Classical music presenters are always looking for new ways to boost attendance at their concerts. Well, the search is over – turns out all you need is skydivers and a soccer team.

On Monday night, I played the American and Spanish national anthems with some colleagues from the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in front of over 23,000 people, the largest audience for a string quartet performance in history.*

We were preceded by skydivers, who delivered the game ball and an enormous American flag, and our performance (which received the loudest ovation of all time**) was followed by a match between FC Cincinnati and Valencia.


*In keeping with our country’s transition to a fact-free society, I am going to say that this is true until someone proves that it isn’t. So there.

** see above


In all seriousness, there’s a lesson here – anyone who puts on concerts could learn a lot from our counterparts in the sports world. Fans were piling into the stadium over an hour before the game, and they could see the players warming up, get autographs and pictures with them, and, of course, buy lots of stuff. There were also lots of announcements about the club’s work with local organizations, and for at least a half-hour before the game, something was always happening on the field that fans were encouraged to watch and participate in.

In short, there was lots of interaction between the entertainers and the audience, as well as activities to build excitement for the event to come. The “pre-game show” is pretty limited before most classical music concerts. Now some of this stuff wouldn’t work, but just having more going on before concerts, especially involving the players, is certainly worth exploring. Post your suggestions in the comments, and PLEASE, e-mail me if you know skydivers willing to work at non-profit rates.


Till next time,






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