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Audiences want more modern concert experience, says RPO survey

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More than three in four adults (76%) say they would be more likely to attend an orchestral concert if orchestras took steps to modernise the concert experience, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), considered a number of potential innovations to the classical concert experience, and asked respondents how much they would like to see these changes. Shorter concerts (endorsed by 27% of respondents), more matinee performances (24%), conductors speaking to the audience (20%) and being encouraged to keep phones on during a performance (11%) were among the other things that people people would like to see at orchestral concerts.

The findings follow a successful 2023 BBC Proms, in which ticket sales rose above pre-Covid levels, with 350,000 people attending a show across the eight-week season.

The RPO survey backs up these encouraging statistics, revealing that the number of people that say they would like to experience an orchestral concert has hit a five-year peak. Where a similar survey in 2018 revealed that 79% of respondents would like to experience an orchestral concert, that figure has now climbed to 84%.

Overall, 91% of longstanding orchestral music enthusiasts would most like to see modernising steps taken, and their top suggestions centred around making the orchestra more open and accessible. This group was most likely to want to see more daytime or matinee concerts (34%), ‘meet-and-greets’ with soloists or orchestra members (27%) and conductors talking to the audience before a performance (27%).

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