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Audience development

I have been thinking about starting an e-mail newsletter, in a similar vein as Gordon Beal who invites people to join him in concerts, exhibitions, dinners, and other events in London. While he has a mailing list of 3,000 and (thus) can get free tickets from PR agencies, event organisers, and performers/artists, my list is a tiny percentage of that. Still, I have to start somewhere.

I go to concerts nearly every day, if not, several times a day. In fact, one of the main reasons I went to London after I finished my studies in the US was to get those bargain student discount tickets for classical concerts and theatre (plays and musicals). I recall how I got a free ticket for Yo Yo Ma, walking out on one of Segovia's last performances at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and sitting in a restaurant next to Sir Simon Rattle after a performance and not daring to speak to him in Birmingham.

Concerts, as with other cultural events, are meant to be shared. I normally always go alone because it's too much of an effort to recruit companions who have other priorities. The logistics certainly dictate what is most feasible. However, for today's orchestral concert, I can't resist the urge to invite and share it with old and new friends for the sheer joy of spending a Sunday afternoon in March.

Today I bring 20 people to the Vredenburg in Utrecht for the premiere of Dutch composer Tom Dicke's De Vlakte, South African composer Dawid Bowerhoff's orchestral arrangements of four of Schubert's most famous songs, and accompanied after the intermission by Beethoven's Sixth Symphony -- The Pastorale.

As an English speaker with limited or no Dutch language capability, going to the theatre is out of the question (unless the play is translated or in original English text). This leaves art exhibitions and concerts for the culturally inclined. At concerts, programme notes are almost always without exception written in Dutch --- and not normal Dutch either, but the sophisticated artsy kind. What hope do we have of appreciating the background of the music, the composers, the performers, and the conductors?

One of the things I enjoy most about going to concerts in London is reading the well-written programme notes. Even at my local college of music I could expect a meticulously researched and well-crafted digest of information. My first attempt at doing this resulted in copying and pasting from various sources on the Internet which are already excellent compilations of history and analysis. Time challenged portfolio careerists quite simply don't have the luxury of rewriting and condensing what is already there.

For today's afternoon concert at the Vredenburg "Groot Zaal", the great concert hall which seats 2,000, I have put together my first Programme Notes, which I hope to continue with future concerts.

And the next concert? 17th March 2006 Friday -- once again, FREE.

12 March 2006

Related links:
The Culture Vulture Club
analyticalQ show reviews
Concert programme notes
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page. See her publication list for more.
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