"In 2013-14, we saw a 54 per cent increase in new attenders to see our chamber orchestra, Manchester Camerata, compared to the previous season. We have a restless ambition to redefine what an orchestra can do. We’re constantly challenging how we engage with audiences – so if that means we perform in a grand concert hall one day, and a car park the next, so be it.
Like any big city, there’s a real wealth of performance spaces in Manchester – clubs and bars, chapels and cathedrals, impressive concert halls and everything in between. We’ve found that by performing in venues like Gorilla Bar or the Royal Exchange Theatre, we’re cultivating a new audience for our work – taking the music to them, rather than expecting them to come to us.
In April, we were the first professional orchestra to perform at Manchester’s Albert Hall – a forgotten Wesleyan chapel resurrected by the man behind the Trof venue empire, Joel Wilkinson. And, of course, venues like this attract a huge clubbing audience, who are enjoying music and listening to amazing artists from different genres, so it’s a natural place for us to be. That’s an audience we want to test out and engage. We’ve had to adapt how we work and learn from how Trof produce their events to create the right type of programme and environment to cultivate those audiences. In the end, our concert in April attracted 25 per cent new attenders.
November sees us perform at Gorilla Bar for an electic programme ranging from Bach to Lady Gaga. We’ll be joined by the amazingly talented Martynas Levickis, the man who is single-handedly reinventing the accordion.
I’m always hungry to find the next venue or the next opportunity to engage with audiences, old and new. You can’t stand still in this industry and there’s too much opportunity out there not to chase it."
Read the full article in The Independent here