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April 21, 2010

Baltimore Symphony heats up marketing effort with parties, concierge service

Marketing classical music is an endless challenge in the age of idols and dancing pseudo-stars. The latest effort at the Baltimore Symphony caught my eye. I don't recall ever seeing anything like this tried before, and it sounds kind of cool.

Of course, everybody in the business is trying to break down barriers between stage and audience, so the fact that BSO musicians will be hanging out with the public after concerts at Meyerhoff Hall for the next few weeks isn't exactly earth-shattering. But here are the extra features:


These will be "BSO Fan" parties (they've got fan buttons for you), complete with free drinks (including beer and wine, I'm told) and desserts. So you can hob with every BSO nob worth hobbing with, while sipping and noshing the night away. But wait, that's not all. If you call in the next five minutes -- sorry, wrong marketing project.

There really is more, though, and this is the most novel part. You can take advantage of something called the “Musicians’ Concierge” at these post-concert parties. Players will be available to help advise you on selecting a subscription package for the 2010-2011 season, tailored to your particular musical tastes. That personal connection strikes me not only as a clever take on traditional marketing, but one with the potential for fostering something more than ticket sales.

The fan parties, which started last weekend, will be held after Meyerhoff concerts through May 15. (At Strathmore, a modified version will be offered during intermissions.)


Posted by Tim Smith at 7:23 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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