The Programmer

A journey into audience participation

Supported by a director, by the chief conductor and sometimes by an artistic board, the programmer takes care of the creative vision of the orchestra. The programmer develops a coherent programming for the orchestra – often years ahead. Together with the conductor, the programmer decides the repertoire of the orchestra, when it performs what, with which instrumentation and staffing of musicians, for which kind of audience. Developing a balanced program includes taking into account logistics, planning, budgets, the size of the stage, acoustics of concert halls, and much more.

What does audience participation entail from the perspective of an artistic programmer? Developing new concert formats to reach new audiences is part of the work on innovation that a programmer does. Often, such new participatory or experimental concert formats entail collaborations with partners, which means that artistic responsibilities are shared. What are the challenges in this sharing of artistic responsibilities in practice? Moreover, concerts in which audiences play an important role, challenge the existing routines of the orchestra, such as evaluation. Participatory or experimental concerts invite the programmer the develop new criteria and methods for evaluating such concerts.

Choose a theme to continue your journey! Each theme includes etudes (or exercises) to learn about programming in different ways.

Choose a particular theme to continue your journey:

Circulating artistic choices

In participatory or experimental concerts, the artistic choices are not only made by the artistic programmer and his/her team. If there is a collaboration with external artistic partners, different forms of artistic expertise come into play. Moreover, in experimental or participatory concerts, what is considered to be artistically relevant shifts to unexpected places and moments: productional choices regarding stage-design or the walk-through of the audience can suddenly become artistically important. And when do audiences become artistically relevant?

Choice of theme 1

Evaluating participatory concerts

As a programmer, you are used to evaluate concerts based on artistic criteria, assessing how musicians, the conductor, audiences, and others involved experienced the concert. However, conventional criteria for evaluation cannot easily be applied to participatory or experimental concerts. How to evaluate such concerts, when and with whom?

Choice of theme 2

Explore a different character

What does audience participation mean from another perspective? Select a character to continue your journey into audience participation!