In Monday’s (4/22) China Daily, Raymond Zhou writes, “Classical music may be on the rise in China, but orchestras are still struggling to find an audience. Whether they are used to add cultural depth to a municipality or educate the public about the beauty of art, they have to constantly prove their worth to both sponsors and the masses. … The government’s continuous efforts to push performing arts groups, including symphony orchestras, from the tight embrace of total State ownership into the wild and stormy sea of the free market is proving more difficult than expected. A Chinese city may be populous, but only a select few [residents] are ardent lovers of classical music. According to Cao Yiji, a manager with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the city of Shanghai, with more than 20 million residents, has around 5,600 people who patronize 10 or more concerts a year while the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, with 3.4 million, has more than 20,000 loyal consumers of classical music. As a result, revenue from paying audiences account for less than 10 percent of income for most Chinese orchestras. The largest sponsor is still government, even though they are technically no longer the ‘owners.’ ”

Posted April 26, 2013