When I wrote the blog series and e-book on Orchestras and New Media, I looked almost exclusively to the English-speaking world. But there are some really interesting things happening in the rest of the world. On Twitter, for example, I’m following some classical music organizations from the Netherlands, including @radio4nl and @muziekgebouw.
And a short while ago, I found Christian Henner-Fehr (@kulturmanager), or rather, he found me. Christian has an interesting blog named Kultur Management and he told me about the stART Conference in Duisburg, Germany, which will take place in September of this year and looks like a must-see event for any European arts managers that want to know more about social media.
A little while later, Frank Tentler, who is also involved with the stART conference, contacted me about the Duisburger Philharmoniker project Philharmonie 2.0. Frank told me in an e-mail he normally works with corporate clients, but:
it is possible to create a company-like concept for an orchestra. I was fascinated: normally you have to create a story to tell at first, then to produce content around the story. But here all content was lying in front of me and I only had to pick it up and lead it to the most important communities.
As project manager, he built a team including a musician, a content manager, and a professor in communication design and his students. And, as Frank writes, “with this experience, I had the idea for a conference – the stART.09. One of the co-initiators, Christian Henner-Fehr told me, that he had contacted you, too.”
Don’t you just love the possibilities of social media and social networking? Through my blog and Twitter I was able to connect to these great resources and share thoughts and comments.
I had a brief look at the Philharmonie 2.0 concept as introduced by Christian and Frank. Frank also forwarded an article from a German orchestra trade magazine, which describes the project, its successes and core ideas. What stood out from the article was the following sentence:
Klassische Musik hat kein Problem mit ihrem Inhalt – es geht darum, mit ihr Leute persönlich anzusprechen
Or, in English, “classical music does not have a problem with its content; the point is to speak personally with your patrons.” Indeed, as I wrote in my brief SWOT analysis, content is one of the main strengths of orchestras. Use it to connect. And make it personal. And talking about content, a lot of content by the Duisburger Philharmoniker is licensed under a Creative Commons label. Smart move.
The channels used by the Duisburger Philharmoniker include Twitter (including separate accounts for the general manager and conductor, although there has not been any recent activity), YouTube, Delicious and Flickr. The orchestra is most active on its blog and they seemingly reach out to newcomers as well, inviting bloggers and Internet users to a free concert (reminiscent of San Francisco’s blogger night). Strangely, and unfortunately, although the orchestra is actively blogging, there are not a whole lot of user comments underneath its posts.
I will keep an eye on these developments in Germany and will continue to browse around the Philharmonie 2.0 project. If only to keep up my fast-dwindling German language skills. I’m curious to see if the orchestra will keep it up and what they learn in the process.