The 05/30/2007 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer published an excellent article by David Patrick Stearns which examines the dynamic value of free and subsidized cost classical music events…
In the article, Stearns quotes Free For All At Town Hall, a nonprofit organization which presents “great musicians in concerts that are free to the public in spaces that are good for both the music and the audience,” cofounder Omus Hirshbein as saying this about how they manage to present such an exceptional classical music concert series:
“You know that classical-music concerts never cover their costs…why not raise more money and give it away?”
Kudos to Stearns for highlighting such a simple, yet spot-on, philosophy behind how presenting classical music should be approached. Consequently, I’m equally pleased to see mention of Philadelphia Orchestra’s recent efforts to increase the number of free concerts they offer each season. I remember a previous article of the Inquirer where incoming Philly Orchestra President & CEO James Undercoffler was quoted as saying it was one of his priorities to find ways to increase the number of free concerts and lower ticket prices. I’m glad to see the Inquirer is keeping tabs on those efforts.
Furthermore, kudos to Free For All At Town Hall’s mission. It is clear that this organization understands the core elements for building a successful classical music organization:
Artistic Quality First
Favorable Location and Audience Environment