not queen, not duke, not prince

Some follow-up to the previous post, on what I would try to do were I Music Director of an orchestra in Utopia:

--in line with more concerts and an economy of abundance would be lower tickets prices

--the atmosphere at concert music concerts is daunting to some people, mostly people new to the experience, and I really don't know what the answer is. I like to dress up to go to concerts and, especially, the opera, but I have absolutely no problem with people who don't

--the applause issue is complicated beyond my poor powers to resolve it. Applauding after a solo in jazz is expected, and the rhythm section can vamp until the applause subsides, but there is no such vamping in concert music. And the shushing of clapping after movement is as distracting as the applause itself might be. Plus, there are many pieces with movements that seem to call for applause at their conclusions, so, as I said, I don't know the answer to that one

--other audience sound, such as talking, and other distraction, texting, etc. Concert music typically has a wider range of volume levels than do other kinds of music, and the "average" volume level of concert music in undoubtedly lower than most others, and if the audience is talking one may miss some music; common courtesy towards one's fellow concert-goers would seem to be in order

--the balance between being welcoming to new and inexperienced audiences and respecting the ability of others to experience the music in a focused way is not an easy thing to achieve

--theme concerts are, or can be, a very good thing. They can also be achingly precious, so tread lightly

--composer birthday concerts are too easy and too common, unless it's mine, and you take me out to dinner afterwards


if i were king of the forest!

Keith Chaffee, proprietor of the fine LA culture (non-pop and pop) blog In Which Our Hero, has asked, in another forum, what you would do if you were Music Director of the Utopia Symphony. Here's my answer:

--shorter concerts and more concerts (the concert music world operates economies of scarcity when they should operate economies of abundance)
--no big name soloists unless they play unusual (and by that I almost always mean "new") repertoire
--frequent premieres; even more frequent second performances
--local composers, especially if they are unaffiliated
--talk about the music from the stage, with examples
--as a general rule, talk about unusual pieces as if they are familiar (I can almost guarantee that they all have effects that everyone has heard before) and the familiar repertoire as if it were fucked up (because it is)
--I would have the occasional concert or semi-staged version of certain operas; it can make you hear them differently, which is always good (NOTE: Keith had said he would not have these, as the are being produced by the Utopia Opera Company)
--give the strings a rest every now and then; the wind/percussion repertoire is rich and expanding
--I'm not sure what you (NOTE: a different poster had called for such explorations) mean by exploring the boundaries between concert and folk music, so I won't comment
--no film music unless the film is being projected behind the orchestra
--no fucking pops; I mean it

EDIT: The indispensable Lisa Hirsch programs the Utopia Opera Company here.