Music & Culture

Analyzing Cultural Dynamics: On Safeguarding Classical Music Orchestras


In what way do an age structure with a disproportionate number of elderly classical-music listeners and a potential future decrease in size of the classical-music audience threaten the existence of orchestras?


What are the leverage points for safeguarding the classical-music orchestras in the long run?

Problem-Solving Approach

Exploring the current situation with respect to …

  • the development of the number of orchestras and the number of their established posts
  • the importance of attendances and utilization for the existence of classical-music orchestras
  • the age structure and development in size of the classical-music/opera listeners and people attending such live performances
  • potential implications

Presenting the underlying causes for the age structure of the classical-music audience:

  • Reviewing and integrating the relevant literature
  • Developing a qualitative model

Developing a simulation model:

  • Extending the qualitative model by mathematical formalization
  • Validating the model sectors and the model as a whole

Running simulations:

  • Extrapolating the status quo
  • Simulating various policies

Communicating and implementing results:

  • Defining evaluation criteria for the policy design
  • Deriving recommendations regarding policies/actions

Significant decrease of the classical-music audience over the next 30 years projected


Three main directions of impact identified:

  • Encouraging children’s and adolescents’ instrumental activity
  • Inciting children and adolescents to listen to classical music and opera
  • Fostering musical education

Need for action clearly communicated (e.g. via associations and councils, by contributing articles to journals/magazines and radio broadcasts)