Faced with declining interest in classical music, The Cleveland Orchestra is rolling out a plan to make concerts less expensive and easier to attend, with a goal of attracting and preserving new audiences for years to come.
Through its new Center for Future Audiences, the orchestra plans to implement more ticket discounts like the one offered to children for its summer concerts at Blossom Music Center, eventually making concerts at Severance free to targeted audiences and subsidizing more affordable prices for people of all ages.
Gary Hanson, Executive Director of the Orchestra, says this the goal is to make the orchestra accessible to everyone, especially young people.
“We’re setting an ambitious goal for the center--the goal of having the youngest audience of any orchestra in the country by the time of our centennial in 2018,” Hanson said during Tuesday’s event at Severence Hall to announce the new initiative.
The Center will operate with a planned endowment of 60 million dollars, starting with a donation of 20 million from the Maltz Family Foundation.
Ross Binnie, who was hired as the orchestra’s Chief Marketing Officer last February, has been named Director of the new Center.
“Ticket prices have ridden six times ahead of income in the last 25 years, and attendance has dropped,” Binnie said. “This center provides me and my colleagues the strength for us to say that a person in a seat has as much value as a dollar in that seat.”
The center will also design programs that take the orchestra into local communities.