The earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan on 11th March 2011 has ignited various fundraising events for the Red Cross and other relief organisations. Among them are benefit concerts organised by musicians.
At time of writing, I have been notified of three forthcoming benefit concerts for Japan that are initiated and/or given by my musician friends. It’s a brave undertaking that requires extra effort beyond a normal concert. As I am unable to attend any of these concerts due to my current location in Maui, I share these here and invite my readers to pass it on.
Wednesday 30 March 2011 @ 5:30 pm
Church of St. John the Evangelist
35 Bowdoin Street, Boston
Linda Kernohan, composer, pianist, organist, and prolific blogger of Miss Music Nerd, will be giving two concerts in Boston. I met Linda at the first concert of 5-week USA tour on 21st October 2010. Her husband had worked in Okinawa, where I spent 11 years of my youth. Since meeting Linda, I have followed her on Twitter and her blog. The concert features herself on the organ together with a host of other musicians, including countertenor Yakov Zamir.
Friday 1st April 2011 @ 8:30 pm
Amstelveen (a neighbourhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Doors open 8 pm for 8:30 pm start
Pop concert at Poppodium P60
Keiko Kotari, my classmate from Utrecht Conservatory, and her husband Marten Tilstra, both concert pianists initiated this charity pop concert. Keiko was in Kobe when the previous big earthquake hit Japan in 1995.
I had immediately assumed when Keiko mentioned her intention to organise a charity concert on the Facebook wall that it would be a classical concert and that she would play. What a surprise to learn last week that it was to be a jazz, latin, rock and pop concert.
The concert features highly acclaimed blind Dutch pianist Bert van den Brink whose performances have inspired many people. I don’t know the other musicians, but you can hear the sultry voice of Latin singer Denise Rivera here. The website of the 5-member experimental rock band NiCad takes awhile to load, but it’s worth visiting to see how they met and skyrocketed to fame. The concert ends with the 14-member party band “Night Flight to Rio.”
Tickets are € 15 and can be ordered through the website of P60. The complete revenue of this concert will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross, for immediate relief for the victims in Miyagi prefecture. More info at SOS Japan Website.
Wednesday 6th April 2011 @ 7:30 pm
Central London (near Warren Street tube station)
Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way
Algerian singer and artist Houria Niati and her duo Habiboun will be performing in a mega concert featuring many artists of that genre: flamenco, arab-andalucian, and latin music. Tickets are 12 pounds each by reservation or at the door.
The economics of benefit concerts is the topic of another blog. Concert production is an activity that involves high transaction costs. Benefit concerts require that extra mile to attract people to come, get people to pay, and generate the income that more than breaks even.
One way is to ask musicians give their time and talent (for free or for a reduced fee) while the public (the listeners) pay more than what they would normally pay for such a concert, resulting in above average income for a good cause. For this to work optimally (i.e maximise the funds raised), the venues should have large capacity and need to be filled. Listeners are persuaded to give as much as possible to maximise revenue. Profit maximisation requires not just revenue maximisation but cost minimisation or elimination. In other words, hire the venue for free, get piano tuners to tune without charge, get additional sponsors to defray other production costs, and get all of this done as efficiently as possible.