Today’s guest blog post is written by Jeff Lin, a Schubert Club Board Member who is chairing the newly formed Technology Committee for The Schubert Club. Jeff is also the Founder and CEO of Bust Out Solutions, a design and development agency that crafts custom web and mobile apps.
One of the topics of constant conversation amongst leaders of The Schubert Club is audience development. If you have ever attended one of the world-class International Artist Series concerts, you’ll notice very few young spectators in the audience. The same goes for many other classical arts audiences around the country as well. If we want classical music to survive as an industry in general and as a major art form, we need to find ways to attract younger people – and simply more people – to our performances.
The Schubert Club’s Theoroi Project and Mix concert series are two major efforts that have made a significant impact. A third is underway. This year The Schubert Club created a Technology task force committee, of which I am the chair. Our mission is to think about creative ways in which technology can be used to enhance the reach of The Schubert Club and promote our mission, which is to promote the art of classical music through performance, education and museum programs. Our boundaries are extremely broad, and the sky is the limit when it comes to proposing ideas for consideration.
Many arts organizations are turning to technology to expand their reach as well. In 2014 the Wyncote Foundation commissioned a project called Like, Link, Share to study the use of digital technology in cultural institutions. Headed by Sarah Lutman, the project produced a wonderful summary of the state of technology in the arts from a global perspective. The study highlights a number of interesting technology projects, such as the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One and companion ArtLens mobile app, a unique digital experience in the museum world. Visitors to the Gallery are immersed in a digital playground that keeps everybody interested, art enthusiasts and finicky toddlers alike. ArtLens mobile app users can download the entire museum’s collection in digital format, enabling them to carry the entire museum in their pocket.
Right here in our own backyard, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has created a free mobile app that brings the entire SPCO listening library to the users’ fingertips. While it’s a great tool for patrons of the SPCO to hear their favorite past performances, more importantly it’s an outreach tool that spreads awareness and support of the the SPCO around the globe. Over three-fourths of the users of the app are outside Minnesota, a audience that otherwise would not have much opportunity to engage with the SPCO.
The Technology Committee’s goal is to support an initiative similar to those executed at the Cleveland Art Museum and SPCO that uses modern digital tools in ways that extend the reach of The Schubert Club to interact with people within the community and around the world. The time is right for this effort, and I applaud The Schubert Club for recognizing the opportunities to help bring classical music into the digital age.