Birmingham music group initiative

Audience Exchange gives audiences the chance to meet and discuss the concert afterwards.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group will launch the new initiative Audience Exchange next month.

After their November 15th concert The Comedy of Change, visitors are invited to pull up a chair and discuss the repertoire over a drink with fellow audience members.

Stephen Newbould, BCMG’s Artistic Director, explains: “We have been working closely with the University of Sheffield, looking into how we can improve and enhance the experience of concert going.

“Our audiences told us that what they really value is the chance to talk about the music after a performance with their peers. It’s such a simple idea but very few orchestras or ensembles seem to do it. We wanted to put that right, and so Audience Exchange was born.

“It will give our loyal audiences a chance to meet each other and discuss the concert in an informal and enjoyable way. It’s an exciting new development for the Group.”

The initiative follows research into the needs of audiences for contemporary arts, led by Dr Jonathan Gross at the University of Sheffield. Evidence suggested that the chance to engage with the creative process in an informal manner is highly regarded by Birmingham’s arts attenders.

The Audience Exchange launches at The Comedy of Change on 15th November. This concert includes the world premiere of Melinda Maxwell’s new work FRACTURES: Monk Unpacked, inspired by the work of master jazz musician Thelonius Monk. Title work The Comedy of Change is a ballet score by Julian Anderson, used by the Rambert Dance Company, and takes inspiration from notions of change in nature.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, founded in 1987 by musicians from the CBSO with the encouragement of Sir Simon Rattle, is recognised as one of Europe’s leading contemporary ensembles.

The Group has received a host of national and international awards, has an extensive catalogue of CD recordings and broadcasts regularly on BBC radio. Recent highlights have included David Lang’s epic Crowd Out for 1000 shouting, whispering, chanting voices and two acclaimed concerts at the US Library of Congress, Washington.

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