A Place for New Music: A Discussion on Concert Hall Venues
FRANK J. OTERI: There’s a specific demographic to the kind of person that will attend a concert, and that might vary according to who is the typical classical concert-goer, who is the typical jazz club attendee, who’s the typical rock concert goer, etc. The Internet has kind of opened that up a bit. I’m not sure we have a demographic yet on who the person is who listens to music over the Web, but I think we can be relatively sure that they’re younger people for the most part, but that’s going to change too…
LIMOR TOMER: Younger and older. Both ends.
FRANK J. OTERI: We could also determine the demographic of somebody who doesn’t go to concerts at all. Should we be concerned about bringing them in? Does it matter that there are people who don’t listen to music that way?
RUSSELL JOHNSON: I look at people like Simon Rattle. Simon has a great drive to bring music to more and more people. It’s almost the core of his musical life. He’s constantly campaigning for bringing music education back into the school systems. I think that a musician who devotes his life to the performance of music, has an innate, overwhelming desire to have music mean more to more and more people as the years go by. You can’t avoid it.
COLETTE DOMINGUES: There are many Simon Rattles out there.
RUSSELL JOHNSON: If you’re onstage performing the Beethoven Third, you don’t want to really sit there playing your violin thinking that in forty years that institution will be almost gone. You just don’t want to, you know, that’s not human nature. So I think everyone wants music to matter more and more.
MOLLY SHERIDAN: We were talking about the new venues where there are multiple rooms. If you had the chance to design a room for new music from scratch, realizing that new music is a broad term in and of itself, what sort of things would you want that facility be equipped to do?
COLETTE DOMINGUES: I would have a committee meeting immediately with all of the musicians that I was going bring into the space and find out their needs, put it all together and put someone in charge to have it made. I wouldn’t make those decisions on my own. As a curator, I would have big, relative lobbies come and we’d have a democratic decision about it and build the perfect environment for all.
LIMOR TOMER: I would start by firing the soundman. That’s where I’d start. I’m not as democratic as you Colette, I don’t know about committees. But I’d definitely be open to listening to what composers and musicians are going for and try to build a room that allows them to do what they need to do…I’d think in terms of smaller rather than bigger because I’m just more comfortable in smaller environments.
COLETTE DOMINGUES: Yeah, me too. I like small art. Make the cameo perfect.
LIMOR TOMER: Yeah and minimize ambient noise. Have the bar outside. And the team has to be committed and all sort of have the same agenda. If there are other things going on like visual art or food—fine, that’s great, but everybody has to have the same agenda. The most important thing is the music presentation and then everything else takes a backseat to that. So…
FRANK J. OTERI: So are you going to build this hall for us?
RUSSELL JOHNSON: I’ll answer another question. New music created in 2050 will lead someone to design a space appropriate for that type of new music, the spaces, the design of the spaces will always be following the nature of the creation.
COLETTE DOMINGUES: Yeah, it’s behind, yeah.
RUSSELL JOHNSON: So whatever the composers are doing with new music in 2050, within a few years or a few decades after that, someone will be designing the appropriate spaces for that particular format of music.