US Orchestras: Ways to Enhance Subscriber Relationships

American Orchestras Need to Get “Sticky” to Meet Challenges: A study from Oliver Wyman, “Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model,” commissioned by the League of American Orchestras, argues that American orchestras can meet their challenge to retain subscribers and meet revenue needs by exploring methods used in other industries (e.g., retail, grocery, fitness), that build “stickier” relationships with customers.


There has been a shift away from subscriptions and toward single purchasing. Subscriptions are a key source of revenue, so the shift presents orchestras with difficult choices. Some larger orchestras have offset declines by increasing prices, but that strategy is unsustainable and the tradeoff may be reaching a break point that could trigger a far sharper drop in revenues. The report recommends that the current subscription model must be revitalized and it identifies strategies that orchestras of all sizes can use to increase customer loyalty and participation.

The data-rich study – the first of its kind for American orchestras – draws on ten years of data from four million customers across 45 orchestras of varying sizes and a profile and preferences survey of
4,000 people who attended an orchestra concert in the last five years. The final recommendations
are informed by a dynamic market simulation that tested the willingness-to-pay of 1,000 people making 10,000 purchasing decisions in order to reveal the relative attractiveness of various package features.

Some interesting facts uncovered by the study:
• Satisfaction remains high: Consumers do remain broadly satisfied with the orchestral concert experience – 90% of each patron type is satisfied with their orchestra-going experience and subscribers are the happiest with 77% reporting they are “very satisfied.”
• Consumers are not abandoning the orchestra for other art forms or entertainment options; but they are disenchanted with traditional subscription models.
• Millennials are not as price sensitive as many have assumed. To attract them, orchestras should consider expanding their use of social media, apps, and “bring-a-friend” programs that rely on the high level of interconnectedness of those young consumers.
• It’s about the relationships: Orchestras should explore methods used in other industries (e.g., retail, grocery, fitness), that build “stickier” relationships with customers.
“We are grateful to Oliver Wyman for their contribution to our understanding of subscription dynamics. The study provides a fact-based platform to support the experimentation and innovation taking place at orchestras today,” notes League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

Partha Bose, Partner at Oliver Wyman, sees the report as further evidence of Oliver Wyman’s deep commitment to the communities in which the firm works. “The recommendations contained in this report combine deep analytical rigor and sensitivity to the unique challenges of the entire range of America’s orchestras, large and small. They are cultural mainstays of the cities and towns in which they are located, and we hope the report helps them to flourish and to continue to enrich all of our lives.”

The report can be found at and at

A version is also available on the iTunes App Store at

Help sacked MPO players to fight their case at court!

A Malaysian court has tweaked the law to deny basic rights to seven foreign players who were summarily dismissed by the Malaysian Philharmonic, as reported earlier. The orchestra remains under an international musicians boycott.

This appeal comes from one of the disenfranchised seven. Please support this appeal if you can and forward this message.

“I am one of the seven musicians fired three years ago by the Malaysian Philharmonic. After an interminably long wait, the judge has finally delivered her verdict: despite our many years of dedicated work with the orchestra, including long service bonuses and contractual retirement clauses, and despite our unblemished employment records, we were all in fact fixed-term, temporary employees, and had no right to expect continued employment. She decided that the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra had every right to terminate our employment at the end of our current contracts, without giving any notice or reason.

From all the legal advice we have since received, and the case readings we have done, this decision goes completely against the Malaysian Industrial Relations Act, and against just about every precedent that has been set by previous cases. If allowed to stand unchallenged, it will affect every current and future employee of the Malaysian Philharmonic, and seems to give Malaysian employers the right to terminate any employee at will as long as they have implied their “intention” to use a fixed-term contract. Up until this case, under Malaysian law, the burden of proof was always on the employer to establish that the recourse to the fixed-term engagement of the workers was genuinely related to their establishment or undertaking. That appears to be the case no longer.

We believe that an injustice has been done, and are determined to exhaust all of our options to make it right. The legal fees involved are substantial, however, and all of us have had our future earning potential severely affected by our dismissals. To that end, we have established a fundraising campaign to help our supporters contribute, and would like to invite your readers to participate.

Donations can be made anonymously, and we pledge to be completely transparent with the use of those funds, and with our progress. Everything we receive will go to our legal fund, and at the end of the case, if we win a monetary award, we will either return your donation to you in full (if you wish), or make a lump sum donation of the full amount collected to a worthy youth orchestra.”

To support, please visit:

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Boston Symphony Orchestra enter into a new alliance

The freshly annouced strategic alliance between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony opens a new window of globalization in the arts.

Gewandhaus Leipzig, Germany

Gewandhaus Leipzig, Germany

Historically, a long standing tradition unites the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. These mutual ties are now intensified with Andris Nelsons’ appointment as Gewandhauskapellmeister from the 2017/18 season.
The history of close cultural connections between Leipzig and Boston began in 1881, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) founder, Henry Lee Higginson, appointed Leipzig Conservatory-trained Georg Henschel as its first conductor. Subsequent conductors of the BSO, including Wilhelm Gericke, Emil Pauer, Max Fiedler, Karl Muck, and most importantly, Arthur Nikisch, were all educated in Leipzig and also held posts with the Gewandhausorchester (GWO). From the middle of the twentieth century, the connection was reinforced when Charles Münch became the Music Director of the BSO in 1949, remaining in the position until 1962. Münch was also educated in Leipzig and had been Concertmaster of the Gewandhausorchester from 1926 to 1933. In addition, Boston’s Symphony Hall (1900) presents a structure inspired by the second Gewandhaus.
Based on this historic bond, and under the leadership of Andris Nelsons, Mark Volpe, Managing Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Gewandhausdirektor Andreas Schulz are planning a unique multi-dimensional partnership to explore and share the heritage and strengths of both ensembles.

Various aspects of this cooperation include:

Co-commissions and Educational Initiatives
The BSO/GWO Alliance, under the leadership of Andris Nelsons, will feature a series of co-commissions, with new works presented each year of the partnership, starting with a work by German composer Jörg Widmann to be presented in Boston and Leipzig in the 2017-18 concert season. Several European and American composers, representing a diversity of styles and generations, will also be commissioned for performance by both ensembles. The Alliance will also focus on some key educational initiatives including a program that will give Conducting Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center (BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy at its summer home in western Massachusetts) an opportunity to assist Andris Nelsons with his work with the Gewandhausorchester. BSO musicians will also take part in the GWO’s music education programs.

Programming Highlighting Each Orchestra’s Musical Heritage
During the 2017-2018 subscription season, the BSO will celebrate “Leipzig Week in Boston” at Symphony Hall and the GWO will celebrate “Boston Week in Leipzig” at the Gewandhaus, giving each orchestra an opportunity to focus on some of the repertory for which their partner organization is best known. Since its founding in 1743, the GWO has been associated with some of the greatest figures of music history, having given the premiere of works by Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms; this tradition continued into the 20th century with scores by such significant composers as Henze, Kanscheli, and Rihm, among others. The BSO’s own compositional legacy is, likewise, without parallel, including some of the seminal scores of the last century from composers ranging from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Bartok, to Messiaen, and Dutilleux and a myriad of Americans including, Copland, Bernstein, Sessions, Carter, and Harbison, among others. The BSO/GWO Alliance will provide an opportunity for each orchestra to program a selection of works by composers particularly associated with each of these great orchestras; this programming strand will also be highlighted in chamber music performances, lectures, panel discussions, and exhibits, with the goal of inspiring a new understanding of this great repertoire.

BSO Performing at Gewandhaus and GWO Peforming at Symphony Hall
One of the most exciting components of the Alliance will be a chance for the BSO to perform at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and the GWO to perform at Symphony Hall in Boston, giving each orchestra’s audience a chance to appreciate this new partnership first hand. The BSO/GWO Alliance will also explore musician exchanges between the two orchestras.
This segment of the cooperation will begin on May 5, 2016, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra will give its premiere guest performance in the Gewandhaus.

Christoph Wolff, Artistic Advisor
Christoph Wolff, Adams University Professor at Harvard University, Director of the Bach Archive from
2001 to 2013 in Leipzig, and author of numerous acclaimed texts on the history of music from the 15th and 20th centuries, will serve as an artistic advisor to the BSO/GWO Alliance (please see bio below). Further details about the programs of the BSO/GWO Alliance will be announced at a later date.

Quote by Andris Nelsons
“I am thrilled to accept the appointment of Gewandhauskapellmeister alongside my music directorship with the remarkable Boston Symphony Orchestra,” said Andris Nelsons. “It is also an immense privilege to be partnering these two world class institutions—each with their own deeply rich musical heritage — and to be leading them in an innovative and forward-thinking alliance spanning two continents. This wonderful new alliance between the BSO and GWO will give us a unique opportunity to explore each of these orchestra’s great music traditions, as well as create exciting and meaningful new experiences for our audiences at home and around the world. We are very much looking forward to the musical journey that lies ahead.”

@ClassicalNEXT Calls for Programme Proposals for 2016

The classical music meeting and worldwide innovators network Classical:NEXT has opened its annual call for proposals. Classical music professionals from all over the globe can submit their suggestions for showcase artists as well as for video presentations and conference sessions to be held at Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 25-28 May 2016.


To offer an exceptional programme, Classical:NEXT assembles a handpicked selection of artists, speakers and projects each year. All proposals will be considered by an independent jury of international experts – guaranteeing a neutral and balanced selection of only the best showcases and most pressing conference topics for Classical:NEXT 2016 at Rotterdams de Doelen concert hall and congress centre. Proposals can be made for Live Showcases and Video Showcases as well as for short Project Pitches and entire Conference Sessions.

Deadline to apply via the online proposal system is Friday, 25 September 2015.

Building on the Classical:NEXT Momentum
Hundreds of proposals are expected again, with the numbers being likely to rise, given that this May’s Classical:NEXT meeting was attended by a record number of 1,000 professionals from 45 countries. The entire Classical:NEXT network now unites over 2,000 international movers, shakers and everyday innovators from all sectors of the classical music business and 2015 sees an increased attention in the live sector as well as in the media.

For more information and to submit proposals, please visit:

Revolution for Streaming of Classical Music on the way!? [@idagio_official]

Classical music shall be accessible for everybody. The new platform IDAGIO offers an easy-to-use service for performers and audiences which could be a revolution for the distribution of classical music. Watch IDAGIO Founder Till Janczukowicz introduce IDAGIO for iOS at the Salzburg Festival, and discuss the future of classical music with Andreas Großbauer, Franz Welser-Möst and Ray Chen.

IDAGIO - the revolution of streaming classical music!?

IDAGIO – the revolution for streaming classical music!?

In the coming months, the new platform IDAGIO will gradually roll out features that will allow musicians to upload their recordings and build a global audience of classical music lovers.  If you are a musician or institution and want to be among the first to have access to these features, you should consider joining the IFAGIO mailing list or get in touch directly via

Already some of the most renowned musicians and orchestras (Vienna Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Ray Chen, Thomas Hampson, Franz Welser-Möst) already joining IDAGIO as launch partners.

Find the whole presentation at:

Gaining profile! Orchestras semi-autonomous and happy?

Orchestras in Germany (and elsewhere in the world) integrated into a multi-section house or opera house often have a low profile, their contribution barely noticed by audiences and underplayed within the institutional marketing mix. It is the semi-autonomous ensembles that have the freedom to create their own artistic programme and identity – which in turn can become a valuable complement to the activities of a theatre or opera house.

BOBAt the same time brand building is possible even within the limitations of a multi-section house: small concert series, outreach programmes and a clearly defined online presence on the institution’s homepage can all contribute to a much stronger profile. For example the Erzgebirgische Philharmonie Aue is a case study for a small theatre orchestra with a strong, regionally rooted identity. Grown from a merger of two ensembles – one a theatre orchestra, the other a concert orchestra – they have combined their respective strengths to become a key player in the cultural life of the region. By contrast, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is strongly resisting calls to be integrated into the municipal theatre, for whose opera programme it currently functions as a semi-autonomous “service provider”. This relative independence is important – both for the ensemble’s cultural profile, but also to protect it from the political fallout of ongoing budget quarrels.

The Staatskapelle Weimar is another example for – in this case, far-reaching – semi-autonomy: part of the Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar plc, its labour committee even has a say in the ensemble’s controlling and is thus able to influence programming and touring. While the added responsibility requires considerable extra effort, it also adds greatly to flexibility. Perhaps the opposite end is represented by the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal. While the past decade under Toshiyuki Kamioka was artistically very fruitful, the ensemble – doing both opera and concert “service” – has a somewhat indistinct profile. This is partly due to staff issues, but also comes down to details such as a hard-to-find webpage

YEAH! Festival 2015: June 16 to 20 in Osnabrück (Germany) @jungeohren

On 16th to 20th June 2015, YEAH! Festival will turn the city into a colourful marketplace of current music productions from all over Europe for the Osnabrück audience and its guests. And the new date in early summer is not the only novelty: for the first time, YEAH! will have its own temporary venue in a big tent on the cathedral square.

Yeah! Award 2015 - Innovation in Music Presentation

Yeah! Award 2015 – Innovation in Music Presentation

The festival will also be supported by strong local partners such as the Theater Osnabrück, the Musik- und Kunstschule Osnabrück, the Music Institute of the FH Osnabrück and Fokus e.V. as well as the Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus GmbH.

The YEAH! festival has established itself as a lively platform for professional exchange in the education and outreach scene. The YEAH! festival is not only a platform for artists that address today’s and tommorrow’s audience with their work; it also gives new impulses to European dialogue with its exchange meetings and conferences. All nominated projects will be invited to present themselves at the project exchange meeting. All applicants and guests are very welcome to take part in the festival, get inspired and come together to develop musical formats and topics and to think ahead.

The YEAH! Young EARopean Award is a project of the Stiftung Stahlwerk Georgsmarienhütte (Georgsmarienhütte Steelworks Foundation) and the netzwerk junge ohren (network young ears).

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