Brooklyn Conservatory to explore new ways to attract audiences to jazz

September 13, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in Park Slope has been chosen as one of six organizations across the U.S. to implement the results of the Jazz Audiences Initiative’s study on presenting and producing jazz.

Theory-to-practice experiments will begin in the fall of 2012. Among some of the artists the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music will present as part of their experiment are the Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet on Sept. 20 and the Vijay Iyer Trio on Sept. 22.
Both artists are 2012 DownBeat Critics Poll winners: Rudresh Mahanthappa for alto saxophone, and Vijay Iyer in a record-breaking five wins for jazz artist of the year, jazz album of the year (“Accelerando”), jazz group of the year (for the Vijay Iyer Trio), pianist of the year and rising star composer.

 “For more than 20 years, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has been presenting world-class jazz artists through our Jazz at the Conservatory concert series,” says Karen Geer, executive director of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. “This award is allowing us the flexibility to experiment with the concert series by transforming our venue into an intimate jazz club setting, presenting cutting-edge artists and offering related educational events in conjunction with the concerts.

“It is our hope that through these efforts combined with various online marketing strategies that we will be able to engage new jazz audiences.”

The Jazz Arts Group (JAG) in Columbus, Ohio commissioned the Jazz Audiences Initiative Study in November 2009 and released the results in late 2011. JAG received a $120,000 Continuing Innovation Stage II grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) in January 2012 to implement findings from the study.

Experiments will focus on presenting in new/smaller venues, booking new artists in particular markets, and testing new marketing messages and images. Each organization’s research will design, test, implement, and refine their methods for engaging and motivating audiences to engage in jazz-related activities.

Potential outcomes from these experiments may include (1) engagement of new and/or younger audiences, (2) employing local/regional jazz artists, (3) creating a “bank” of language and images for market segments, and (4) pilot testing a new business model for making smaller-scale programming sustainable.

Founded in 1897 with 200 students, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music now serves more than 15,000 individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels annually through music instruction, music therapy and concerts. Its concert series, Jazz at the Conservatory, aims to preserve the great American art form of jazz, showcase new interpretations of classic jazz standards, and provide the community with access to world-famous artists at limited to no cost.

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