recording industry troubles

Two Several news items from this week:

the year ahead

Most bloggers took a look back at 2008, but I’d like to look forward, instead.  I’ll take some chances and make a few predictions of what I think will happen in 2009, and also talk about some things that I’d like to happen in 2009 as well.

First, my predictions:

1. The Oregon Symphony will finish its 2009 fiscal year stronger and in better shape than we’ve seen for at least five years.  This will be a result of Portland weathering the recession a bit better than other cities, and because of strong efforts to get people in to the hall to see the orchestra through programming and marketing strategies.

2. A critical mass in performers and presenters of new and contemporary music will start to take shape, resulting in a golden age of new kinds of interdisciplinary collaboration between organizations representing all of the arts.  Unfortunately, this will be a small ensemble phenomenon for now, so don’t look for the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Ballet Theater, Oregon Symphony, or Portland Opera to jump on the bandwagon just yet.

I’m pretty lame at predicting things, so I’ll leave my prognostication to those two areas, and cut my potential losses.

Now, my wish list:

1. For the Oregon Symphony to make a recording in an affordable fashion, distributed via 21st century methods, of the concerts featuring Thomas Svoboda’s new commission for the OSO, Vortex, as well as Brahms’ Third Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with Freddy Kempf and Carlos Kalmar.  It would be a great way to get the OSO out into the national and international eye with great repertoire, a great guest artist and conductor, and a brilliant premiere by a local composer.

2. A locally organized chamber music series featuring top local musicians in an acoustically friendly hall.

3. That people, when they find out I’m a musician in the OSO, don’t ask if it’s a full-time job, and how to I really make my living.

I’m sure that I could come up with a lot more stuff to wish for, but those are my top concerns for now.  Let me hear about your wish lists for the year ahead, musically speaking, and get the comment thread buzzing!

later concert times?

Sam Bergman over at Inside the Classics Arts writes today about the efforts to attract the elusive (and some say mythical) 18-40 year old audience to orchestral concerts.  He offers the idea of a later concert that might synch up with the predilictions of that age group:

But there are ways to massage these things, and a few groups are making the effort. London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment recently launched a series of 10pm concerts aimed squarely at the city’s young professionals, and guess what? They’re apparently turning out in droves. (Part of the appeal appears to be that the audience is allowed, nay, encouraged to drink during the show. No word on whether the orchestra gets to imbibe as well.) In this country, the groups that have tried late-night concerts are generally smaller ensembles unburdened by strict CBAs, but anecdotal evidence suggests that these, too, have been successes.

So, if you’re part of the ridiculously coveted 18-to-40 demographic, what about it? Would you be more likely to show up for a casual, dressed-down, late-night concert than a starchy, formal, early evening one? If we suddenly started doing an Inside the Classics show at 11pm on a Friday night, would you consider starting your bar crawl with us? Or are we really better off looking at the dinner theater option?

Some orchestras have gone for the older crowd with “coffee concerts” at 10 or 11 a.m. – so a 10 p.m. start time (common in some European venues at summer festivals) could be worth trying for some concerts (Antony and the Johnsons being a prime example for us this season).

What do you think?  Take the new poll to the left to register your opinion!