Attention all ye hangdog defeatists who insist that classical music has died: Severance Hall season-ticket sales revenue from 2012-2013 is on track to set an all-time record, driven by the best-ever ticket sales in November and December.
These records aren't being daintily eclipsed here, either. The Orchestra is shattering previous figures. According to a press release, the value of tickets sold for the Orchestra's performances in the final two months of 2012 totaled $2.8 million, an increase of 62 percent over the same months in 2011. Holiday Festival ticket sales skyrocketed to a record of $1,177,271, 16 percent above the previous record of $1,013,000 in 2007.
Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson attributed the success to strategic innovations. The Orchestra has made a concerted effort to attract a younger audience, and the attendance numbers are striking. A social media campaign, discounts for students, and volunteer ambassadors at local universities are all playing a role.
The press release said that more than 200 students, on average, are attending every evening subscription concert — at some concerts, students have represented 20 percent of the audience.
“Our commitment to student attendance and a younger audience is part of a Cleveland Orchestra renaissance, as we commit to being evermore relevant to our hometown and evermore devoted to community service,” Hanson said.