Will Covid wipe out large-scale classical music?

October 7, 2020, 7:56 AM · Our orchestra has yet to meet since the outbreak. But will live orchestras be viable in a post-covid world?

Replies (124)

October 7, 2020, 8:12 AM · Elise:
The Covid crisis increasingly affects so many aspects of life for everyone, and its resolution appears so uncertain and so far off in the future, that the question you raise is (I am sure) is in the minds of every musician and music-lover.
Let us hope and pray that the answers can be found, and as soon as possible.
Edited: October 7, 2020, 8:28 AM · They were viable in a post-Spanish-influenza world.
The threat to long-term viability will mostly come from the moneyed.
Edited: October 7, 2020, 10:13 AM · I don't know, Elise. The talent pool is still there and maybe stronger than ever. My understanding is that it's kind of propped up largely by a few old rich people of the "noblesse oblige" variety, so I think it's a question of whether their priorities shift due to the pandemic. Maybe they will all decide that they would rather get their entertainment from Tik Tok, but I'm not sure how they would be able to broadcast their magnanimity and feed their egos without being able to put their names on symphony halls.

I think in all likelihood, this is an opportunity for rapacious capitalism to re-entrench, as it did after the last financial crisis, but I'm not sure that the classical music world will be particularly affected in such a re-entrenchment. If tax reform and a more socialist-minded agenda can actually gain a foothold, then public arts funding could help make for a more sustainable industry, but it seems like kind of a low priority even if it's possible, when you have such dire problems of homelessness, environmental degradation and housing affordability that are so pressing and neglected.

October 7, 2020, 12:37 PM · Elise, I'm not sure whether you're in a professional paid orchestra or a community one, but I will speak to the community side.

There is a lot of will, and perhaps in a Covid world moreso than ever, to preserve community focused music like local orchestras, if online fundraising is anything to go by. These organizations are typically held afloat by small grants from local governments and donations from the players, with a few players who are lawyers/techies/financiers carrying an outsize portion of the load. I don't see this going away anytime soon, and perhaps it will actually increase in a post-Covid world as adults rediscover instruments in their time off.

Professional orchestras, especially small ones, are different as some of their funding sources are being hit hard by budgetary shortfalls and lack of safety (plus their audiences fall in the most vulnerable risk group).
I would be particularly most afraid of any orchestra which has annual budgets in the $250,000 to $5,000,000 range, as these orchestras are most likely to not carry a preponderance of assets to survive unless they can negotiate some sort of pay freeze for staff, including musicians.

This raises a completely different question about the roll of governments in fostering the arts, but we'll leave that for a different thread.

October 7, 2020, 1:09 PM · Here in Belgium we are experiencing a true second wave, but concert season has started, according to a very safe protocol, involving distancing, mouth masks, what have you. So: "no"!
October 7, 2020, 1:27 PM · While this situation is going on much longer than we hoped, it is not going to last forever. Sadly, some organizations will fold, and many musicians will suffer from loneliness and financial devastation, the same as people in many other fields.
There will always be a new generation of people interested in playing, as is so evident on this forum. Maybe some of the free livestreaming from opera companies, orchestras, ballet, and chamber music will capture new audiences who are curious about seeing performances live. So no, I don't think live orchestras will totally disappear, they are just in for a long bout of hard times.
Edited: October 7, 2020, 1:37 PM · I think we might see more outdoor concerts and perhaps a greater demand for carbon fiber instruments/bows. I could see the Boston Symphony, for example, playing an extended outdoor summer season perhaps in Boston (at the Esplanade) and in Lenox (Tanglewood). It’s certainly a game changer. I think it could have an impact on music programming too. I hope classical music becomes more popular; taking it outdoors might just do that.
October 7, 2020, 10:46 PM · No guarantees, of course, but I don’t think it will. I have a feeling that once this is over people will be yearning for live performances and social interaction. I think once it is reasonably safe again, people will be more likely to choose a live concert over Netflix on the couch because the lack of live performances will make people realize how much they offer over YouTube, etc... Many organizations are doing what they can with outdoor performances, small audiences, etc. already.
Edited: October 8, 2020, 12:46 AM · Here in Cremona, once the epicenter of the Covid breakout in the Western world, concerts have resumed. The main difference is that mandatory social distancing means that hall capacity is about one third of normal.

What that means is that concerts have become even more dependent on financing from other sources than ticket sales. This particularly affects fund-raising concerts for charity organizations.

Another issue is that many soloists from foreign countries are in some cases unable to fly to Italy and then back home, due to travel restrictions.

Once we get through this mess sooner or later, I am confident that things will return to some kind of normal because even a year or two will not change habitual concertgoers' love for this kind of event.

October 8, 2020, 12:45 AM · I agree with Ingrid on this: people are getting tired of Netflix as their main source of entertainment, and if my social circles are any indication, this is true for all generations.

Even in California, which is subject to relatively strict limitations, my semipro orchestra has returned, rehearsing and performing as a string orchestra for now. Last week I also saw a Facebook ad for what I think is a regional orchestra in Northern California (I don't remember exactly who), performing outdoors as a string orchestra.

Edited: October 8, 2020, 4:32 AM · Here in the UK it's been raining since the beginning of September so I don't see outdoor concerts as the answer. Indoors the Bournemouth SO which numbers 50-odd salaried players is apparently about to embark upon a weekly series of symphony concerts in front of a drastically reduced audience that can't come close to covering its costs. Like every other professional orchestra on the planet it's hoping livestreaming by subscription will cover the shortfall. Exactly why a concert streamed live should be considered more attractive than one recycled via youtube isn't clear to me. Community orchestras don't stand a chance. The best we can do is hunker down and pray for a vaccine, and hope we don't get a repeat performance with a different virus in 10 years' time.
October 8, 2020, 4:07 AM · If there's something that will be viable will be live big orchestras. This will affect more the "indoor" orchestras, but these places can still be used by 40-70% of their full capacity.

If you get a non-rainy day, and the orchestra under a huge tent/carp and covered from the sun, these places will allow huge amounts of people. I'm sure you guys will find or will be given all kind of formulas to keep the business floating, relevant and most important, keep classical music alive.

I hate it when people talk about post-covid as the end of the world or the huge change of an era. This looks like the change from 1999 to 2000, people hallucinating and saying "nothing will be the same in this new era". It will pass, and everything will be the same again. Actually, everything will be the same with many improvements, but if people didn't take advantage of this situation to reorganize a lot of things that were messed for years and decades, we will go back to February 2020.

We are not being invaded by aliens, we are not suffering nuclear bomb attacks and losing cities... it's just another crisis of the system, exactly like 2008, but this time plus a "deadly" virus. There's absolutely nothing special about this, I mean, everything is the same, the only difference is a mask, a mask for precaution, not even a mask because if you don't wear it you die, it's just to protect others in case you are infected.

Edited: October 8, 2020, 6:05 AM · The game changer that’s coming ( to America, and I also read about an orchestra in London that’s looking at rapid testing before performing) that might save orchestras before a vaccine, is that they are now developing and starting to manufacture COVID tests that give results in 15 minutes .
I gather that may not be quite as accurate as the slower up the nose ones, but no test is perfect.
I read this on my news feed just 15 minutes ago. Ellume is based in Brisbane. ;

‘Ellume received the US funding to accelerate the clinical testing and manufacturing scale-up of its COVID-19 antigen tests. It has developed three tests: at-home; point-of-care for medical professionals; and another for high-throughput settings, which can complete eight tests at once and is ideal for use at airports, stadiums, offices and other places with crowds.
The at-home test uses an analyser connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth which digitally analyses a self-collected sample from the user’s nasal passage. Results are transmitted through a secure cloud connection, generating a digital certificate of the results.’

Edited: October 18, 2020, 8:28 PM · I think there will be a resurgence, at least for our regional orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (RSO).

Just speaking for myself, before the pandemic honestly we were pretty lazy about going to the symphony -- oh, it's going to take an hour to drive there and park, and what-not, plus there's a lot of really good music local to us -- especially chamber music. But honestly we were getting lazy about going to see that too. But once the pandemic lifts I think there's going to be a sense of "Yay! I didn't die!" and a euphoria that propels us back into restaurants and music venues.

I think we've learned how to live with a lot less air travel, especially for business travel, and I think some of that will stick. Boeing and Airbus have every reason to be clutching their wallets. But there's a good reason not to go flying around the world -- because it's really bad for the environment and it takes you away from your family and because, when you get right down to it, it's a hassle most of us don't need and an expense that I'd personally rather direct toward lab supplies or student wages. I don't think people will feel the same about the local symphony. I don't think we've "learned how to live without it" by streaming old performances or whatever. Our little no-audition community orchestra would be rehearsing next week if COVID were to magically disappear (as we were promised it would, by Easter Sunday no less). I think there's a yearning there, a sense that breathing fresh vitality into our local and regional cultural institutions is how we prove we're still alive once this is all done.

October 8, 2020, 9:15 AM · The big questions-- will people surge back into public settings once it is deemed safe, or will they have developed other habits?

A middle road, which I suspect is where we shall go, is that many will have used this period of increased leisure and decreased money to reset priorities. A lot of wasteful spending will not necessarily resume. But high-quality experiences will still have a public. That means that not everyone will necessarily charge down to the mall to buy silly t-shirts, but they may be more inclined to sit down with friends in a bistro. Perhaps things may more resemble the 50s, when growing prosperity still meant smaller houses and one-car families.

In many cities, there was already an oversupply of good arts groups. Some will gain a competitive edge based on how they are handling this crisis. Others will re-form after some dormancy. Still others will fade away. That doesn't necessarily mean that the total amount of activity will be less.

October 8, 2020, 9:34 AM · At least in the United States, where the ability to perform necessary daily living activities almost always requires a car unless you are in the densest portion of the urban core of a city with excellent public transportation, we're not going to return to a one-car existence.

In the US, the non-car-owning percentage of the population is the most economically fragile, in part because lack of a decent car means unreliable transportation to work.

Besides, the part of the population that is buying larger houses in the first place is the portion of the population that is doing great in this K-shaped recovery.

Note that the trend towards urbanization in the US is decreasing the average size of a home, as people move into apartments/condos (or at the high end, rowhouses) in the urban core.

Most classical music organizations have priced themselves out of the range of casual entertainment. When tickets are $75-125 on a routine basis for the major symphonies, plus $20 in parking, a weekend concert for my family is easily a $250 investment. (And even the community orchestras are often $20-30 per ticket or that's the suggested donation.)

You could buy, as you put it, many silly T-shirts for that amount of money.

Edited: October 8, 2020, 11:12 AM · It's almost illegal not to own a car in the USA. I had a friend who was in a motel for work conferences, and the conference centre was half a mile down the road (a divided highway?) from the motel, so he walked each way, and twice he was questioned by the police about why he was walking.
Edited: October 11, 2020, 8:41 PM · The police probably were more aware than your friend that the areas directly adjacent to convention centers are where People With Money are walking back and forth from their hotel rooms and that these people are targets for thieves, muggers, and pickpockets. I have a friend who decided to use an ATM between a convention center and his hotel on his way back to his room after dark. He was robbed, instantly, upon leaving the ATM location. So, it may have been the police's way of telling your friend, "Buddy, if you value your life or your wallet, take a cab." The worship of the automobile is only one of our American maladies -- the other is that we have insufficient political will to actually do something about poverty and homelessness within our borders, and we're all but counting on it persisting elsewhere.
October 8, 2020, 4:14 PM · Police (after I parked in the low-income area round JH hospital in Baltimore in the 70s and was walking to work). "What are you doing? Don't you know that here you are an oasis in the desert."

The irony is that I found everyone really friendly and helpful. Indeed, whenever I locked my keys in the car (absent minded....) just about anyone could get them out :D Once I even left my keys in the car with the engine running (yes very absent minded) - I came back to a note under the wiper 'left your keys here, they are at the bar'.

October 8, 2020, 6:59 PM · What a strangely poetic turn of phrase from that cop...
Edited: October 9, 2020, 2:02 AM · @ Gordon and Paul: your comments bring up a memory. I was with my family (wife and two adult daughters) and we were in a hotel in Fresno, CA. It was dinner time and just across the street there was a restaurant. So obviously we walk.

Problem was that the "street" was a four-lane boulevard, so we had to walk all the way to a traffic light, cross the street, and then walk back the same distance to the restaurant.

No sweat except for the fact that once on our way we kept running into creepy people and my daughters were attracting unwanted attention. Once we made it to the traffic light and saw a drug deal in process right there, we turned around and went back to the hotel. To take the car, of course.

Edited: October 9, 2020, 6:50 AM · I thought the downbeat tone of this thread needed lifting so I listed a few of my favourite things (that I can still do). Take it away Julie

Classical music and playing the fiddle
Drinking malt whisky (but not getting tiddled)
Amazon packages delivered by hand
A hit from the Pixies - my favourite band!*

Touring the country, the vales and the heights
Exploring the coast and historical sites
Walking the countryside, finding a pub
Arriving back home for a soak in the tub**

*apart from the Fall
**poetic convenience


Edited: October 9, 2020, 8:12 AM · Here in New Zealand life is going on as normal, except the border is closed to non-New Zealanders and returnees must quarantine for two weeks. We have had a combination of good management and good luck in our nation’s response to COVID 19. We had a full lockdown for six weeks at the beginning of the outbreak, and then later, a shorter full lockdown in Auckland.
Currently with no cases in the community, the four fully professional, the many amateur orchestras, the Royal NZ Ballet, and NZ Opera, are back performing as usual. Attendance at concerts is equal to pre-COVID levels. Unfortunately, international groups and soloists are not able to tour here for now.
I am very sorry for all the musicians unable to work at the moment in the rest of the world. I hope at least, they are receiving financial, and able to access, psychological support at this time.

Cheers Carlo

October 9, 2020, 8:44 AM · Paul, my last employer, an international aero engine company, strongly advised its managers, and others, on business trips outside the UK to dress down to an informal level for when they were outside their hotel, so as to minimize unwanted attention from undesirables.

A few years ago my daughter-in-law flew to the US from the UK to attend an international science seminar. The plane landed in the early hours and she took a cab to the hotel where she was booked in. Unfortunately, the cab driver apparently misunderstood his instructions (or just didn't care) and left her in a part of town she didn't recognize. At 2am she was wandering with her luggage along a deserted street trying to find her hotel when a police car stopped by her. The officer asked if there was a problem, so she told him. When, in response to the cop's question, she said who she was, why she was in the US, and that she was from Oxford University in the UK, the cop couldn't do enough for her and immediately drove her to her hotel a couple of miles away.

October 9, 2020, 11:57 AM · Would it be accurate to say that large-scale music works and their corresponding large-scale performances (Bruckner, Mahler, for instance) are no more than perhaps about two centuries old? Perhaps a return to smaller ensembles in smaller venues of the 18th century and earlier is indicated?
October 9, 2020, 6:25 PM · Projecting a bit when I was thinking of one-car households. Obviously, not all can live close to a train or subway stop. But I can't help wondering if there isn't a decent slug of the middle class that will be re-working their budgets now that they've had time to think about what they really need.
Edited: October 9, 2020, 8:22 PM · Yes

To your question: "will live orchestras be viable in a post-covid world?"

This is not the first and won't be the last. Life goes on.

October 10, 2020, 8:06 PM · "Large scale music" was struggling even before COVID, and should be expected to after COVID for the same reasons, sooner or later, unless there are changes. Relevance. New music. Less conspicuous consumption of culture as such, and more actual culture. One can hope.

October 11, 2020, 1:08 AM · Relevance, now that's a good one. Today it's hard to imagine a stand-up comedian playing a Strad as part of his act.
October 11, 2020, 11:31 AM · Certainly - nobody can afford a Strad. Maybe a fine German Strad that was made in Czechoslovakia?

Brett and Eddy (unfortunately distinct from Bert and Ernie) have a show though.

October 11, 2020, 12:35 PM · I hope it does, so that when it inevitably comes back we can finally see some significant evolution in classical music performance. The formal suit-and-tie concert format is outdated and was on the way out anyways.
October 11, 2020, 5:16 PM · I am not conservative at all, but the above is not true.

And hoping "large scale classical music" gets wiped out to fulfill a personal fantasy of "musical freedom" is absurdly mean. Many artists and *non artists* rely on it.

Finally, no it won't get wiped out regardless, so no fantasies will be fulfilled in that manner. Live Carnegie Hall performances (and others) will be back in due time.

Edited: October 11, 2020, 9:09 PM · I can only speak about the community situation, and here in CA, we are trying to get back together and rehearse in small groups. I have had two string quartets in my own backyard and played a Tchaikovsky string serenade with a larger group in someone else's yard.

My son's youth string orchestra is also doing outdoor rehearsals. In CA we have the weather going for us for now, but I think as it gets darker and colder, there will be less of it.

I have had more viola/in lessons since the pandemic because I've had them over zoom and haven't had to drive there.

What has been worrying me lately is that I am just less motivated to practice without regular orchestra rehearsals. When I started playing again 14 years ago, after quitting twice, I swore I wasn't going to quit again, but it's starting to feel like that a little bit. I go days without practicing and it doesn't matter. This weekend's playing session inspired me to practice more, and I hope that momentum lasts until I have regular rehearsals again.

October 12, 2020, 2:29 AM · I'm working with a pianist (and a trio) regularly now Karen with the intent to perform. If the orchestra comes back I do plan to return - but its possible I may be post-orchestra myself. Its great incentive - actually better than orchestra as you have to perfect your sound.
Edited: October 12, 2020, 4:05 AM · Cotton, what would you concretely suggest? (1) To enjoy the live classical music, the audience should shut up, and there should be not too much outside noise. (2) It is nice to be able to sit down during the concert. (3) People wear what they like. Given these three axioms, you basically get the standard classical music concert set-up. (If you believe that suit and tie are obligatory, you haven't been to one?)
October 12, 2020, 4:10 AM · Re dress I think Cotton meant the orchestra...
Edited: October 12, 2020, 6:48 AM · It would only be good for classical music in the long run. I've been to plenty of local concerts, and it's inarguable that the scene has been pretty creatively stagnant. I don't remember seeing much of any youth attendance, except for superstar performances by Perlman and the like.
Hardship is what drives innovation!
October 12, 2020, 7:57 AM · "Hardship is what drives innovation" is easy to say when you're not on the receiving end.

I feel that our regional orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, has been very creative in its programming and other offerings in the years prior to the pandemic and I expect they will continue to do that. So, the claim that it's "inarguable" that "the scene has been creatively stagnant" is false, because I'm arguing that point specifically. Maybe young Cotton could share his vision for how he thinks a Mozart symphony or the Dvorak cello concerto could be performed more creatively. To me, the lion's share of the creativity occurred when Mozart and Dvorak were writing their music. The performers' task is to report that music to us faithfully, but with enough of their own individual artistic contribution that the music stays fresh. Often this is the difference between a weak orchestra (or soloist) and a better one, but there is also some responsibility to be borne by the listener to invest himself in the performance and to be receptive toward subtlety.

About young people going to concerts -- young people these days are pretty busy with other stuff. When our kids were school-aged, I would guess they came with us to concerts about half the time. When you do find a career that you enjoy and want to pursue with all of your talent and energy, Cotton, and if you do have a healthy, active family, you may one day be lucky enough to find yourself truly busy. When I go to the symphony and I look around, I see a lot of people who are less busy -- because they have retired from those careers in which they invested themselves so fully, and their families have grown and are on their own. It's not so hard to understand if you are just willing to come out of your shell a little and see things from different perspectives.

October 12, 2020, 11:02 AM · Add to that... I always see young people at the concerts I attend, even if they are usually not in the majority. And the music itself is not the problem regardless.

I actually do not see how the destruction of the concert scene will "purge" the audience in favor of a younger audience, or how is it "evil" that an older audience favors concerts. I do not see the point behind this revolution.

There are things I do not love about the format of the concerts, but my qualms have nothing to do with attendees, and if I had my way, I am sure stubborn people of any age won't attend anyway.

In short, I do not understand how a "COVID trauma" makes things better for people of any age-even the young.

And remember once again, things will get better in due time.

October 12, 2020, 11:23 AM · "About young people going to concerts -- young people these days are pretty busy with other stuff. [...]
When I go to the symphony and I look around, I see a lot of people who are less busy -- because they have retired from those careers"

Are you arguing that people who do go to classical concerts do so because they have a shortage of other activities? That classical music is for the aimless and bored? How would you account for younger people attending massive arena concerts or any number of other entertainment options including binge streaming and festivals and be consistent with that claim independently of genre?

Times when I went to chamber music concerts here, I saw mostly older people, some with difficulties with mobility. I don't think these people made the trip despite difficulty because they had nothing better to do, but because it meant something to them.

October 12, 2020, 12:42 PM · Of course not! There have been pandemics throughout history and we've gone back to life as usual every time. Don't expect packed concert halls a few months from now, but it will happen.
Edited: October 12, 2020, 1:54 PM · No, J-Ray, I wasn't implying that. But I see your point. On the other hand, I have colleagues and friends, and I might say, "Oh are you going to such-and-such a recital," and their response is, "Well, I would but our kids have something," or "Well we'd have to get a babysitter" or other such excuses that folks in their mid 50s and beyond really can't make. I do think there is a range of activities that are typically enjoyed by older people and a different (not entirely orthogonal) range enjoyed by younger people. I don't see a lot of older folks down at the bars where the college kids hang out on Friday and Saturday nights, just as an example. Not even on those Friday and Saturday nights when there's no symphony concert to go to. Cotton might infer that this means the pop-music that they're blasting at the college bars isn't relevant or creative because it fails to attract a large segment of our population.
Edited: October 12, 2020, 2:21 PM · I have attended classical concerts where nearly everyone was elderly. But I’ve also attended concerts where young people were the majority. It depends on where you look.

Audience demographics vary by the city, musical group, and venue. In my experience, the large professional symphony orchestras performing in traditional concert halls draw a more elderly crowd. I’ve seen more young people attending outdoor orchestra concerts, university concert series, and community or student orchestra performances. House concerts and shows in clubs and bars, while not large-scale, are sometimes entirely young people.

I agree with Cotton on orchestras lacking innovation, though that's not automatically a problem if people like an activity in itself. Some sports have not really had much innovation either, except for marginal changes in equipment, scoring, or style. People enjoy these activities, which bring people together, if not as spectators, then in gym class or recreational leagues. There might be an oversupply of musical groups in certain cities (as Stephen observed above), but there will be devotees to orchestral music who will support it.

Edited: October 12, 2020, 5:10 PM · "I have colleagues and friends, and I might say, "Oh are you going to such-and-such a recital," and their response is, "Well, I would but our kids have something," or "Well we'd have to get a babysitter" or other such excuses that folks in their mid 50s and beyond really can't make."

Well even that argument depends on how late one has had - 50-somethings might easily have 10-year olds (and therefore be more free for such at an earlier age!), but two points specifically: (1) There's always something else; it is a matter of your priorities and scheduling. If you really wanted to you could get a babysitter. (2) Even better, take the kids along - for their experience and education. If you can't get your kids to behave, of course it's between you and your kids. I made a point of taking my son to concerts fairly often, and for the most part, he didn't disturb anyone (I recall confiscating the program on occasion).

Returning to the point, if concert-going was more engaging, people would make a greater effort to attend.

October 12, 2020, 5:09 PM · "I have attended classical concerts where nearly everyone was elderly. But I’ve also attended concerts where young people were the majority. It depends on where you look."

Not really, the overall audience for classical music skews older - this is a general rule. Of course there are exceptions, they would skew much younger for specifically targeted kids' concerts (even their escorts).

Concerts I often attended were chamber music - first-class musicians, excellent programs, reasonable pricing, central location, and outstanding promotion pricing for young people in the audience, yet my son was usually the only kid, and the next youngest person might have been 40.

One element of this which is entirely reasonable, as Paul suggested, is audience capability. Pop music skewing younger and diminishing with age corresponds to musical maturity; conversely more challenging music skewing older. But the entire demographic seems to be aging, and if younger replacements don't appear, it could go from bad to wiped out. Whether or not it's "bad" somewhere does depend in part on local factors, but overall it hasn't been thriving.

Edited: October 12, 2020, 6:06 PM · It may depend heavily on what is being played. In my area, almost as a rule, the average age of the audience is over 70 when the program consists entirely of old warhorses, under 40 when the program is mostly contemporary music and/or relatively obscure pieces, and somewhere in between for a program that contains a mixture. I've been both one of the youngest audience members at a concert and one of the oldest audience members at a concert in the same year.

While the audiences for the warhorses are larger overall, the raw numbers of audience members under 40 are clearly larger at other concerts.

October 12, 2020, 7:04 PM · I'd love it if there was a strong correlation between age and appreciation of contemporary music. Perhaps there should be and it might be stronger in the future, but in my limited experience, sometimes the older audience 'got' contemporary music just fine, whereas my son learned to expect it to be unpleasant (and not from me or the audience).

I'm sure Frieda and Andrew are right in that the audience also varies with the presentation of the program - its location, choice of material and performers; apparent marketing intent.

Moreover, I might have overstated the aging demographic concern, because it might be a combination of several factors - including the baby boom and post-war culture appetite; with what we're seeing being a bump in the age and taste distribution which is passing through; not representative of the norm. What is to be the new norm is yet to be seen, and to be defined by us as well.

October 12, 2020, 7:55 PM · If you want a younger audience then include a youth orchestra in the performance. The age of the audience then flips from 70+ to 50+ - grandparents to parents ...
October 12, 2020, 8:13 PM · The Kitchener Waterloo Youth Orchestra is an integral part of our concert series with the KWS.They sit side by side with us through numerous programs and do an excellent job.We love having them in our Christmas Pops shows ( our biggest money maker of the season).
Edited: October 13, 2020, 12:34 AM · Note that the "relatively obscure pieces" I mentioned could be from any era, not solely contemporary. My orchestra got a relatively young audience for a program anchored by a Nielsen symphony, and one of the younger audiences I've been in recently was for Berwald. While the youngest audience I've seen in the last ten years was a new music concert, I'm referring mainly to the absence of frequently-played old warhorses rather than specifically to contemporary music.
October 12, 2020, 8:21 PM · The thing is that classical orchestra audiences have always been full of old people. It was the same way when I was a kid. That's 40+ years ago. So there's no disaster on the horizon unless we start running out of old folks.
October 12, 2020, 9:16 PM · "I'm referring mainly to the absence of frequently-played old warhorses rather than specifically to contemporary music."

Interesting - new music in a sense. Hopefully it worked out better than digging through my old record collection hoping to find something I previously overlooked generally does. But you never know, one day maybe..

October 12, 2020, 9:23 PM · "It was the same way when I was a kid. That's 40+ years ago. So there's no disaster on the horizon unless we start running out of old folks."

“I was so much older then;
I’m younger than that now.”
– Bob Dylan

Counting on "old folks" to support demand and increasing ticket costs is not a strategy for success. Participation doesn't just happen when you turn 65 or something like that - it generally has previous exposure and interest, often starting young. And declining health significantly reduces participation at 75+ years of age.

All that aside, classical music wasn't doing well before COVID, and is certainly not doing well now. If it is to return and thrive, there would have to be some changes from the past.

October 12, 2020, 10:31 PM · The Kennedy Center had been doing quite well pre-pandemic by offering early-evening concerts -- just a little bit after work, allowing younger people to go directly from their jobs in the city to a concert. Sometimes, it's all about accommodating the scheduling patterns of the younger set.
October 12, 2020, 10:54 PM · Classical has been "dying" for a while, and it hasn't. It is a dead argument in my view.

Also, I still do not understand why older audiences going to concerts is bad. The young will get old too, if all goes well.

What is the point of the argument, and what do you have to offer to "make younger people attend concerts"?

If you want more young people to attend concerts, besides the scheduling matter discussed above, many things have to change in society to grow the appreciation of "large scale classical music". (Of course, not only "large", but classical in general.) Dumbing it down is a wasted and unproductive effort. One can like all sorts of music and still enjoy a classical live performance. Crossover is not really needed. And people are actually quite loose in what they wear for performances, as far as I can see (I do not mind or care, personally).

Just tell me what is alienating young people from attending concerts. The music? Perceived "snobbery"? I see it as a cultural phenomenon, rather than anything inherently bad in classical. Thus, it is the role of teachers, parents, and society to offer a better appreciation of the concert classical music scene. I bet many of those not in attendance have no idea of what they are missing out!

I vote "no" on dumbing down the repertoire, or making it more of a show (some pieces are enough to impress on their own.) Teach people to appreciate what they are missing on.

(And to all of you who are reading this, do attend concerts whenever you are able to.)

October 13, 2020, 12:44 AM · "The thing is that classical orchestra audiences have always been full of old people. It was the same way when I was a kid."

When I was a kid, I thought people age 30 were old, LOL.

October 13, 2020, 6:41 AM · One improvement made by our halls' management is allowing audience members to bring their drinks into the concert.Every seat has a cupholder now and lots of happy concert goers.Beverage sales have helped fund the hall significantly for maintenance and repairs.
Edited: October 13, 2020, 7:04 AM · We usually perform in a large church - I don't think they would approve of pew-cup holders Peter! [Though it might also improve sunday attendence - you know the church probably Peter ...]
Edited: October 13, 2020, 8:30 PM · “Just tell me what is alienating young people from attending concerts. The music?“

Here’s my opinion. It’s not entirely about the music.

Time is scarce, and the concert had better be worth the opportunity cost. Young people are busy. Those who are already educated in classical music and have disposable income also tend to be in demanding jobs or degree programs. Many jobs are no longer 9-5. People with families also have to find childcare or wait until their kids are older, and by then, they aren’t so young any more. You're asking a lot from them to attend a concert. They may find it more fun to do something else during their scarce leisure time - go to a comedy show, walk through a museum, play video games, make music themselves (instead of watching someone else do it).

Many of my youth orchestra peers stopped attending professional orchestra concerts once they hit working age (except for the ones who became professional musicians). Yet they were the target demographic for orchestra education programs. They like classical music. They’re knowledgeable about it. They listen to it at home. But they have competing priorities.

Lots of young people also spend all day sitting, whether in front of a computer or in lectures. Traditional (professional) orchestra concerts also expect them to spend their leisure time doing more of the same, sitting in a cramped seat for two hours, in complete silence, no small movements allowed. It’s more restrictive than going to the movies. I have friends who like classical music but say no if it’s going to be like that. Some of them have computer-related injuries that are aggravated by those conditions.

For young people who do make it to a (professional, indoors) concert, sometimes the treatment from ushers or other audience members is such a turn-off that it discourages them from returning. It’s uncomfortable to stick out like a sore thumb based on your age. It’s worse when the audience members or ushers are rude (and they often do scrutinize younger people more). Regulars will brush that off, but it can alienate someone from attending concerts.

October 13, 2020, 12:46 PM · Classical concert-going for young people is truly, madly, deeply uncool, unless they learn an instrument when it only becomes deeply uncool. I blush to remember choosing to spend a Saturday evening playing snooker while John Williams (the guitarist) performed a recital in the same building
Edited: October 13, 2020, 6:42 PM · It will come back slowly. The last genre to come back to normal will be Opera, with lots of musicians crowded in the pit and solo singers blasting away in each others faces.
The major orchestras will survive. The low end community, amateur, student, and non-contract orchestras will survive because they can completely shut down. The pro orchestras in the middle ranks, that have obligations, will be in trouble. Even in normal times that's where frequent orchestra financial failures happened, not at the top of the list.
What I am hoping for is that after months of an equivalent to partial house arrest, people will want to get out, reverse our long term trend of electronic substitutes to real life
I remember as a student and low-paid musician in L.A. that I rarely went to a L.A. Phil. concert. I would look at the program, think "I like this piece, I don't like this one, this one is new, it's probably awful" look at the ticket price, think of the drive and the parking fee, and then not go. I did go to several Hollywood Bowl-LA Phil concerts, outside in the summer, in the cheap seats. I still have a ticket stub that says $2.00.
October 13, 2020, 1:41 PM · In Kitchener Elise?
October 13, 2020, 3:13 PM · Message me Peter - my email is on my profile...
October 13, 2020, 6:28 PM · Well, none of that seems like legitimate excuses not to attend concerts, Ms. Francis. An older person may state similar reasons (busy, rather attend comedy shows seem more fun, "snobby ushers"-though in my case, I have never encountered these...-etc.)

If you make a ruckus, giggle a lot, or watch FB/text message during concerts, expect annoyance around you. Not Beethoven's fault. Some older adults make similar noises and get similar treatment. A few people get annoyed by *anything* (including my very existence); ignore them, and watch the performance you came to listen... not worth your time getting agitated over what some irrational individuals may think about you-focus ahead.

Frankly, if you love the music, you'll come to see it if you are able to afford it, and will make the proper arrangements for the most important performances of the year for you. Listening to a CD/high quality stream or MP3 is not the same, and we all know it.

No offense intended, as I am certain many will disagree. I won't relent on this, though. If it is important to us, we'll make the time, and submit to the few "rules" there are.

(I am the least "elite" audience in the world, and am greatly annoyed by snobs... that is not a good reason to avoid concerts of the music I love.)

October 13, 2020, 6:45 PM · I emailed you Elise.
Edited: October 13, 2020, 8:33 PM · Legitimate or not, retirees have more spare time than people who are working or raising families. I am pretty sure that a lot of these younger people will become the old people at the symphony when they retire.

Just because young people don't go to professional orchestra concerts doesn't mean they're not going to other types of classical performances, whose conditions they may find more enjoyable and therefore worth their time. I have seen more young people going to those (sometimes majority to 90% of the audience), in stark contrast to the old people at professional concerts in big halls. They're not hearing dumbed down repertoire either (ranging from Mahler symphonies to late Beethoven quartets to new music).

October 14, 2020, 12:50 AM · If my favorite violinists (for instance) are performing at a supposedly "stodgy", old Concert Hall at 8PM, I will be there, and make all the required accommodations and personal sacrifices. I am no longer young at 45, but it used to be the case when I was. I am not better than anyone, to be sure, but I just do not feel there are not too many cons for young people to attend these concerts.

Still believe it is a matter of cultural background, and personal priorities. It is not a matter of snobbery. The more conservative music lover would be disgusted with my music taste, or lack thereof.

And lastly, I am not opposed to young people attending non-big Hall recitals/concerts anyway. There is not a single one way to enjoy live music you love, and am sorry I gave the opposite impression.

Edited: October 14, 2020, 2:22 AM · The thing about making sacrifices to attend concerts, though: expanding the listener base has to start with making it easy to go from non-attendance to casual attendance. You cannot rely on anyone going straight from non-attendance to making classical concerts a priority.

In any form of live entertainment, including classical music, dismissing people who attend occasionally as insufficiently committed is a recipe for bankruptcy. The people you are dismissing are the majority of the audience.

Edited: October 14, 2020, 2:29 AM · Not dismissing anyone. I do not feel superior.

That is why I said the more important issue is that people are interested since they are young, thus the importance of cultural upbringing. Trying to lure younger audiences to go to events they are not remotely interested in is near-impossible. If they have an interest since childhood, they are more likely to attend as teens and twenty/thirty-something year olds.

When you love something, you do something. This is not meant as an slight to anyone.

In my view, there is little concert halls can do other than cultural outreach programs, and letting others who should care about this get involved as well.

Contemporary music is already part of many modern concert halls programs, and many young people do not necessarily care (no offense intended... it is not an issue with the music.)

Edited: October 14, 2020, 3:27 AM · I'm not referring to people who are completely uninterested, though. There are many people who are somewhat interested, i.e. they like classical music but do not currently love it enough to go to great lengths to attend concerts. It's not all or nothing. Many of my friends fall in that category. And the success of the LA Philharmonic's "Rush Hour Concerts" and similar concerts in other cities proves that there is a substantial number of people who would show up. These are the people who would be more likely to start buying season subscriptions in the future, if live concerts are made more convenient for them to attend now.
October 14, 2020, 1:47 PM · in chicago, at symphony center (home of the chicago symphony), the audience is either grey or mostly bald. Unless there is a famous soloist there, it has looked like this for years. A couple years ago, my violin teacher played in someones home as part of a quartet where they played fairly typical chamber music(not geared towards the youth in any way). People sat on furniture, floor. My wife and I were in our late 50’s and we felt out of place. Avg age was 30 tops. Cost was via pass the plate. Why was this crowd young? I don’t buy the cost/affordability argument. Not when broadway musicals are 125 each if you are lucky. Double that for hamilton. Is it the venue? Honestly I don’t get it.
Edited: October 14, 2020, 6:20 PM · I definitely get the sense that chamber music is "in" among younger classical listeners. Generally I've seen much younger audiences for chamber music than for orchestras, regardless of whether the venue is a house, a cafe, an art gallery, a recital hall, or even a large auditorium.

That said, audiences also skew younger at less formal venues. Excluding college/university ensembles, I can think of three times I've been to concerts by professional musicians where the average age of the audience was almost certainly under 30:

* all contemporary and mostly newly composed chamber music, at a jazz club

* string quartets by Mozart and Dvorak, and folk tune arrangements by the Danish String Quartet, at a warehouse

* chamber music by Dvorak, Kapustin, and Shostakovich, at a coffee shop

The youngest audience I've seen for professional musicians in a formal venue (average age probably not much above 30) was for chamber music as well: Haydn, Durufle, Martinu, and Klaus Hinrich Stahmer, in a recital hall at a museum.

Edited: October 14, 2020, 10:59 PM · Andrew's observations ring true to me.

People generally want to enjoy their music in places where they feel like they fit in and are welcome. Maybe this is wrong to say, but young people usually prefer hanging out with other young people than be surrounded by senior citizens on a Friday or Saturday night. That factors into the types of classical performances they’re willing to attend. It's not only chamber music. Before COVID-19, some university ensembles played standard repertoire to packed auditoriums where the average age of the audience was under 35. It's easy for students to attend these shows too, since they're on campus.

October 15, 2020, 12:27 AM · Thank you Frieda, for your insights. I agree with you.
October 15, 2020, 7:45 AM · I guess I am an introvert, and do not mind "being with old people." I generally go to concerts alone anyway. However, I must note that there are always enough young people at concerts/recitals, at least in NYC.

I do not like the suggestion that young audiences "avoid" older people, and that such tendency as a priority would impede them from attending a genuinely good performance on a bigger venue. It would be their problem, and not the venue's fault, were that the case. I never felt unwelcome at any hall when I was younger.

Still, this problem is not as big as it is made to be, in my opinion. Young people still come when there is enough interest. That may sound "offensive" to some, but humans of all ages always make time for things they really enjoy. It may be a valid opinion that for some the Concert Hall is "too old", but then I could argue it is their loss. They could attend both big halls and smaller venues anyway, not just one or the other. But again, I always see teenagers to twenty year olds at most if not all performances I attend, so it is hard for me to relate to the "big halls are old and stodgy!" sentiment.

October 15, 2020, 8:48 AM · For your information- an article on the OP’s original topic is in today’s (Thursday October 15) Wall Street Journal. Probably available on line or in Apple news reader for those who can’t get the print newspaper.
October 15, 2020, 9:08 AM · Aforementioned article:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/what-happens-to-the-musicians-when-the-orchestra-music-stops-11602695217

(Not a free read, however.)

Edited: October 15, 2020, 10:36 AM · "I do not like the suggestion that young audiences 'avoid' older people, and that such tendency as a priority would impede them from attending a genuinely good performance on a bigger venue."

When I was a kid I always wanted to sit between my parents so that I would not have to sit next to a stranger. But it would not have bothered me if the stranger was someone my age. It bothered me more, the older the person was. My suspicion is that there are people who grow up around a lot of elderly people -- interactions in their own home and families, churches, or whatever -- and there are people (like me) whose interactions with elderly people throughout my childhood was limited to seeing my grandparents once every three or four years. I was not comfortable around elderly people, not at all. If that means you'll never vote for me for POTUS or SCOTUS then that's fine.

October 15, 2020, 1:13 PM · I never went to a classical concert with my parents. They'd probably just have chattered and fidgeted
October 15, 2020, 2:00 PM · And fussed with the program.
October 15, 2020, 4:05 PM · What keeps the you g people that I know from attending classical music concerts is the ticket prices.
Edited: October 15, 2020, 4:40 PM · Adalberto, the thing I'm getting at is that interest is not a binary. You can't assume that people either love classical music enough to clear their schedule for it, or have no interest in it whatsoever. Most people are somewhere in between those poles.

One other thing about the four concerts I mentioned above with young audiences: none of them were in the Friday and Saturday night time slots that classical concerts usually occupy here. If I remember correctly, two were Sunday afternoons, one was a Saturday morning, and one was a Monday night.

It noticed something similar when my orchestra tried playing a few Sunday matinee concerts. We didn't continue doing it because we never sold more than half of the tickets for Sunday. But I noticed that I would routinely have 8-10 friends in the audience (mostly millennials) on Sundays, and for Saturday night concerts it's typically 0-2 and never more than 4.

Edited: October 15, 2020, 5:39 PM · Sporting events are also expensive. People set the time aside and go, because people love. Same with Broadway shows (obviously contemplating a more "normal" world.)

Since I am not rich myself, I usually look at a season and set aside tickets, usually via subscription, and make sure I will attend no matter what. There are also "partial view" tickets for some halls that are economical, and it is better to have far away balcony seats that not attending at all. I am no longer young, but I feel it is my part to support the artists and music I love. This is not sanctimonious on my part. I feel we can do more for music than just practicing, performing, and/or listening to our favorite recordings.

Of course not everyone can afford to go to all concerts one would like. Choose the ones that are most important, and just go and enjoy.

Big halls are not for older people-it is a sort of excuse for preferring to do something else with one's time-which *is* fine, but not the Hall's-or the elderly's-fault.

I agree more time slots make it convenient for more people of many ages and backgrounds, but many orchestras probably cannot accomodate it.

I find that sometimes big cities take for granted the wealth of performances they have (had) throughout the years, taking them a bit for granted. I know I have missed too many concerts I could have made the effort to attend, and it was not about time in my case. My loss, to be sure.

No offense is intended, regardless. Hope you can all go when things get better for everybody.

Edited: October 15, 2020, 6:21 PM · Again, you are missing the point. Other forms of live entertainment do not so easily dismiss people who aren't super committed. The people who "love" anything will be a small minority, but there are many people who like it enough to attend when convenient.

You mention professional sports. Most professional sports ticket revenue is not from superfans but from casual fans who only buy tickets occasionally. For every season ticket holder, there are a hundred or more people who follow the team casually but only go to games when there isn't something they're more interested in at the same time, and if those people show up to just 5% of the games they still make up the vast majority of the spectators.

You cannot sustain live music or any other form of live entertainment solely on people who "love" it. You have to cater to people who "like" but do not "love" it by making it easier to attend.

October 15, 2020, 8:49 PM · When I was living in Brisbane the Conservatorium of Music in the city centre used to give live peformances on Saturday/ Sunday afternoons. It was to give the students experience in performing in front of a live audience. Admission was only $2 and these concerts were always well attended. I really do think high ticket prices put many people off (young and old). I do not have a solution to this : just stating a fact.
October 15, 2020, 8:51 PM · But concerts are not hard to attend for younger people... there is nothing "unwelcoming" that is not a societal construct.

That is why I boil it down to interest. Increasing the amount of people who love and would attend the performances is perhaps the only "solution" I can "offer". I cannot blame concert halls in all good conscience. And as I mentioned before, young people *do attend* these concerts.

Be well.

Edited: October 15, 2020, 9:52 PM · "Most professional sports ticket revenue is not from superfans but from casual fans who only buy tickets occasionally."

Might depend on the sport. Something like 85 percent of National Football League (NFL) ticket sales are season packages.

With college football, season tickets are in such high demand that the teams can require fans to reach certain minimum donation thresholds just to earn the privilege of buying season tickets. Hard to research locally right now because the Hokies have suspended their ticket sales. I live less than a mile from Lane Stadium. I have neighbors who park cars on their lawns and some of them only sell season tickets for lawn parking ($10-30 per game depending on how close you are). The biggest such operation that I have ever seen is run by Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, right across the street from Michigan Stadium, which holds over 100,000 people. The school system banks over $3 million per year just from that.

When you see folks roll into town in their brand new $75000 pickup trucks or full-sized SUVs, you realize most of these are not people who will ever be going to the orchestra. These are people who will gladly buy a second home near the stadium -- there are several such homes in my neighborhood, that are used maybe 10 weekends per year by their owners, including all the game weekends. All of them have seen significant renovation ($$$). The mind boggles at what people will spend to enjoy sports. As they are walking by toward the stadium you can see that they are each wearing hundreds of dollars in branded spirit-wear and accessories. A cheap VT polo shirt is $45 -- I have a couple of them. The expensive ones are $75 to $125. For a polo shirt.

What's required is a sense of perspective. If it costs me $200 to take my family to see a concert, which is what we might pay to see the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra at the Moss Center, then I just have to remind myself what else I might buy for $200, like three violin lessons. $200 is a quantity that I wouldn't be spending every week. If I had to guess I would say that we spend $600-1000 per year going to concerts and recitals (but, obviously, not right now).

October 16, 2020, 2:12 AM · Just have to note: football is very much the exception, because there are so few games each year that every game is a huge event. As popular as it is, it isn't even remotely representative of sports business in general. (Over the years I've been in a lot of conversations on sports business, as a soccer fan discussing the economics of expanding a sport that is historically a hard sell in the US.)

That said, I think the analogy still applies. The Los Angeles Philharmonic fills well over 90% of capacity with subscribers and single tickets for subscription concerts are extraordinarily difficult to buy. That isn't nearly representative of orchestras.

Edited: October 16, 2020, 2:56 AM · It's all about marketing, this "why do people spend tons for going to sports events and not to classical music?"

Sports is a way for men (and some women) to experience something big and communal. It's on TV. There is a lot of excitement, even though the game may be blah.

Nothing in a classical music concert looks like this. It's all inward. Introversion is a bad characteristic in many societies. Leonard Bernstein was a brilliant marketeer of classical music, but there is no one like him now. (BTW I cannot stand his talks.)

The way some people always go on aboyt so many old people at concerts, or the way people fidget or cough, is a kind of destructive behaviour that is unique to classical music. These comments are intended to indicate the superior sensitivity to the tiniest distractions during music, but it's really nonsense.

Edited: October 16, 2020, 3:55 AM · I'd be interested to know at what age you people here started going to classical concerts BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO rather than having it forced upon you by physical or psychological means. I can place the transition firmly to age 16/17, after I'd been coerced into playing and singing aged 11. At 15 I started buying LPs and listening to classical radio, but having my arm twisted to hear Barbirolli conduct the Halle in Salisbury Cathedral finally made me I realise what I was missing. Concert promoters can invent all the youth-pleasing gimmicks they like but kids need to be stimulated through the ears, led by the hand and propelled via the posterior regions.
October 16, 2020, 1:54 PM · The 2008 crisis was really bad for luthiers. One of my wood dealers, who offered excellent wood and services, closed.
The COVID crisis will be worse, I think.
October 16, 2020, 5:52 PM · The Covideo crisis is an excellent opportunity to loosen up your.wrist, for bowing.

Never mind, but if I had to choose, to take what to a desserted (wow, not enough nutrition these days) island... well the violin. That's the only object you can take with you.... otherwise objects are not permitted.... so technically you're a ............ hahaha you're so kool!!!! ;D

Edited: October 17, 2020, 12:19 AM · I'm afraid I never go to concerts.
I'm too mean - I prefer to spend the money on CDs or DVDs.
Since 1981 when I left university I've only been to about 6 gigs, excluding live pub performances, which aren't classical, but I think the 6 gigs all were, except for the Tiger Lillies.
Edited: October 17, 2020, 2:01 AM · I've never been dragged to a concert by anyone else, it's always been on my own initiative. My parents wouldn't have anyway, they both dislike music enough that I've literally never seen either of them voluntarily listen to any kind of music, whether classical or popular, live or recorded. Playing music and listening to classical music were among my acts of adolescent rebellion!

First classical concert was at age 12 when I went with a friend's family, after getting hooked through classical radio. But I didn't start attending concerts regularly until college, which was the first time I had the chance. I was only ever able to get to two live concerts before I graduated from high school.

Edited: October 17, 2020, 2:45 AM · Yes, I've been hooked on Radio 3 (aka The Third Programme, BBC classical music) since I was a toddler, although I was also aware of some pop music in the 60s and early 70s. I liked the Strawbs and the Scaffold, for example.
Edited: October 17, 2020, 8:38 AM · I remember being kind of neutral about going to see the local community orchestra with my parents. They wanted to go because my violin teacher was the concertmaster, and he was an excellent violinist. It was something to do anyway. And they always had cookies at halftime. Then I started playing in the orchestra myself, and backstage there were Cheez Whiz sandwiches on white bread at half time (and something called "ham salad" which I believe is another Midwestern delicacy). If our parents took us somewhere, it was more likely to be an art exhibit in Detroit or Toledo because my mother studied art and painted in her younger years. At home dad listened to records, almost all piano music. When my oldest brother was old enough he was allowed to take us to shows in Detroit, and one of the shows we saw was the pop-jazz violinist Noel Pointer. We saw Tommy Flanagan at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. We saw Ray Charles and Maynard Ferguson. Dad took me to see Oscar Peterson in Ann Arbor too. And I think the whole time I lived there we went to two Tigers games and one Red Wings game, but never the Lions because football is just stupid and the Silverdome was way the hell out in Pontiac. We never went out to eat either. But the three of us all went to private colleges and everything was paid for, no loans.

Andrew I think the analogy between NFL and LA Phil is a good one. NFL might be kind of an outlier but it's an elephant-in-the-room type of outlier. The NFL takes in twice as much total revenue as the NBA, for example, even though NBA teams play five games for every NFL game. (An NFL team also employs over 50 players whereas an NBA team might have a dozen or so).

October 17, 2020, 10:14 AM · Outdoor events, like a football game, are inherently safer than indoor events, like most concerts, because of the much greater air space and ventilation. I read somewhere that the ratio of indoor to outdoor infections could be as high as 10 to 1. Also about masks; I read that in one study 85 % of new infections, they were wearing masks. Outdoor symphony seasons should return to normal this coming summer.
Edited: October 17, 2020, 4:04 PM · Interesting question: How many pandemics, epidemics, plagues, wars, catastrophes, natural disasters,... has classical music survived so far?

Music is part of what it means to be human and while how we hear/witness "classical" music will go through changes, it will continue. The only way that the pandemic will eliminate music is if the pandemic eliminates all the humans.

October 17, 2020, 5:03 PM · It was common in my childhood home to have classical music on at bedtime, which inevitably led to associating classical music with sleepiness, so I would have trouble staying awake at live symphony concerts! I don't recall having *objected* to going. As a young adult (college and early career, non-music), I had gone to non classical music events (for example, Broadway, B.B. King's) but probably avoided classical music because of:
- perceived cost
- friends not interested (if you do something with friends for the purpose of hanging out even though you're not into the specific activity, it won't a no-talking activity such as a typical symphony concert)

Age-wise, for "going to classical concerts because I wanted to", it would be after 30: established enough in second career (to justify discretionary spending), gotten over the complexes ("classical music makes me sleepy" and "it's weird to go by myself"). And I had started playing community orchestras and needed to be reminded what pros sounded and looked like.

In the Before time, I was also getting my students started young (well, they go if the parents take them): sent them to family programs at the local symphony, pops/movie, a few have actually attended the standard classical programs. There was a small chamber orchestra that performed in a venue less than a mile away from our rehearsal location, and that was easy to promote, especially whenever they were presenting repertoire that I could tie to ours. To Elise's point, we even partnered with them to have my students perform during one of the pre-concert receptions, which of course meant most would stay for the main program.

October 17, 2020, 5:09 PM · Mr. Quivey,

The 85% mask-wearing people getting sick sounds like anti-science propaganda. In our heavily divided times, it is best to check our sources. Not every doctor or "truth teller" has a clean or honest agenda (Dr. Atlas being an horrible case of this.)

Of course indoor activities are worse. But I do know that in due time indoor concerts will be back-no one can stop music, as Mr. Wells suggested above. A matter of us working together carefully and intelligently, to make it happen faster.

Be careful to still properly wear masks whenever appropriate. Being safe and alive for your loved ones and each other has nothing to do with politics.

Best wishes to all. Do not quit your dreams over our current temporary circumstances.

October 17, 2020, 5:38 PM · Yes, that 85% number is only one report. There is an official public health sign at the front door of our music teaching studio that says;
wearing a mask protects a healthy person from being infected by 30 %,
a mask prevents an infected person from spreading it by 70 %, mainly by blocking the sneezing and coughing. If both wear a mask the protection improves to 90%.
October 17, 2020, 6:53 PM · Joel - I saw a joke image on social media and the last line was something to the effect of:
If one person starts talking about [I think it was HIP], the protection is 100% (or the risk is 0%) because the other one leaves the conversation.
October 17, 2020, 6:54 PM · The study did not say that 85% of infected people caught the virus while wearing masks. It said that 85% routinely wore masks while in public, which was similar to the percentage of non-infected people who routinely wear masks in public.

The study's important finding, however, was that people who got infected were much more likely to have dined indoors at restaurants (not wearing masks while dining), and much more likely to have been at large in-home gatherings (where masks are not worn nearly as much). The 85% number that's being cherry-picked out of the study is much less meaningful.

Edited: October 17, 2020, 7:57 PM · Cheez whiz and ham salad sandwiches. Boy, does that take me back to my Midwestern childhood (you haven't had the full experience if you haven't had a sandwich with both on Wonder Bread). I still like ham salad, but I don't think I've had cheez whiz in decades.

I was sixteen when I first bought my own ticket to a symphony concert -- to the Philadelphia Orchestra, where I could get cheap tickets through my college dorm, and where my teacher was a violinist. I saw very, very few professional concerts as a child.

Edited: October 18, 2020, 2:02 AM · There has yet to be a proper scientific study of the efficacy of face masks against Covid-19 in real-life circumstances. It's most unlikely there ever will be one because it would involve large numbers of subjects whose behaviour is closely controlled and/or monitored at all times (there is no way of knowing exactly when an infection has been acquired) and in situations which would also have to be classified and recorded. There would also have to be a randomized control group of non-wearers, not self-selected! Nevertheless the arguments in favour make perfect sense, especially as regards the danger of an unwitting carrier of the virus infecting others.
October 18, 2020, 9:35 AM · Welcome to empirical science Steve. The other way to do it is simply to see correlate the cross-infection rate with the mask frequency. Averaging will give you an idea of whether it has an effect - yes, you can not prove it that way but if the correlation is positive mask use should be encourage because WE HAVE NO OTHER WAY FORWARD.
October 18, 2020, 10:24 AM · The Greatest Generation picked scrap metal, ate a reduced diet With food coupons and had victory gardens, yet we can’t where a damn mask.:(
Edited: October 18, 2020, 12:24 PM · Victory gardens are back, kind of. Everyone and their siblings have become vegetable gardeners, bakers, and now that the vegetables have come in from the garden you cannot buy a Mason jar at the supermarket to save your soul. (Here I'd better stipulate to my lack of evidence for how well souls keep in Mason jars. I also didn't grow a victory garden this summer because I was keen to support the local growers.)

As for masks, there have been lots of mask-related surveys published, but I'm not sure any of them really got at the issue of how well they prevent disease from a cold epidemiological perspective -- at least I could not find any with a 10-minute Google search. But you don't only have to study the incidence of COVID-19. You can also analyze the incidence of other airborne-transmitted illnesses like the cold and the flu. But watch out for the unexpected, such as people who use masks being more lax about other guidelines such as distancing.

https://www.clevelandfed.org/newsroom-and-events/publications/economic-commentary/2020-economic-commentaries/ec-202020-survey-results-on-mask-wearing-behaviors-and-beliefs.aspx

@Lydia I think they call it "pimento spread" now, or maybe that's what I see because I live in "the south."

October 22, 2020, 6:03 AM · This might just work. London's Wigmore Hall (chief UK venue for chamber music) is running a complete programme of daily concerts played to a very small live audience but with streaming available for I think a month after each event. The artists are good and the sound is good but I particularly like the fact that donations are entirely optional! They'll make more money out of me this way than they ever would by the conventional route.
October 22, 2020, 10:17 AM · Oh no, pimento spread is something different -- it's definitely real cheese, and it can be made with excellent-quality cheddars. Proper Cheez Whiz is sprayed from a can. :-)
October 22, 2020, 6:53 PM · Greetings...!

Adalberto, i did not follow this thread, but I think the whole issue with masks is not a question of neglect, but ignorance. The sister of a friend was a politician, and she ensured me (I did not know about this) at her workplace, that the wuhan provence level 4 biolaboratory is a nonsense from the point of view of the biospherical spread of the virus. I believe it was an accidental leak.

Mainly because biosuit method includes taking on and off the suit, which must be devoid of any molecules capable of interaction by living tissue. So, only hostile biomass like viruses are the dominant lifeforms in a sterile chemical vacuum.

I think concerts are risky, if we don`t wear the masks.

Best, Krisztian

Edited: October 22, 2020, 7:46 PM · No no no, Lydia. Cheez Whiz comes in a jar. The stuff in the spray can is Easy Cheese. Both are made by Kraft Foods. These two terms became confused in American culture by an iconic scene in the movie "The Blues Brothers." And I agree with you about pimento spread, but just because something can be made properly doesn't mean it will. You need to spend more time in the south to appreciate these distinctions. I believe the sandwiches were made with the stuff from the jar by combining it with something having a more viscous consistency, perhaps cream cheese. This is unbelievable, but in the midst of a perfectly respectable thread I'm looking up a recipe for Cheez Whiz sandwiches and here's one that self-identifies as Puerto Rican: 1 can of spam, 1 pint of cheez whiz, 4 oz jar of pimiento peppers with liquid, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise style spread, chopped sweet pickle, white bread. My memory is probably failing. What we were served during the orchestra breaks was probably just really weak pimiento spread.

Krisztian wrote, in one of his more lucid moments, "The whole issue with masks is not a question of neglect but ignorance." The origin of the virus notwithstanding, at least in the US, refusal to wear masks in public places is more than just ignorance. Otherwise how do you explain not just one "Starbucks Karen," but two?

October 22, 2020, 8:04 PM · I’m going to have to watch the movie again.
OMG, that recipe caters for a Lot of sandwiches. Or is it meant to last in the fridge for a month, to placate cravings at odd times? ( thinking Nigella in the middle of the night...)
October 22, 2020, 8:15 PM · Oh, Easy Cheese is the best spray-can cheese, but you can get Whiz in spray form, too. (But as an ex-Philadelphian, I must say that the proper use of whiz from a jar is on a cheesesteak.)
October 22, 2020, 8:42 PM · I had to look that up. I now understand Lydia’s reference.
For any interested non-philadelphians ;
“A cheesesteak is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in the U.S. city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wikipedia”
So the famous Philly cream cheese really is from
Philadelphia?
Now off to look up hoagie roll..
Edited: October 22, 2020, 11:11 PM · Cheez Whiz has no business not being propelled out of can! Otherwise, such an onomatopoetic name is totally wasted on the product. I find this to be the most existentially troubling development of this thread, and probably of the whole COVID thing.

Also, if Easy Cheese would just hire me to do their marketing and product development (I'm thinking CTO would suit my needs just fine), I would change their product from cheese to Cheez, so that I could then change the product name to EZ Cheez (or maybe even ĒZ Chēz) in order to save money on letters. That way, you could probably stuff more chez into the bottle and reverse the pernicious trend of shrinkflation that is the bane of any upstanding consumer.

THEN, I would make some kind of propellant recycling system, or escape tube to be paired with a much more explicit marketing campaign to bring in the whippit-enthusiast community, and just like that, sales are through the roof, and people have something to better pass the time during quarantines.

Edit:Figured it out. FYI - The line above the e in ē is called a "macron"

October 22, 2020, 9:59 PM · No way. I'm digging in my heels. Cheez Whiz does not come in a spray can. I can be wrong about a LOT of things but NOT THIS. LOL

https://www.mashed.com/139639/the-untold-truth-of-cheez-whiz/

"Philadelphia Cream Cheese" has nothing to do with "cheesesteaks" which are not called "cheesesteaks" in Philadelphia, they're just called steaks. Here's some history for the curious:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheesesteak

October 22, 2020, 10:40 PM · lived in Philly for years, many late night missions for cheesesteaks. recall them typically referred to as cheesesteaks, don't recall steaks.

pat's, geno's, billy bobs (for the west Philly crowd) all had their devotees.

provolone was the cheez way to go. with mayo

as an aside, having sampled cheesesteak attempts in many other parts of the country, can't figure out why they are unable to do it correctly. the bread is wrong (usually too hard and thick), the meat to rest-of-sandwich ratio is off.

October 22, 2020, 10:57 PM · Geno's for me. Got one once at a pub in Hatboro that just about put me into a coma, it was so huge.
Edited: October 22, 2020, 11:25 PM · Damn, it's all lies all around. This whole Trump thing really makes you question trust in any and all facts and institutions.

You may have been right at one point Paul, but then time and the demands of people's implanted memories brought this into existence.

October 23, 2020, 7:37 AM · Looks like a fake to me, Christian. Notice how the "Kraft" logo does not appear on the product?
October 23, 2020, 3:22 PM · Covid? Orchestras?? Extinction???

Well, at least the last one seems on point with that menu.... :)

October 23, 2020, 3:52 PM · Sorry about the diversion Elise. I take full blame.

No! COVID is not going to wipe out the NY Phil or the LA Phil even though they cancelled the rest of their seasons. They will be back. There is too much inertia. They may have to renegotiate with their unions, and there may be some shared discomfort there. You know I teach at a public university and we discussed having a 20% pay cut. Nobody wants that but it's better than firing people. My local orchestra is a freeway phil with a low musician payroll, so they'll be fine too, although I don't really know what their finances are like. They are supported by community industries including banks and such that are quite stable right now.

October 23, 2020, 9:04 PM · Its no problem Paul - the question had really played itself out so anything goes. I was, however, amused to see that Lauri used it for her weekly poll!


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