The Music Academy has seen its reach similarly expanded through the Concert Hall Online. Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, for example, was originally to have headlined a concert at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre. A sell-out performance in this venue would have reached approximately 600 people. So far on Facebook, the brass and percussion fellows’ performance of Fanfare for the Common Man has received thousands of likes and been shared 99 times by users in multiple countries. And the views? As of yesterday, the video had been viewed nearly 1,200 times, double the number it would have reached in person. The Sing! Season Finale Concert is another great example. Had it taken place in Hahn Hall its reach would have been limited to around 300 people. In less than 24 hours in the Concert Hall Online it had already been viewed by more than 400.
Now, let’s not pretend this is normal or ideal. Like all of you, we long for a return to normalcy, to be able to join together and experience live music again. But maybe this experience is showing us a brighter—and broader— future. During normal circumstances, the size of the audience for a given performance is limited by the constraints of physical space. The Concert Hall Online—and other similar initiatives—isn’t. It isn’t located in Santa Barbara, and it doesn’t have a maximum capacity; it’s located everywhere, and its reach is theoretically boundless. As the classical music industry tries to reach new audiences, perhaps a hybrid model combining live performance and streaming options is the way forward. Not either/or, but both/and.
– Henry Michaels
Resonance editor, Audience Services and Community Access Manager, Music Academy of the West