In order to win over millennials to classical music, orchestras around the U.S. have been trying a number of new ways to blend social media and technology to better engage a younger audience. One such effort is being led by the Boston Symphony Orchestra who loan younger patrons with fully loaded iPads with specific content to each performance. The first trial began on last Friday with others scheduled for February and March
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that those with iPads will "be able to view sheet music for the pieces being played, video interviews with musicians, podcasts about the composers and analysis on the works themselves. They'll also get a close-up view of the conductor from the musicians' point of view from video monitors set up in the hall."
Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, an approximately 800-member group based in New York, says orchestras are trying to appeal to a new generation's changing expectations for the concert experience.
Rosen added that "It's about enhancing the visual experience of listening to a symphony orchestra. It's also about making the experience more intimate and creating a more visible contact between the performer and the audience, which is something younger audiences really seem to value."
Kim Noltemy, the group's chief operating and communications officer said that for now, the iPads will be offered only to the 110 people seated in the rear orchestra. That section is under the balcony overhang, she notes, helping limit the impact of screen glow on other audience members. The devices will also be on a dim setting, and patrons will be given headphones to tune into the video and audio segments.