In response to Erin Heintzinger’s thoughtful letter (“Marketing Remake,” Oct. 21): The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s marketers have a delicate balancing act between presenting the beloved classical music of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and their ilk and the works of contemporary composers. As an octogenarian couple who were raised on and love the classics, we also love to hear the music composed today.
Yes, the PSO needs to attract younger audiences, but it must retain its older patrons, who tend to subscribe rather than buy individual tickets and who are more significant donors. One of best attended concerts we can remember in recent years was an all-Mozart concert that was “standing room only.” Still, we need to hear the music of the likes of Jennifer Higdon, Alexander Zhurbin (whose 1st Symphony was aired on West Virginia Public Radio recently) and the rising 24-year-old genius Jay Greenberg, whose violin concerto was commissioned and performed in New York by Joshua Bell.
We have noticed that when contemporary works are performed, the audience always includes a larger percentage of younger people.
As to the economic impact of the PSO, the regular season is about nine months long and includes no less than 50 performances. There are other symphony concerts as well. Restaurants and other businesses can count on a more regular income from the symphony patrons (and the other cultural activities Downtown). By contrast, the Steelers play a mere 10 home games in a stadium that was largely paid for with public funds.
No musician in the PSO is getting rich from playing in it. The entire symphony is not paid as much as some individual star football players, and the management of the PSO is certainly not paid like the management and owners of any professional football team.
We hope the musicians’ strike can be resolved amicably and quickly and that our great symphony will soon be delighting us again.
LYNNE and CHARLES HENRY