Restoring Classical Music in the New Millennium – Part 3

Recap of Parts 1 & 2:

PART 1: The first installment of the “Restoring Classical Music in the New Millennium” series placed the spotlight on a couple of young and talented classical musicians.  At the same time, it helped demonstrate the charitable nature that is characteristic of the Millennial generation as a whole.  Illustrating young talent and their attention to benefiting the greater good, I shared the stories of two amazing Millennial classical musicians: Jourdan Urbach, a 21 year-old violinist and philanthropist, and Nicola Benedetti, a lovely 25-year-old violinist with a passion for music education.

PART 2: The second installment highlighted Nadia Sirota, a 30 year-old violia player with a flair of hip hop, and Gustavo Dudamel, the 32-year-old “Dude” of the LA Phil, brandishing his conductor’s baton. Together they symbolize the fire, spirit, and ingenuity of the Millennial generation.  Although they come from very different backgrounds, they align on the international stage as performing artists trying to make a positive difference in the world through the amazing power of music.

As for PART 3 of this series, we explore the backgrounds and accomplishments of an extraordinarily hip pianist and a tremendous violinist with a rather quirky sense of humor. Let’s begin our third round with pop icon and internationally acclaimed concert pianist, Lang Lang.lang-lang-2
Lang Lang exemplifies the hope, wonder, and excitement of achieving the American Dream. Since a young age, Lang Lang has impacted others through his piano performance. Now, at the age of 31, Lang Lang has become a globally recognized classical music ambassador and icon for the next generation of concertgoers and performers with his own new-age flair.

A Piano Prodigy
Lang Lang’s journey began in Shenyang, China, his hometown.[1] He began studying the piano at the age of three, played his first public performance at the age of five, and has since progressed with only extraordinary outcomes.[2] From conservatories to competitions and piano performances, Lang Lang has made a name for himself in the new world of classical music.Lang_Time

He joined the Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at the age of nine, and by the time he was 13, Lang Lang had become an international sensation.[3] After winning the renowned Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians’ Competition,[4] he set off for America to study at one of the world’s greatest classical music conservatories – the Curtis Institute of Music.[5] Like something out of a movie, Lang Lang performed a Tchaikovksy concerto in place of world-famous pianist, André Watts, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[6] Thus, at the ripe old age of 17, Lang Lang the classical music superstar was born.

The Hottest Artist in Classical Music
The New York Times has proclaimed Lang Lang to be one of the “hottest stars in classical music.”[7] Not only is Lang Lang young and extremely talented, he also has a fashion-forward sense of style and seemingly endless amount of energy that, in my opinion, has helped to rejuvenate classical music performance and Millennial interest in this important art-form.Lang_adidas

Classical music meets pop-culture with Lang Lang at the keyboard. In 2009, he released his limited edition black and gold, piano theme Adidas Gazelles. From major sporting events and open-air concerts, to Hollywood films, dub-step and social media inspired collaborations, and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Lang Lang is engaging listeners and performers in new ways. He actively expands the musical horizons of those young and old and has proven himself to be a new-age master of classical music performance and an inspiration to the next generation of musical artists. (Stay tuned for Hilary Hanh, soon to follow in Part 3!)lang-lang-spotlight

Age: 31

Nationality: Chinese
Instrument: Piano

Claim to Fame: Piano prodigy and internationally recognized classical musician; Lang Lang International Music Foundation

Facebook: 113,789 likes – Lang Lang Piano
Twitter: 44,193 Followers – @lang_lang

[2] ibid.
[3] ibid.
[4] ibid.

Full Series: Restoring Classical Music in the New Millenium – Millennial Magazine


Millennial Classical Musicians: A Who’s Who of Rising Classical Stars (Part 1)

By Catherine StarekClassical Music Contributor, Gen Y Hub’s Millennial Magazine

Classical music…it’s stuffy, boring, and something that only old people enjoy, right? I beg to differ (and I’ll prove it to you)! While the term “classical” may be misleading, classical music is actually a very exciting, inspiring, and powerful musical genre. Millennial musicians are not only embracing the past, they are also shaping the future of classical music performance and putting a fresh twist on what it means to be a classical musician. As a fellow Millennial and modern classical musician, I am happy to shine a growing spotlight on a hand-selected list of young classical superstars. Stay tuned throughout the Millennial Classical Musicians mini-series to get the scoop on all eight of these fantastic modern musicians.

• Jourdan Urbach –
21, violin
• Nicola Benedetti – 25, violin
• Alisa Weilerstein – 30, cello
• Nadia Sirota – 30, viola
• Gustavo Dudamel – 31 32, baton
• Lang Lang – 31, piano
• Hilary Hanh – 31, violin
• Cameron Carpenter – 32, organ

Classical Context
When talking about classical music, however – an era of music that emerged around 1750 – it’s difficult to keep history out of the conversation. Don’t worry though, I promise to keep it brief! The classical music era extends from the mid-18th to the early-19th centuries (c. 1750 – c. 1830).[1] This era is often associated with the works of Beethoven and Mozart, two of the most well known and respected classical musicians and composers in the world.

Modern Classical Musicians
Fast-forward to the 21st century and classical music is still widely heard, appreciated, and performed. Millennial musicians are mastering the classical style, while infusing their personalities, passions, and interests into their performances. The first of eight musicians in the Millennial Classical Musicians line up is 21-year-old, American concert violinist Jourdan Urbach.

JOURDAN URBACH – Musician, Composer, and Philanthropist
JourdanUrbach2Jourdan Urbach was born in December of 1991. Just seven years later, Jourdan hit the stage, making his professional debut on the violin. For comparison, Mozart premiered around the age of five. Music critics delight in Jourdan’s “buttery smooth” sound and the brilliance and technical acuity of his playing. Recognized as a child prodigy, this young superstar has already become a Grammy-winning concert violinist. He has even had the rare opportunity to perform – twice – as a featured artist at Carnegie Hall, an internationally renowned concert hall in Manhattan.

The pressure to succeed is understandably intense in these high-profile performances. His strong love of music, however, and positive attitude helps to carry him through. He reflects on the performing experience and his mindset as a modern classical musician in a 2011 interview with Charles Osgood, “I get a huge rush out of performing,” he shares, “and I can tolerate the practice because I know it leads up to that.”

Jourdan Urbach performing Aerion:

The Cherry On Top
Jourdan Urbach is not only a tremendously talented musician, he’s also passionately philanthropic and participates in what he calls “Responsible Music.” According to Jourdan, “music is designed to be heard, but it is also to be used to further the greater good.” In this spirit, he founded Concerts for a Cure (originally Children Helping Children) when he was just seven years old. Over the past 14 years, his charity has raised more than $5 million through classical music, benefiting children in New York hospitals and the international medical community. Jourdan’s musical and philanthropic passions play an important role in his service as an international representative of the United Nations’ Arts for Peace program that he promotes on his website,  “As a Goodwill Ambassador and Artist-in-Residence for UN (Arts for Peace), Jourdan serves as a cultural link between the UN community and the artistic community in NY and abroad.”

Jourdan actively impacts the world through his music and dedication to society. As a modern classical music performer and composer, he is vibrant, successful, and clearly high in demand. I look forward to watching his music career and charitable efforts grow and evolve, affecting the hearts and minds of people around the world.


Age: 21
Nationality: American
Instrument: Violin
Claim to Fame: Grammy-winning concert violinist; Contemporary composer; Founder of Children Helping Children
Facebook: JourdanUrbachMusic

Twitter: @JourdanUrbach

As we move on to the second remarkable Millennial classical musician on the list, you’ll see how she impacts society through her music and advocacy efforts as well, and has risen to classical stardom with modern flair.

NICOLA BENEDETTI – The Silver Violinist
Introducing the ravishing, young classical violinist, Nicola Benedetti. This beautiful, Scotland native has already captured the hearts (and ears) of audiences throughout Great Britain and across the world. She will turn 26 in July.

NicolaBenedettiNicola’s musical journey began when she started violin lessons at the age of five. Approximately ten years later, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS) in Surrey and studied with the acclaimed violin professor Natalia Boyarsky. After leaving YMS, she continued to develop her musical talent as a student of the Polish and Russian violinists, Maciej Rakowski and Pavel Vernikov, respectively. Her talents have been featured with professional symphonies and among prominent music festivals and events all over the world. And when she’s not touring, she enjoys playing regularly in her chamber trio with cellist (and also boyfriend of 10 years) Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk.

Big Sister
Nicola is also fiercely dedicated to music education and participates as a “Big Sister” and Board Member for Sistema Scotland. In recognition for her service to music and charity, she was appointed by the Queen of England to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours.

Life Achievements
Since the launch of her career as a modern classical musician, Nicola has managed to accumulate a spectacular list of accomplishments:

  • BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, performing the unconventional Szymanowski Violin Concerto
  • Recipient of the Classical BRIT Award for Young British Classic Performer in 2008
  • Debuted at the 2010 BBC Proms
  • Signed exclusively with Decca Classics in 2011
  • Best Female Artist at the Classic Brits in 2012
  • Listed as Classical “Best Female Artist” in iTunes Best of 2012
  • Released a tremendously successful CD, The Silver Violin

The Silver Violin on SoundCloud:

Bringing Sexy Back to Classical Music
Nicola produces the warmest and most heartfelt violin tones. She plays the Gariel Stradivarius (c. 1717), which is considered to be one of the highest quality and most valuable violins in the world – it’s considered the Gucci of instruments. Her modern-day patron, bank executive Jonathan Moulds, purchased the Strad for her to play for a mere £10 million, or the equivalent of nearly $15.5 million today.

Although she is known for her performance of classical music, she is also unafraid to dive into a wide variety of repertoire. Her latest album The Silver Violin is Hollywood gold, bringing the iconic sounds of the silver screen to her Silver Violin. The enormous success of her CD led to The Silver Violin Tour, which took place this past March in nine venues across Scotland.


Age: 25
Nationality: Scottish/Italian
Instrument: Violin
Claim to Fame: Best Female Classical Artist; plays the Gariel Stradivarius; Sistema Scotland – Big Sister and Board Member
Facebook: Nicola Benedetti Violin

Twitter: @NickyBenedetti

Millennial musicians, such as violinists Nicola Benedetti and Jourdan Urbach, are taking the world’s stage by storm; challenging convention; and providing amazing classical music performances for growing audiences, excited listeners, and a variety of populations across the globe. Through music, modern classical musicians are conveying a message of passion and beauty, education and healing, and perhaps most of all, a message of encouragement and hope.

The next article in the Millennial Classical Musicians mini-series will feature a pioneering violist, and one of the greatest advocates for El Sistema, a revolutionary music education program originating in Venezuela; His weapon of choice – the baton.

Originally Published June 28, 2013 –



Giving USA 2013: Establishing Context for Annual Giving in the U.S.

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy is the seminal publication reporting on the sources and uses of charitable giving in the United States.  For the past 57 years, these reports have provided fundraisers, nonprofit leaders, donors, and others within the charitable sector, with “the most comprehensive charitable giving data available.”  Here are the highlights from Giving USA’s 2013 report, establishing the context for annual giving in the United States for 2012-2013.


Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Celebrate Giving Tuesday
From The Community Foundation Blog – November 21, 2012

This holiday, there’s a new way to give thanks. Join (The Community Foundation) the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in celebrating the first-ever #GivingTuesdaya national movement to encourage giving and remind us all of the importance of philanthropy in our lives and our communities.

Never has there been such an overwhelming need for our community of givers – individuals, families, and organizations – to come together to increase economic security for all residents of the Washington region. With budget battles looming, our philanthropic efforts take on a new urgency.

This #GivingTuesday, please consider making a donation to our Community Leadership Fund, which allows us to identify and tackle the region’s most pressing issues – from education to workforce development to preserving the safety net for those who need it most.

CLICK HERE to support Giving Tuesday.

Video: Sharon Feder, COO of Mashable, asks you to show how you’re giving back this #GivingTuesday – Help “Get Out the Give!” on Tuesday, November 27th.

Millennial Donors: The NextGen Impact on Charitable Giving in the Arts

  1. achieve_consult
    RT Join @CStarek in Millennial Donors Twitter Chat (feat.ImpactRep) TODAY @5:40p EDT #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 12:57:52
  2. cycloptiko
    I’ll be playing along in a #tweetchat on millennial donors at 2:40 PST. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:06:31
  3. CStarek
    #MillennialDonorsAU Twitter chat @ 5:40 PM EDT #nonprofit #fundraising (@ AU – Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen Arts Center)
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:18:34
  4. CStarek
    #MillennialDonorsAU is going to start soon! Go to & sign into TweetChat using hashtag #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:39:24
  5. CStarek
    Here we go! #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:43:53
  6. AllyYusuf_
    I’ll be checking out #MillennialDonorsAU while I’m at the airport – great chat led by @CStarek #philanthropy #fundraising
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:44:10
  7. CStarek
    Note the format: Q1 for questions and A1 to answer #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:44:18
  8. aprildsteele
    Just arriving #millenialdonorsau #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:45:01
  9. CStarek
    @EALSAU Raynel is off and running! Q1 coming up #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:45:12
  10. CStarek
    Q1 How do you define millennials? #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:45:47
  11. CStarek
    #MillennialDonorsAU is just starting! Go to
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:46:50
  12. violet_dc
    A1 18-29 years old #MillennialDonorsAU #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:48:28
  13. CStarek
    A1: Using @PewResearch def – millennials are born bgn in early 1980’s, or 18-29 yrs old #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:48:47
  14. Arts_Courtney
    A1: I define it as a mindset. I’ve seen literal Millennials act like Baby Boomers, particularly in the nonprofit field. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:49:47
  15. AllyYusuf_
    @CStarek my definition of millennials: ambitious, innovative, want to make the world a better place. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:49:47
  16. CStarek
    Q2: How are millennials making an impact in your org? #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:49:27
  17. SarahWedgewood
    A2: Donating their time
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:50:06
  18. AllyYusuf_
    @CStarek A2: at the symphony I used to volunteer at, millennials volunteered as YP ambassadors for the org #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:51:10
  19. cycloptiko
    A2 75% of millennials made some sort of donation of $ in 2011 via @HuffPostImpact #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:57:10
  20. EALSAU
    Q2 Why are Millennials Important?
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:50:27
  21. aprildsteele
    A2 few obligations #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:51:34
  22. ArtsmanSteven
    A2 They are the ones who will be inheriting the wealth in a few years #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:51:40
  23. EALSAU
    A2: population size 50 million millennials today will have impact in the future #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:51:57
  24. Arts_Courtney
    A2: Refusing (rightfully) to wait their turn. Being present and a force to reckon with. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:52:54
  25. violet_dc
    Payoff might not be immediate – but get them in the door #MillennialDonorsAU #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:53:17
  26. EALSAU
    Q3: How can arts organizations include millennials? Why? #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:53:28
  27. ArtsmanSteven
    Millenials are aninvestment, not immediate payoff, but contribution will grow
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:54:02
  28. EALSAU
    millennials are thinking about planned giving #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:54:31
  29. EALSAU
    RT @violet_dc: Payoff might not be immediate – but get them in the door #MillennialDonorsAU #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:54:43
  30. cycloptiko
    A3 – Reach out and include them in the work artistically and organizationally #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:54:44
  31. EALSAU
    engage millennials on social outlets! #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:55:18
  32. Arts_Courtney
    .@ArtsmanSteven so true. And in every area: Millennials will be audience, donor, patron, and producer. (1/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:55:23
  33. Arts_Courtney
    .@ArtsmanSteven You can’t nurture them in one aspect, and then ignore them in another. They notice. (2/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:56:10
  34. EALSAU
    organizations should use technology wisely in order to reach millennials #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:56:20
  35. AllyYusuf_
    Interesting RT @EALSAU: millennials are thinking about planned giving #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:56:23
  36. violet_dc
    A3 enable them to connect with each other – provide the platforms for engagement #MillennialDonorsAU #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:56:25
  37. Arts_Courtney
    A3: Less rigid rules for being involved. Millennials want to work in a variety of roles and in transparent processes. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:57:44
  38. cycloptiko
    A3 Provide opportunities for growth within org – so millenials don’t have to jump ship to advance #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:59:22
  39. EALSAU
    Q3 What do you think we can look forward to in the future of millennial giving? #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:58:44
  40. egoetschius
    RT @cycloptiko: A2 75% of millennials made some sort of donation of $ in 2011 via @HuffPostImpact #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:59:15
  41. EALSAU
    Sorry that was Q4 #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:59:17
  42. AllyYusuf_
    @violet_dc agreed. Empower millennials to use social media and other similar platforms to become the org’s ambassador #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 14:59:37
  43. CStarek
    @AllyYusuf_ Agreed! I’m a BSOAmbassador ; ) #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:00:40
  44. CStarek
    A4: #LifePiecestoMasterpieces just started a young professionals group (advisory) #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:01:36
  45. Arts_Courtney
    A4: Dynamic giving models. More cooperative-style investments. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:02:24
  46. ArtsmanSteven
    Engaging Millenials = longterm cultivation strategy….relationship building #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:02:46
  47. Arts_Courtney
    RT @ArtsmanSteven: Engaging Millenials = longterm cultivation strategy….relationship building #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:03:51
  48. CStarek
    Love! RT @Arts_Courtney: A4: Dynamic giving models. More cooperative-style investments. #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:04:07
  49. CStarek
    A4: collaboration is so important! #authentic #personalized #relationships #ownership #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:05:05
  50. cycloptiko
    A4 – Millenials are already accustomed to donating – as our income grows so will our giving #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:06:01
  51. Arts_Courtney
    I know so many people investing in each other’s work, my friends say we’re passing around the same $20. (1/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:06:17
  52. Arts_Courtney
    I think that can inform future collaborative and collective approaches to giving for Millennials. (2/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:07:09
  53. CStarek
    Millennials are charitably inclined; even if donations are < $100 at first, intend to increase #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:08:05
  54. CStarek
    Patience is a virtue! Approach with long-term (relationship focused) mindset #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:08:41
  55. CStarek
    Are your orgs reaching out to millennial donors? How? #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:10:28
  56. Arts_Courtney
    Personally, I also think Millennials are EASIER TO ASK: they’ll tell you what they can and can’t give more honestly. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:10:34
  57. AllyYusuf_
    @CStarek the problem is that fundraisers want the dollars now – Are they are incorporating millennial donor strategies? #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:11:31
  58. CStarek
    @Arts_Courtney Interesting point! #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:11:40
  59. CStarek
    @AllyYusuf_ Right, what is the tolerance for “risk?” Orgs don’t have to give up on other donors to focus on millennials #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:12:42
  60. AllyYusuf_
    @CStarek exactly – you took the words out of my mouth 🙂 #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:13:53
  61. CStarek
    @AllyYusuf_ 🙂 Again, patience is virtue! Millennials must be approached with mindset of #nonprofit lng-tm #investment #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:16:27
  62. Arts_Courtney
    I would also say Millennials have a higher risk tolerance, though they are allowed to take fewer of them. (1/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:17:03
  63. Arts_Courtney
    Donors with higher risk tolerance will support and encourage orgs. through a pivot or gamble. (2/2) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:18:25
  64. cycloptiko
    We’re underrepresented. How many devo depts have a millennial anywhere NEAR the front lines? #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:18:30
  65. Arts_Courtney
    Not enough. RT @cycloptiko: Were underrepresented. How many devo depts have a millennial anywhere NEAR the front lines? #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:20:07
  66. cycloptiko
    (My devo director saw that last tweet.) #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:20:54
  67. ArtsmanSteven
    @cycloptiko good 🙂 #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:22:19
  68. cycloptiko
    @CStarek Re: Engagement – young audience base, young staff (all 25 to 50), internships, and fresh programming #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:24:10
  69. CStarek
    @cycloptiko Love #engagement ideas! #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:24:58
  70. cycloptiko
    @CStarek Also, online asks with ticket sales are even getting small donor $ out of students #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:25:59
  71. Arts_Courtney
    Having a contact person for Millennials is a good idea. Someone with real power who is prepared to make asks. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:25:15
  72. CStarek
    Final question: Q5: any recommendations to arts managers for implementing millennial donor programs/initiatives? #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:25:24
  73. CStarek
    @Arts_Courtney PEER relationships – critical involvement #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:26:07
  74. cycloptiko
    Q5 Get a fresh face at the table, listen, and filter through experience #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:27:30
  75. Arts_Courtney
    Also, don’t make long-term the only goal. Millennials know when an org. is waiting for them to age and make $$$. #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:27:42
  76. cycloptiko
    A5 Some affordable fundraising events to introduce to inside of org #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:30:15
  77. CStarek
    A5: Quantify “soft skills” – relationships built, # of follows, etc. – demonstrate impact & how translated to $ #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:32:45
  78. CStarek
    Our conversation is coming to a close. Thanks for chatting! @AllyYusuf_ @Arts_Courtney @@cycloptiko @violet_dc #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:37:46
  79. CStarek
    Thanks for everyone’s participation! I’ll post a transcript asap. So happy to host with @EALSAU #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:34:43
  80. Arts_Courtney
    Great chat! RT @CStarek: Thanks for everyones participation! Ill post a transcript asap. So happy to host with @EALSAU #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:35:41
  81. CStarek
    RT @CStarek: Our conversation is coming to a close. Thanks for chatting! @ArtsmanSteven @egoetschius #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:39:02
  82. CStarek
    @Arts_Courtney Thank you! I hope everyone will think about how to incorporate millennials into #nonprofit #fundraising #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:41:07
  83. AllyYusuf_
    @CStarek thank YOU for the great topic and insights 🙂 #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:45:43
  84. CStarek
    @AllyYusuf_ Happy to do it! Glad to have you here. 😀 #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:52:53
  85. CStarek
    @cycloptiko Great insights! Thanks for participating in #MillennialDonorsAU
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:54:37
  86. actorLuke
    “@cycloptiko: A2 75% of millennials made some sort of donation of $ in 2011 via @HuffPostImpact #MillennialDonorsAU”
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 16:09:08
  87. EALSAU
    RT @CStarek: Thanks for everyone’s participation! I’ll post a transcript asap. So happy to host with @EALSAU #millennialdonorsau
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 17:20:55

The Millennials’ Orchestra: Engaging Younger Symphony Audiences and Donors in the Classical Music Experience

The Millennials’ Orchestra: Engaging Younger Symphony Audiences and Donors in the Classical Music Experience

Millennial generation – “Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings (ages 18-29) who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.”[1]

YouTube Symphony Orchestra
Sydney, Australia 2011

It is no secret that symphony orchestras are facing hard and changing times.  In addition to the challenges posed by the struggling economy, symphony audiences are continuing to increase in age as overall attendance continues to decline (Alan Brown’s Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study and Thomas Wolf’s “The Search for Shining Eyes”).  This decline has been most dramatic among young adults over the past thirty years.  Without adequate numbers of younger people to eventually replace current audiences, the future of symphony orchestras in the US has been called into question.  Despite the doom and gloom of bankruptcy announcements and foreclosures in the world of symphony orchestras, some organizations are managing to adapt and survive through innovative programming and by offering greater opportunities for audience engagement.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra have gained attention for their ability to engage 21st century audiences in the concert experience through 21st century means – the BSO’s Off the Cuff and Webumentaries series; Brooklyn Phil’s Beethoven Remix (click here for finalists) and collaboration with Mos Def; San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score and conductor MTT’s TEDTalks; Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score; and Detroit Symphony’s webcasts.  I believe that engaging the Millennial generation as members of the audience and as donors will increase the potential for these symphony orchestras, as well as other arts organizations, to maintain and sustain future success.  Not only would this help fill an ever-growing void in audience attendance, it would also lend to renewed interest and excitement in orchestral work and foster future generations of support for music and the arts.

As a member of the Millennial generation, I am excited to meet and talk with other Millennials who are passionate about symphony orchestras, classical music, and the arts.  As arts managers we must know how to attract and engage these individuals in ways that resonate with their rapidly evolving interests and needs (Pew Research Center – Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next) , while retaining the current audiences and donors already supporting our organizations.  In general, Millennials are eager to get involved, take on leadership roles, and contribute time and money to philanthropic efforts in nonprofit organizations (see Millennial Impact Report).  Symphony orchestras are beginning to take notice and placing greater emphasis on engaging these younger audiences and donors in exciting and relevant ways.

It is an honor to be the guest host of #ArtsMgtChat in the upcoming discussion The Millennials’ Orchestra: Engaging Younger Symphony Audiences and Donors in the Classical Music Experience.  I look forward to hearing your ideas on engaging Millennials in the performing arts!

Discussion questions:

  1. As an arts consumer and arts manager, what are some of the major barriers to symphony orchestras and classical music?
  2. What are professional symphony orchestras doing well to engage the Millennial generation?
  3. What role(s) do Millennials play in and for your organization?
  4. How much priority should Millennials be given in the nonprofit arts?
  5. What marketing strategies does your organization have in place for targeting and attracting younger audiences?
  6. Does your organization have development programs and/or opportunities for younger donors?
  7. How important is mobile and social media technology for engaging audiences and donors?
  8. How have you been involved with music in your life?

[1] PewResearchCenter, 2010, Millennials: Confident-Connected-Open to Change, In Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next, edited by Paul Taylor and Scott Keeter: Pew Research Center.