Smart Concerts

Orchestras in the Age of Enlightenment

Alan Brown

December 2004, 12 pages. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 3300, Miami, FL, 33131-2349, 305-908-2600


This brief report examines four recent strategies employed by orchestras to enhance traditional concerts that have been met with both boo's and standing ovations. Included are Contextual Programming, or selecting concert programs along clear themes or unifying ideas; Dramatization of Classical Music by introducing theatrical elements including narration, scenery, dance, drama, lighting and video; Visual Enhancements, such as special effects lighting, film, and more commonly live video projection of close ups of conductors and players; and Embedded Interpretation, that includes performers speaking from the stage, videotaped biographies of composers and synchronized program notes broadcast to a PDA-like device that audience members can read while listening.