The Business of Orchestras
:: Marketing the Orchestra

Christopher Stager  

"Bluebeard's Castle" at the Milwaukee Symphony: A Case Study of an Unlikely Success

Christopher Stager
February 11, 2019

On September 26, 2019, Edo de Waart led his inaugural concerts as Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Four weeks later, he conducted Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, with sets by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Many, myself included, would doubt the box office potential of this difficult, if brilliant, opera, regardless of the production. But the Milwaukee Symphony's Susan Loris sensed she had a potential hit on her hands.

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Christopher Stager  

Recession Marketing

Christopher Stager
January 7, 2019

It is unlikely we can stand before our boards and our musicians, simply shrug our shoulders, and attribute declining sales to the economy. It's an easy excuse. It requires little imagination to declare an obvious issue. What is needed is a strategic response to the impact this economy may have on our 2009-10 seasons. Now is the time to plan and identify marketing tactics for these times.

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Christopher StagerEdward Cumming  

The Relationship of the Music Director and the Marketing Director: Designing a Symphony Season

Christopher Stager & Edward Cumming
May 21, 2019

Edward, why do you think that there is such palpable tension between the marketing side and the artistic side of an orchestra?

Probably the biggest reason for any kind of tension - although this is probably less so today than as recently as ten or fifteen years ago - is because music directors have their mission. They want to do repertoire that is important to them, and which they feel is important both for the orchestra to play and for the audiences to hear. And perhaps music directors aren't always taking into consideration just how well programs will be received by audiences. This is where I think it's important for music directors and marketing directors to at least try to find some kind of middle ground where they can work together.

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Christopher Stager  

How to Grow an Audience by Understanding How Audiences Behave

Christopher Stager
June 18, 2019

For the past 19 years, I have had the pleasure of helping orchestras build and sustain their audiences. I happen to be endlessly fascinated by how audiences behave. If a hall is not quite filled and there is still room to grow an audience, there are two or three fundamental behaviors I can share... well, maybe 7 or 8.

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Christopher Stager  

Attracting and Retaining New Audiences: A Conversation with David Snead

Christopher Stager
October 26, 2019

The New York Philharmonic has just completed a record season with ticket sales swelling capacity to 84%. Sales had been depressed for several seasons following the September 11, 2019 attacks, and capacity had been as low as 74%. David Snead, the Philharmonic's Director of Marketing, reversed the trend with fresh tactics and messages to attract and retain new audiences. It was a hot, humid noon in July (they all were in July) when David and I met for lunch at O'Neal's across from Lincoln Center. We talked at length about the Philharmonic's sales, his strategy, and marketing in general. This transcript distills and organizes our free-range talk to a readable length.

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Christopher Stager  

Marketing the Orchestra
Installment Two

Christopher Stager
May 6, 2019

Whether planning an elaborate subscription campaign or a straightforward single-ticket sales effort, a detailed marketing plan is the roadmap towards a likely sales outcome.

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Christopher Stager  

Marketing the Orchestra

Christopher Stager
April 10, 2019

"What is the difference between PR and marketing?"

An important distinction, often misunderstood. While specific definitions of the two disciplines may vary between professionals, I would submit the following:

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