While this post isn’t really about pianos, attracting a younger audience for classical music is a goal of many arts organizations, including those dedicated to classical piano performance. So, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is trying out a new dress code, ticket prices and iPads to lure folks to the concert hall.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s standard preconcert announcement is familiar to theater and moviegoers: Turn your mobile devices off before the concert begins.
But for three Fridays in the coming months, the BSO will break tradition and hand out iPads for the audience to use during the performance.
Like other arts institutions, the organization is looking to appeal to the next generation of music lovers — the average age of BSO ticket buyers is 47. The iPads are among the features of “Casual Fridays,” a three-part series designed by the BSO to appeal to a younger crowd.
The cost of attending will be one key change: Tickets start at $25 for second balcony seats, and up to $45 for orchestra floor seats. Television screens in the sections furthest away from the orchestra will offer a close-up view of the conductor.
The experience includes a strong educational element. Surveys have indicated that young people who do visit the BSO were once musicians or come from musical families.
“I think that there is a segment of younger people who just don’t know music as well,” said Kim Noltemy, the BSO’s chief operating and communications officer.
Scores to the music, interviews with the soloists, and introductions to the pieces can be viewed on an app loaded on the iPads. In a departure from typical programming, performers will speak to the audience about the music between pieces. There will be no intermission, but the evening will include a reception. A usually rigid dress code will be relaxed — even jeans will be allowed.