Classical music, new ideas: growing the fine music audience

Ideas and initiatives for expanding the classical music audience beyond its established, ageing demographic.
An audience that's part music festival, part concert gathers under sunset-dappled clouds at the Adelaide Showgrounds.

One of the ongoing challenges facing any arts organisation is its continued audience development. For many in the classical music sector this is something of a Hydra with its multiple faces representing an aging demographic, declining audience numbers, more competition for the audience’s discretionary dollars, fundamental shifts in the way classical music can be consumed, and changed habits brought about by COVID and other factors.   

So what are the secrets to sustainable audience development and continued audience engagement for the classical music sector? Is it creative programming, affordable ticket pricing, great marketing and social media, audience accessibility, or a complex mix of all these elements? And is it a question of attracting more people into concert halls and broadening the audience base, or about encouraging the existing audience to attend more frequently?

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Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.