Classical Music Audiences


Collaborations with Music in the Round and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2013)

SPARC members Lucy Dearn and Sarah Price were appointed to the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award studentships that were awarded to the University of Sheffield in collaboration with Music in the Round and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Lucy and Sarah combined their academic research with placements in the two arts organisations, using the practical experience they gain there to inform research questions around the theme of ‘Music, place and people: investigating the impact of Western classical music provision and attendance in two English cities’.

Knowledge Transfer Project with CBSO (2010 - 2011)

The founding members of the SPARC team carried out a knowledge transfer project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), investigating audience and performer loyalty to the organisation. From the audience perspective, the project aimed to discover why audience members are loyal to the orchestra and how that loyalty can be developed and nurtured; while also aiming to increase our knowledge of why audience members find live classical listening a satisfying experience. From the performer perspective the research sought to produce findings on effective strategies for the continuing professional development of symphony orchestra musicians; simultaneously enhancing our understanding of orchestral musicians’ career trajectories and identities. The research led to an ongoing relationship with CBSO, including their involvement in the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award projects on ‘Music, Place and People’. Stephanie Pitts and Chris Spencer presented the CBSO project findings at conferences and research seminars in Glasgow and Birmingham, and a research article is now available online in Participations, the international journal of audience and reception studies.

Knowledge Transfer Project with Music in the Round (2009)

Stephanie Pitts and Melissa Dobson carried out a knowledge transfer project with Sheffield’s Music in the Round chamber music series, running a focus group study which introduced new audience members in the 21-30 age group to classical concert attendance. This project was funded by Yorkshire Forward Business Link and published as an invited article in Ethnomusicology Forum, as part of a special issue on the ethnomusicology of Western art music.