has its members play solos. I had the opportunity to do that myself several years ago. And the other has occasional local soloists from around the area, music professors and the like, and a Young Artists competition. I enjoy playing these concerts in part because I get to spend rehearsal time with the soloist and get to know them a little bit.

October 9, 2022 at 03:40 PM · My husband and I just bought tickets to two concerts for the first time since before Covid and we're about to buy tickets for another one. Both were chosen for the performers first; program second. I'm with Tom H. regarding the program being a deal breaker for us.

October 9, 2022 at 06:22 PM · Actually both choices. We like the performers in the local community and professional chamber groups and orchestras. We also like the chamber series in a nearby town.

Occasionally there is a "NAME" performer who captures our attention and if there are reasonable priced tickets we will get tickets for that performance.

We still prefer community orchestras. These are people who play for the sheer joy of performing. I used to be one of them but my performing days are behind me. My body is no longer sufficiently reliable to prepare for and perform a full program.

October 9, 2022 at 06:25 PM · I'll see anyone I haven't seen before playing interesting repertoire, but IF THEY BETRAY ME when I see them, then I will avoid them in the future even if they are playing repertoire I like. I used to try and give players a second chance, but every time has confirmed my first impression, so I don't really bother anymore.

For example, this season, I'm avoiding Leila Josefowicz even though I love Szymanowski's Mythes, and I'm avoiding James Ehnes, even though I will always see the Beethoven Concerto. I'm also avoiding Jackiw because he comes with the subscription I would normally get, but I forget what he's playing.

October 9, 2022 at 09:27 PM · I voted “program,” although I’ve sometimes made the decision based on the performer. I did most of my concert-going in my student years; but now my schedule keeps me away. My days begin at 4:30 AM. By 8:30 PM, I regularly start to fade and prefer to start winding down. Then, too, I’ve long had a strong aversion to being on the road after dark; so I avoid it. Most performances are, unfortunately, in the evening.

But I do one of the next-best things - namely, bring performances right into the home via YouTube. Thanks to today’s audio technology, videography, and big screens, I get a great view of each section or soloist - and some great sound. With this delivery method, I sometimes split my searches - mostly for programs, sometimes for artists. I’m not getting all this for nothing - I’m a paying YouTube Premium subscriber.

October 10, 2022 at 01:24 AM · Usually it's the program. I only go for performers in rare cases: either because I think they're clearly a generational talent (for me this list currently consists only of Hilary Hahn, Yo-Yo Ma, and Radek Baborak), or because I have some kind of personal connection to them. The only violinists I've gone to concerts specifically for are Hilary Hahn (generational talent) and Rachel Barton Pine (friend of a friend).

But in general, I don't even go for the concerto unless it's a really interesting concerto. Most of my decisions are based on the symphony on the program. In fact, I've often gone to concerts in spite of the concerto on the program: I've heard the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in concert more often than any other piece even though I find the third movement extremely irritating, and that's because it's so often been paired with symphonies I want to hear.

October 10, 2022 at 02:10 AM · Pretty stark binary choice we had to make there! I voted "program" but I've attended lots of shows based on the performer too.

October 10, 2022 at 12:09 PM · The last time I attended a concert simply to enjoy the performance as audience was, I think, a very long time ago. I wonder, does that mean I'm not really a true musician?

October 10, 2022 at 12:33 PM · The performers along with hearing it live than a recording. For one thing when I go to a live show I enjoy hearing things such as nuances that I do not hear on a recording. I also love watching a musician's techniques hoping that I might can glean something useful.

October 10, 2022 at 05:07 PM · Both, really. But certain or top performers got the nod. Sometimes it is both - just saw Paul Neubauer and Chad Hoopes with Santa Fe Pro Musica - they were playing Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, but Paul was the draw for me. He played beautifully of course, as did Chad the the ensemble, too. And, Paul played with the original Scordatura tuning on the viola, which I'd never heard before. A lot going on there!

October 10, 2022 at 10:16 PM · Any other time in my life, I'd have chosen repertoire. Then there was covid (and the fact that I have far too many immunosuppressed friends). So what got me back into Sydney opera house was the chance to see Hilary Hahn live - who knows when she'll make it back to Sydney again.

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