In Saturday’s (3/2) Sentinel (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), David Dunkle writes, “During a recent Masterworks concert at The Forum, a couple hundred young faces dotted the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra audience. Children, tweens, teens and young adults turned out by the dozens for a performance of 19th-century works by Rimsky-Korsakov and Dvorák. Many were sitting in quality seats inside the 1,800-seat auditorium, seats they or their parents paid only $5 for through an audience-development program titled Musical Chairs. … Developing young audiences for classical music is a critical issue for nearly every American orchestra as their core audiences age … ‘There’s no question the audience for orchestras has gone down,’ said Judith Kurnick, the [League of American Orchestras] vice president for strategic communications. ‘More people are listening to classical music online or through electronics.’ … ‘All orchestras are trying to appeal to a younger crowd,’ Harrisburg Symphony executive director Jeff Woodruff said. ‘We don’t want to alienate or lose our faithful subscribers, but we need to develop audiences for the future.’ Informal polling by the orchestra two years ago found that only 16.4 percent of its audience was younger than the age of 45, and just 5.4 percent were younger than 25. Two-thirds were ages 55 and up.”

Posted March 4, 2013