This classic love

Thanks to Hein Braaksma and the Schwung Visuell boys I was fortunate enough to find myself at the table of Ingeborg Walinga, Marcel Mandos and Roelof Voorintholt, who are running the NNO (Noord Nederlands Orkest) – the classical orchestra that calls Groningen its home. The question on the table being: how do we get a different and younger audience to attend the NNO concerts. A question that a lot of institutes with a long history are asking; museums and churches find themselves facing exactly the same problem. We’ve seen plenty of marketing ploys, add-ons and superficial modernizing in all these institutions, but rarely something that lasts. The trouble often is that the add-ons have nothing to do with the principle the institution is based on. Why that is? You will rarely find any institution (or company for that matter) that has a clear cut, well definied raison d’etre. And while that is lacking, there is a big door with a huge sill in the form of an aging audience that a young customer does not feel part of, content that is hard to interpret and few contemporaries that can lead you into this world. So even when the quality is fantastic, the musicians are top notch, and you organize a collaboration with Steve Vai or Armin van Buuren, that does not take away all of the things withholding people from being part of classical music. Your audience needs a sense of ownership and the very first step is getting hold of the keys to the door for at least once. Roger, Ronnie and I will be test piloting the current offerings of the NNO in the months to come and hope to be adding ideas together with Hein after that. We’ll keep you posted, just to make sure you feel part of it. Ideas on the subject are welcome.