Hi Zach, thanks for reading!
Angela Liu

Yes, I had pushback from purists. As with progress in any field, there will be people, often those with great power, who are outraged. Here’s my argument for innovation in concert formats: performances only serve their purpose if the music is presented in a way that the audience can access. As people change, musical experiences should also change. There are two ingredients for a transformative musical experience: (1) a great musical product, both quality of repertoire and level of performance, and (2) an engaging presentation designed for the specific audience at hand. My message to purists is, “We still want to play your favorite music at the highest level, but with a change of scenery.” I really believe we can innovate by changing the format rather than the era. Many “classical” groups are playing pop song arrangements while miked through huge speakers in acoustically dead spaces, but I don’t really believe in that at all. I’m actually a sort of purist because I believe acoustic instrumental music performances with repertoire spanning hundreds of years, IF presented in an audience-centric format, can be life-changing for just about anybody. As you read in my post, I tried to put people at the center of the concert experience (particularly Millennials with little to no experience with classical music), and the response was overwhelmingly positive from people of diverse age, gender, socioeconomic status, and experience with classical music. The majority of our audience was clearly interested in this new concept of interactivity, perhaps because the rise of technology has made the rest of our world so interactive. So to answer your question, I listened respectfully and proceeded to point to the data we had collected anecdotally and empirically. Since a concert like mine hadn’t really been done at New World, I faced a lot of doubt, but it took my belief in the mission to show others that it truly does have great value.

Like what you read? Give Zach Manzi a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.