Classical Music World: Why People Don’t Go to Classical Music Concerts

LACA Artistic Director

Classical music has somehow acquired a reputation for being “snooty.” As artistic director of the Los Alamos Concert Association I think about this a lot and am always looking for ways to let folks know that it ain’t necessarily so!

Here is a list of three reasons why (I think) people don’t come to classical concerts and my stab at enticing them through the door anyway.   

Reason #1: I don’t know anything about classical music.

Who says you need to know anything? We’re talking about music, the universal language!

Several years ago, LACA presented the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra with the legendary guitarist Pepe Romero. We invited an entire class of mariachi students from Española to attend as our guests. None of those kids had ever been to a classical concert of any kind.

The orchestra opened with Bela Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra. I am acquainted with plenty of knowledgeable adults who might decide to stay home if they saw Bartok on the program, so I was a little anxious about how those kids would react. At the final chord, every one of them leapt up and cheered. They arrived with no idea of what to expect, opened their ears and were swept away.  

Reason #2: I would have to dress up.

No way! 

I once saw a woman at the Santa Fe Opera wearing (no joke!) a Hefty Bag, a cost-effective way to avoid getting damp in the partially uncovered hall if it rained. (I’m pretty sure she had more conventional clothes on under the bag.) You might want to change the clothes you wore to drain the oil from your car, but if you don’t, no one will kick you out.

Reason #3: It is too expensive.

Have you checked out rock concert prices lately? Even if you avoid the scalpers, dropping 100 bucks per ticket for a decent seat is pretty standard. 

Los Alamos Concert Association single tickets go for $30 at CB FOX and Smith’s and, if you act before Sept. 1, there are pre-season deals that can bring that price down to around $22. Since the Smith Auditorium has open seating, you can use your ticket to snag the best seat in the house if you arrive early enough. You can even bring your school-age kids to every concert for nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada.

As a special bonus, you will usually have a chance to talk to the artists and get autographs in the lobby after the performance. When is the last time the Stones schmoozed in the lobby with their fans after a performance?  In January, cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Andrius Zlabys spent an hour with adoring fans (most under 18) in the lobby after the concert signing autographs and taking selfies. Priceless!

Take a look at this little video by the Anderson and Roe Piano Duo, the first artists on our new season beginning Sept. 28. Nothing snooty about it at all!

Check out our website for information about all the great artists we’ll be presenting and give classical music a chance. You’ll like it. Really!

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