Why Not FringeCharlotte?

Back in February, we published an article on the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and its trials and travails to stay relevant. The piece depicted a cultural instituation that was somewhat afraid of change--paralyzed in the ether between knowing it needs to innovate to attract new audiences but not wanting to alienate its core, staid (and shrinking in number) constituency.

Well, here's an idea. FringeAtlanta seems like a completely innovative way to attract new audiences to classical music without subverting the entire orchestra. This is not symphonic music but rather chamber music, which is essentially a mini orchestra. But if there was a FringeCharlotte, I'd go.

Here's a description from the FringeAtlanta web site

Fringe is about art—about crossing social, cultural, and ethnic divides through music by purposely melding worlds to create something entirely new. Fringe puts gifted composers, musicians, and visual artists together to showcase their talent in a fresh experience of the arts unlike any Atlanta has ever seen. It blends a cocktail of music and visual arts that brings back the original, intimate experience of chamber music in an approachable, exciting way—especially for younger audiences weaned on pop music and even poppier culture.

The concerts will look something like this: chamber music (classical music played by small groups of musicians) will be the focus of each evening, with performances of some of the most virtuosic music compositions ever written, performed by the best musicians in Atlanta and throughout the country. Unlike the iconic classical music experience of sitting, listening, yawning, and then leaving, each interactive performance will be a swift blend of live music performances, a DJ spinning ambient and electronica, documentary-style videos of the performers and finally, an independent, jury-selected short film.

This blending of art is radically different from what has come before, and we hope it begins to usher in a new era of the classical concert experience—not by talking down to its audience and expecting them to be quiet and behave—but by inviting them in to get dirty and truly experience this great art anew.