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The word on the street is that American Orchestras are hurting. In 2009 both endowments and audiences have shrunk. This fall we’ve seen the Cleveland Orchestra announce a new residency with the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City and an innovative Friday concert series aimed at a younger crowd. Both moves are intended to reach new audiences and generate new revenue.
In Sunday’s Washington Post, Anne Midgette explores another audience-boosting tactic — the new, celebrity, conductor. Without doubt, the biggest hype of the season surrounds the arrival of Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles. Also this fall, the New York Philharmonic has welcomed maestro Alan Gilbert. It is still too early to tell whether new blood has increased the audience in these cities, but they have reason to be hopeful. Midgette points to Pittsburgh (Manfred Honeck) and Dallas (Jaap van Zweden) as recent examples of orchestras reenergized by new music directors.