Michael Sowa

Department English and American Studies
PhD Supervisor Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sabine Coelsch-Foisner
PhD Co-Supervisor tba
Start Winter semester 2012/13
Contact michael.sowa@sbg.ac.at
Topic/Title Changing Cultural Infrastructures: Classical Music Entrepreneurship in the Era of Capitalism

Abstract

Even though there are more outstanding classical musicians than ever touring from one internationally renowned concert venue to another, from an audience perspective, the demand for classical music—especially among young people—has waned considerably. But why are young people engaged in all sorts of diverse activities except classical music? With the rise of globalization, the world has experienced some tremendous social changes. This has led to a strong economy-based value awareness, and conversely, to an ongoing reduction of arts-related subjects in school curricula. In addition to the need for substantial reforms in education policies, there is also a range of supportive opportunities for the concert promoter to combat this unfortunate development: from education and audience development programmes focusing on a modification of the presentation form of the music (concert etiquette) to activities aiming to reduce several unjustified prejudices (marketing). In contrast to a for-profit company, a non-profit arts organization is not necessarily supposed to address market demands but rather to fulfil its artistic mission. Contrary to this theoretical basis, the absence of the audience and the subsequent loss of ticket sale revenues forces concert promoters to adjust their programmes to demands of the market by integrating other genres into their classical music programmes. Considering the economic realities, this dissertation examines the justification of any possible programme adjustments: modifications in terms of concert etiquette or marketing demands by the audience without affecting the necessary artistic excellence. Furthermore, it addresses the question whether such programme adjustments actually lead to a greater interest in classical music or rather support other genres that are not eligible for being supported by public funds. How much entrepreneurial initiative can a concert promoter take without harming the arts? Within this context, it is also important to consider the different funding systems in the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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