Could crowd-funding be THE way to ensure orchestra concerts happen?
Or more specifically, to get new orchestras started?
Established orchestras have a board of experienced and well-connected advisors, a reliable donation program, regular donors, a long mailing list, contracts with its members, and a lot of planning in advance. New orchestras have to prove themselves. Some do so with hot items such as up-and-coming young conductors and soloists.
Unitas Ensemble’s crowd-funding campaign exceeded its goal in less than two months before its debut concert on May 3rd.
Another new orchestra — the Eureka! Orchestra — is asking for less than half that amount in two weeks’ time. Besides works of Mahler and Beethoven, the orchestra will perform the well-loved Aranjuez Concerto of the blind composer Joaquin Rodrigo, without requiring amplification of the classical guitar. A representative of Rodrigo’s family said, “I am most happy to learn that the Concierto de Aranjuez will be performed in the frame of a title such as Heroism and Transcendence. Yes indeed, it is truth in the entire body of works by Joaquin Rodrigo.”
I’m convinced that crowd-funding is THE way to go for new orchestras and new concerts.
- First, not everyone who donates is able to attend. This is their way of participating, through their donations and being kept abreast of the developments. They get mentioned and acknowledged in the program. They see their money going to a good cause.
- Second, starting a new orchestra is like starting a restaurant, according to Eureka’s conductor Mr Kristo Kondakcsi. Why would anyone want to do that? Because it has a new chef? An orchestra is driven by its conductor. Because it offers new tastes? Orchestra-goers, like restaurant-goers, want new sounds.
- Third, new start-ups carry risks. And there are people who want to take that risk. They are willing to pay for the risk and even remove it so that new endeavors take root and happen. And there are people with the money who want to give to such ventures.
- Fourth, if we stick with the established, i.e. the orchestras that have name recognition and advance season tickets and programs, we stick with the known and the safe. How will we discover new orchestras? New conductors? New soloists? New works? Sometimes it’s exciting to bet on the unknown. And that’s what a successful crowd funding campaign offers.
Kristo Kondakcsi explains the importance of making the music relevant to the audience so that the orchestra can speak to many different kinds of audiences. He says, “The idea of Eureka for example is very moving, because the mission revolves around music as a platform for social thinking and social change; the idea that music exists as a currency for people to connect to and with each other, in the same way that money exists as a currency for people to incentivize progress and work together.”
I just wish I could be in Boston for their May 16th concert at St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston!