“After a recent Chicago Symphony event featuring a cello octet, Vince McAley, sporting multiple earrings and a motorcycle jacket, listened to live DJs spinning electronic music while he swigged beer in the lobby,” writes Ben Kesling in Thursday’s (12/26) Wall Street Journal. “ ‘I like how experimental it was,’ said Mr. McAley, a 31-year-old computer technician…. Mr. McAley … said he liked the $25 entry fee, which included beer and pizza. But he says he was impressed by the octet’s performance, and might come back for more…. Many U.S. orchestras are recovering [from the recession] partly … by targeting young people and nontraditional concertgoers…. ‘The immediate severe crush of the recession has subsided,’ said Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras.… Mr. Rosen noted that a big part of the revival has been staging contemporary shows that transform concert halls into ersatz night clubs complete with drinks and mingling…. Cleveland [Orchestra] has introduced an evening ‘Fridays at 7’ program, which starts early and features hip guest artists such as banjoist Béla Fleck…. [At the Phoenix Symphony] a program called ‘Parties of Note’ brings musicians to homes and mansions across the state, cultivating concertgoers with intimate settings and gourmet dinners.”

Posted January 2, 2014

Pictured: Chicago Symphony Orchestra mixed-media concert curated by Mason Bates, Benjamin Shwartz, and Anne Patterson. Photo by Todd Rosenberg