All orchestras want to “stretch” and offer repertoire that challenges both the players and the audience — that strengthens the symphonic art form and moves us into the future. But selling these concerts to our regular patrons can be very challenging. Orchestras with liberal return policies find subscribers giving in their tickets to the “stretch” concert and opting for a Pops or special concert instead.
Yet the Milwaukee Symphony was able to sell out their performances of Bartok’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle back in 2009 by making it an “event.” Christopher Stager, of CRStager marketing & audience development, interviewed Milwaukee Symphony’s Susan Loris, VP of Marketing & Communications, and Sarah Hogan, Associate Director of Marketing, to learn more about their marketing plan and how they engineered such a successful outcome.
I imagine having fabulous sets by Dale Chihuly didn’t hurt their success!