Cultural Consumption and Audiences of the Minnesota Orchestra
Brooks, Melinda Renee
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In looking at two different audience segments of the Minnesota Orchestra, I would like to explore motivations which cause a person to start or stop their attendance of classical music events. Concerning the issue of motivations, it is necessary to look at how trends of cultural consumption affect one's attendance decisions regarding 'high cultural art forms.' Addressing the issue of cultural consumption, my research will be focused upon two distinct motivations to see how they affect attendance patterns. I will be looking at whether or not there is clear distinction between aesthetic competence and taste, on one hand, and status motivations, on the other. Although the two motivations may be quite distinct, they may end up being consistent with a correlation between class and "high" cultural consumption. Fundamentally, I would like to explore whether or not one chooses to attend a high cultural form on the basis of aesthetic competence and/or for status reasons. In doing so, I will be looking at two different segments of audiences of the Minnesota Orchestra, the eighth major symphony orchestra to be created in the United States. I would like to investigate why those who have subscriptions to the regular season of the Minnesota Orchestra do not choose to attend a particular classical series offered in the summer, called Viennese Sommerfest, which is characterized as a 'lighter classical form.' I am interested in seeing if aesthetic competence or status issues affect these individuals decisions to not attend a 'lighter' classical form. On the other hand, I would also like to see why those who do not subscribe to the Orchestra and have attended the summer series in the past, no longer wish to attend the Sommerfest concert series. The Viennese Sommerfest concert series is described as a four-week summer festival that integrates "free outdoor musical activities with orchestral and chamber music concerts, recitals and lectures inside Orchestra Hall. The performances during Sommerfest tend to be lighter, more popular classical music and are less formal than the regular concert season.