Listen closely: Innovating audience participation in symphonic music

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Traditionally, the visitor to a concert by a symphony orchestra is a quiet, attentive listener. Over the past twenty years, however, the relationships between symphony orchestras and their audiences increasingly have been questioned in the cultural-political discourse in the Netherlands. The one-sided composition of the audience of symphonic concerts is problematised, and Dutch cultural policy started to encourage orchestras to experiment with new forms of audience participation. This dissertation investigates what kind of work symphony orchestras have to do in order to innovate the role of their audience. Innovating participation turns out to be a complex task for orchestras, because when the role of the audience changes, this leads to unknown situations throughout the entire organisational process that challenge the existing aesthetic framework. Orchestras have to reflect again on their routines, norms, ways of working and of evaluating and appreciating. The innovation of participation thus challenges symphony orchestras to ask themselves again what a 'good' concert actually is.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Peters, Peter, Supervisor
  • Benschop, R., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date6 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • audience participation
  • innovation
  • symphony orchestra
  • artistic value


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