Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
I found this video through a fellow arts management student. Through its Sonic Evolution project the Seattle Symphony commissions composers to write symphonic music that draws inspiration from bands and artists somehow connected to Seattle.
Composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of the famous 20th century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev!) was inspired by the work of Seattle native Sir Mix-A-Lot, writing two pieces based on the rapper’s famous tunes, including “Baby Got Back. In the video Sir Mix-A-Lot joins the Seattle Symphony to perform Prokofiev’s orchestration of his Grammy-winning rap.
I find the Seattle Symphony’s Sonic Evolution project to be an interesting way to engage audiences. By performing popular music in a symphonic setting, the Seattle Symphony can without a doubt draw new audience members to the concert hall. Further, the casual feeling of the performance makes the orchestra seem incredibly hip. What other major symphony orchestra would have nearly hundreds of ladies dancing promiscuously in front of them? Not many!
However, I am curious whether this kind of audience engagement promotes a higher number of regular concert subscribers. When Sir Mix-A-Lot leaves, do audiences stick around for more traditional programming? Big butts are fine, but are Beethoven and Brahms are better! I wonder if audiences think this way as well.