House Party + Live Orchestra = New Classical Music Fans

When it comes to attracting new audiences — especially those elusive millennials — a company called Groupmuse has taken a delightfully unexpected approach. They’re basically “Uber, but for millennials who want orchestras in their living rooms,” says Wired magazine.

A string quartet performs for a small audience at a Groupmuse concert. Photo Credit: Wired.

A string quartet performs for a small audience at a Groupmuse concert. Photo Credit: Wired.

Here’s how it works: Through the Groupmuse website, people can volunteer to host a live classical concert at their house (for free) and Groupmuse will match them up with classical musicians and a roster of guests, who’ll pay about $10 each to attend. Since 2013, Groupmuse creator Sam Bodkin has hired more than a thousand musicians and arranged living room concerts on the average of 20 a week in New York, Seattle, Boston and San Francisco.

It’s a whole new way of expanding audiences. Many of the 25,000 people who’ve attended Groupmuse shows are new to classical music, and their exposure is in an intimate setting where the musicians have fun and break conventions. “We’ve had Dvorak and then string quartet arrangements of Guns and Roses,” says Bodkin. “We’ve had Chopin on the piano and then Brazilian choro music.”

As Wired explains, there’s a wider benefit for live entertainment venues, too:

“Groupmuse audiences offer a demographic different from the usual Lincoln Center crowd: 70 percent of ‘musers’ were born in the 1980s and ’90s. That’s wildly attractive to organizations like the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where half the audience is over 65.

‘All orchestras are concerned that once the older audience goes, they’re gone for good,’ says Katherine Johnson, director of communications at the New York Philharmonic. ‘Bringing 30-somethings and 20-somethings into the concert hall—they’re the future.’

Starting this month, Groupmuse has begun offering discounted tickets in partnership with both outfits, as well as other classical music institutions.”

This hits on a topic Jim talks about a lot: exposing audiences to new forms of live entertainment. Because once people have those magical experiences, they’re hooked. Check out the full article on Wired.

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