A few months back I was privileged to have an article published in Artivate, the first scholarly journal devoted exclusively to arts entrepreneurship. That article in turn caught the attention of Greg Sandow, who offered some comments on the article (and a link to it as well).
Anyone who’s read this blog will know why the words that follow caught my eye. They’re about what a journal article I was reading called “the traditional orientation of arts presenting organizations (particularly, but not exclusively, “classical” music groups).”
This, said the paper, might be expressed, “this is what we have to offer; won’t you come and see it?”.… To put it bluntly and in market terms: “you should want to buy this. [Now eat your peas!]” When applied to an art form that is likely to have a smaller audience to begin with – such as contemporary chamber music – this attitude guarantees what is the accepted norm for such groups: tiny audiences, shoe-string financial survival, and an existence on the periphery of the larger cultural landscape.
Which is a refreshingly blunt statement of a big problem we’ve had in classical music. This paper was published inn 2012 in Artivate, an online journal of entrepreneurship and the arts, and had been brought to my attention by Artivate‘s editor, Linda Essig, in a comment on a blog post here.
I certainly knew the author of the piece — Jeffrey Nytch, director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music and Assistant Professor of Composition at the College of Music at the University of Colorado Boulder. I know Jeff from the entrepreneurship-at-conservatories circuit, inaugurated a lecture series that’s part of his program, and on this blog ran a marvelous guest post from him about how he promoted a symphony he’d written.
And this Artivate piece — “The Case of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble: An Illustration of Entrepreneurial Theory in an Artistic Setting “— just blew me away. Not just because Jeff so well stated something I myself think, but because he details one truly marvelous solution to the problem, a way to orient arts presentations toward an audience, without for a moment compromising their quality, or their artistic intent.