I recently heard that the chamber orchestra associated with a local symphony orchestra would be playing an all-Bach concert this weekend -- two works by J.S. Bach, and one each by two of his sons. I was enormously excited -- I've loved J.S. Bach all my life (LITERALLY all my life!). Having started playing violin recently -- and also having recently joined a beginners' orchestra -- I was looking forward to a) hearing some of my favorite music performed live, and b) being able to observe trained orchestral violinists in action.
This afternoon I phoned the performing arts center where the concert is to be held to find out about ticket prices and availability. My heart sank when I found out that a ticket costs nearly $30. I'm out-of-work, so we're down to one income in our household. I scouted around to find an affordable violin teacher, and so far have been able to put together the needed funds for a weekly lesson. But a single concert ticket would cost more than two weeks of lessons. I'd invited my mother to go to the concert with me -- she insisted she'd only go if she could pay for her own ticket. She's 89 years old, and on a fixed income. Obviously, our attending the concert on Sunday isn't going to happen.
I realize that orchestras have overhead expenses. But it seems to me that if they lowered their ticket prices to a level that more people could afford, they'd not only sell more tickets, but also extend access to the Arts to people who now have no chance of being able to experience a live orchestra performance.
Does anyone else feel that orchestras are pricing themselves out of the market? Are the Arts being held hostage, accessible only to those with large bank accounts? I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's point of view.
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