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Symphonies attracting new audiences

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Across the country symphonies are trying to appeal to different crowds to increase their popularity and their support base.

When you think of attending a symphony or an orchestra, it traditionally doesn’t include young adults and modern music, but times are certainly changing. The Kansas City Symphony is one of those trying to bring in younger crowds.

“We try to create programming to appeal to the widest possible segment of the community,” said Frank Byrne, the Executive Director of the Kansas City Symphony. “We know that not everybody likes one single thing.”

Byrne said they’ve started some new programs, a trend happening with symphonies all over the country.

“It’s totally different in format than our normal classical concerts,” he added.

One of the programs is called Classics Uncorked. It’s one of many non-traditional performances attempting to draw new audiences.

“It’s shorter, it starts earlier, it’s the musicians in casual attire, there’s some talking from the stage, maybe some demonstrations of the music about to be performed little excerpts played to give the audience a frame of reference,” said Byrne.

Symphonies have a reputation for being pricy and for appealing to one stereotypical audience.

“What we’re trying to do is to remove any barriers or perceptions,” he said.

The Kansas City Symphony’s new format is a way to encourage people to experiment.

“The structure of the program is really designed for people that want an introduction to the symphony,” said Byrne. “It’s inexpensive, all tickets are 25 dollars and there’s a social component, where after the concert, with the price of your 25 dollar ticket you get a glass of wine or champagne, and a chance to mingle with the musicians from the symphony.”

By targeting non-traditional concertgoers, symphonies are having a comeback to keep up with modern times.

“With shorter pieces, talking, and a little bit of interaction, it makes people feel more comfortable and more welcome, and it gives them a frame of reference to enjoy the music,” said Byrne.

For more on shows and information on the Kansas City Symphony, please visit: https://www.kcsymphony.org/

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