Here is a blog to those who came to our concerts in Utrecht on 12th and 13th September.
We do notice our audiences’ reaction after each piece. It’s even more meaningful observing the reaction of those we know. We love talking to members of the audience afterwards.
After our Saturday Open Monument Day concert, we and four of our friends (a conservatory student, an astrophysicist, a photographer, and a language teacher) meandered to the Recht Bank Restaurant next to the Utrecht Archives for a hearty afternoon meal under a big tree. It was a jolly way to relax after a performance.
We weren’t so lucky today with the colder weather and our pressing schedule to return home for an early morning recording session tomorrow.
The economist in me rants and raves that free concerts are never truly free. Attending a concert requires a conscious effort and commitment to come to the venues, sit down, and listen, given all other activities you could be doing on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The transaction costs and opportunity costs are not zero. If it were truly free, we would be performing in your home!
As Internet and mobile telephone technologies make it ever easier to communicate, search, and get things done, the ideal of a seamless, effortless transaction gets redefined. In contrast, the physical logistics of getting from A to B becomes a relatively nontrivial matter. As a time challenged person, I plan around my trips and destinations. I would hope that our concerts added to your day.
We are aware that we’re competing for our audience’s attention and alternatives not limited to live performances. You could have been staying at home or socialising with friends, but you chose to come and see us perform.
For that, we thank you.
After all, it does make a huge difference whether we see familiar faces in the audience or not. Giving a concert is a kind of communication. I often have to resist the urge to “speak” to those I recognise directly.
I had sent an e-mail with links to the previous three blog entries to personal friends and contacts, University of Utrecht International Neighbours Group discussion board, Utrecht Meetup, International Rotary Club of Utrecht, my various Linked-In groups, Facebook, and Twitter.
You could ask, why make the extra effort of sending out e-mails when these two free concerts in Utrecht were already being heavily promoted by the organisers? Why the extra effort? We’re not getting paid for it. Why bother spending time writing programme notes, translating them into Dutch, editing them, and getting them printed when we’ve only got 30 minutes, at most 45 minutes of unpaid airtime?
Other musicians were also performing for free. Did they also spend as much time as we did? We didn’t have any photos or business cards to give out or CDs to sell. Was our concert a free giveaway — with nothing in return?
The conditions under which we performed were far from optimal. In the Aula of the 600-year old Academiegebouw on Saturday, people were freely moving in and out, causing a kind of restlessness and ambient background noise which made it difficult to concentrate and listen well.
Today’s concert in the not-yet-completed new building of Centrum Muziek XXI was delayed by 30 minutes due to an unexpected change in the schedule. Although we had arrived an hour early, we could not warm up or test the extremely dry acoustics because the hall was occupied for a rehearsal. Our changing room was a windowless toilet for the disabled. There was no soap anywhere to wash our hands, so Robert played with sticky fingers. Our programme notes were nowhere to be found.
The above questions are material for another concert blog on the economics of live concert performances. I had previously commented on risks in concert performances and risk management in concert productions but plan to write more about this, if there is interest.
As every performance is unique, we invite you and your friends and family to come to our forthcoming concerts. Thank you for your support! We welcome your feedback, as always.
Sunday 20 September 2009 Noon (gratis) Oosterkerk, Amsterdam
Saturday 26 September 2009 Evening, House Concert, Amsterdam (new address)
Saturday 3 October 2009 Monument House Concert Series: introducing Derek Gripper, classical guitarist