Looking at the Life Cycle of U.S. Classical Music Ensembles

Good preliminary analysis from Jon Silpayamanant on Mae Mai. The nut:

So, the question of whether all these new orchestras, opera companies, smaller ensembles, concert bands, choral groups are making money is besides the point. At nearly every point of nearly every organization, the revenue generated was small until the organization reaches maturity. And in most cases, this took somewhere between 50 to 100 years. Let’s ask the question in a few decades when we’ll actually have a comparable timeframe.

This article does a good job of shifting perspective: the stable, full-time, for-profit classical ensemble is a relatively new beast, and that helps explain the heavy focus on works by big-name dead composers. But a hundred years ago, when many of these performing groups were young, their repertoire was far more contemporary (at least if the New York Met is anything to go by). It makes you wonder if, a hundred years from now, ensembles like Bang on a Can and ICE will be focussed on works from our time or theirs.

In other words, I wonder if the ageing of the repertoire part of the life cycle of music ensembles too.