Audience Experience and Contemporary Classical Music : Negotiating the Experimental and the Accessible in a High Art Subculture book cover
1st Edition

Audience Experience and Contemporary Classical Music
Negotiating the Experimental and the Accessible in a High Art Subculture

  • Available for pre-order on February 10, 2023. Item will ship after March 3, 2023
ISBN 9780367696818
March 3, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book responds to recent debates on cultural participation and the relevancy of music composed today with the first large-scale audience experience study on contemporary classical music.

Through analysing how existing audience members experience live contemporary classical music, this book seeks to make data-informed contributions to future discussions on audience diversity and accessibility. The author takes a multidimensional view of audience experience, looking at how sociodemographic factors and the frames of social context and concert format shape aesthetic responses and experiences in the concert hall. The book presents quantitative and qualitative audience data collected at twelve concerts in ten different European countries, analysing general trends alongside case studies. It also offers the first large-scale comparisons between the concert experiences and tastes of contemporary classical and classical music audiences.

Contemporary classical music is critically discussed as a ‘high art subculture’ rife with contradictions and conflicts around its cultural value. This book sheds light on how audiences negotiate the tensions between experimentalism and accessibility that currently define this genre. It provides insights relevant to academics from audience research in the performing arts and from musicology, as well as to institutions, practitioners, and artists.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of Tables



Foreword by Professor Stephanie Pitts

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Conceptualising and Researching Audience Experience

Chapter 3: Contemporary Classical Music and its Audiences

Chapter 4: Who and Why? Demographics and Motivations to Attend

Chapter 5: CCM as High Art Subculture: Audience Tastes and Perceptions

Chapter 6: The Social and the Aesthetic I: Musical Expertise and Experiences with Live CCM

Chapter 7: The Social and the Aesthetic II: Aesthetic Experience and CCM

Chapter 8: CCM and Audience Participation: A Case Study

Chapter 9: Institution-Audience Relationships in CCM Culture

Chapter 10: ‘Written without regard to the audience’: Classical Music Attendees on CCM

Chapter 11: Conclusion


Appendix 1: Methodological Appendix

Appendix 2: Survey Questionnaires

Appendix 3: Supplementary Tables

Appendix 4: Supplementary Figures

Appendix 5: Full List of Works Performed at the Survey Concerts


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Dr. Gina Emerson is a musicologist and curator. Her research explores and connects the topics of audience experience, sustainability, and cultural participation in art music contexts. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the IASS Potsdam in the Art-Science Cooperations for Sustainability group.