Titel: Between the ‘Experimental’ and the ‘Accessible’: Investigating the Audience Experience of Contemporary Classical Music
Sprache: Englisch
Autor*in: Emerson, Gina
Erscheinungsdatum: 2020
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 2020-06-15
Contemporary classical music (CCM) has long had a difficult relationship to audiences. A range of interconnected causes for this situation have been cited, from the radical musical languages adopted by composers in the 20th century, in particular post 1945, to cuts to arts funding and music education. While the ‘audience problem’ in CCM has been much discussed, there have been very few studies of audiences and their experiences with this music. This thesis presents findings from the first large- scale empirical study on the audience experience of CCM. I conducted surveys with quantitative and qualitative elements at twelve CCM concerts (N = 1428) across ten different European countries, in collaboration with the Ulysses Network. The central aim was to offer a multidimensional, interdisciplinary view of audiences’ experiences and to deliver insights relevant to music sociology (contributing to a ‘sociology of CCM’) and audience research, but also to practitioners and institutions working with CCM. The study responds to seven research questions (RQs), exploring demographics and motivations to attend CCM concerts (RQ1), tastes around and perceptions of the genre (RQ2), ratings of audience experiences in the concert hall and their relationship to audiences’ perceptions of CCM (RQ3), the aesthetic experience of works of CCM (RQ4), views on alternative concert formats (RQ5), institution-audience relationships (RQ6) and classical audiences’ views of this genre via a smaller survey of three classical music audiences (N = 670, RQ7).

The results reveal that receiving newly composed music in a live setting is a complex task. The ‘social’ and the ‘aesthetic’ (Born, 2010a) combine in this act and produce many factors that are in consideration while audiences are silently listening. Among other things, this study shows that the context or frame ‘around’ the music is found to be very important in the audience experience of CCM: works with significant extramusical features were received more positively or brought about an intensification of the audience experience. Musical expertise is identified as a key factor in bringing audiences to CCM and influencing their experiences with and perceptions of the genre. On the basis of the audience data, I define CCM as a ‘high art subculture’ inextricably linked to classical music, its audience negotiating the genre’s tensions around ‘experimentalism’ on the one hand and ‘accessibility’ on the other. I offer recommendations to institutions based on the findings and perspectives on the future of CCM and its relationship to audiences.
URL: https://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/handle/ediss/8963
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-ediss-92025
Dokumenttyp: Dissertation
Betreuer*in: Flender, Reinhard
Pitts, Stephanie
Wöllner, Clemens
Enthalten in den Sammlungen:Elektronische Dissertationen und Habilitationen

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