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Experiments in Audience Participation

Symphonic orchestras worldwide are trying to connect with their audiences in new ways. Innovating a musical practice with a rich history and cherished rituals is challenging however. How can orchestras engage with audiences in artistically meaningful ways? What does the innovation of audience participation mean for musicians, programmers, marketeers, researchers and audience members themselves?

Experimenting with audience participation involves more than marketing strategies or new concert formats. When trying to innovate audience participation, all parts of the machinery of the orchestra start to squeak and grind. From the skills that musicians and staff need to deviate from their routines, to the criteria that evaluate the success of concerts.

This website is based on the four-year project Artful Participation (2017-2021) funded by the NWO-SIA Smart Culture programme. It presents experiments, shares research and insights, and offers practical exercises.

Explore by Character

What does audience participation mean from the perspective of a programmer, a musician, a marketeer, an innovator or an audience member? Select a character to start your journey into audience participation.

Explore the Experiments

In the Artful Participation project, researchers together with musicians and staff from philharmonie zuidnederland conducted seven experiments in audience participation. Read about these experiments and about our lessons learnt.

About the Artful Participation Project

The Artful Participation project was a collaboration between philharmonie zuidnederland, Maastricht University, and Zuyd University of Applied Science (the research centre for Arts, Autonomy & the Public Sphere, and Conservatorium Maastricht). The Artful Participation Project is one of the projects of the Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM). Read more about the MCICM here.

Contact information

If you have any questions or inquiries, please contact the MCICM at