Symphony Goes Online to Grab Fans
"Bringing people tangibly closer to the symphony, both young adults unfamiliar with the symphony and regular concert goers is definitely the aim of the site," said Monica Shultz, vice president of marketing and communications at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "They can view Webcasts of concerts, learn for the first time what really goes into the orchestration of a specific piece performed or eventually trade or buy tickets directly from the site."
Three live shows and 12 recorded Webcasts are planned for this year. Marking another first for the Orchestra, the concerts will simultaneously be broadcast on syndicated national radio stations, sponsored by Nortel Networks. The first live concert is a commissioned production by Lowell Liebermann, the Orchestra's Composer in Residence. It will be broadcast from the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas on Feb. 13. The site already features background information on the Liebermann and his work, and eventu-ally will offer extensive bios of individual musical players.
"What makes this site unique is that it is using the Internet to do what is not possible in the physical world. For the first time we can provide comprehensive information on every one of the members of the orchestra," said Shultz "It gives much more meaning to the concerts and to the whole concert going experience. This fills a gap between the knowledge of the layperson and that of the musicologist. A gap that the performance is meant to fill but which often does not."
Also in the works are long-distance learning programs and junior level composition competitions broadcast exclusively on the site. The orchestra also plans to allow kids to create their own classic compositions and hear them played by the site's computer orchestra and participate in interactive multi-player music games.
The Symphony's companion youth site, DSOKids.com, will relaunch in April as an educational section of the main site.
The next planned live concert in June will allow visitors to order the resulting CD of the production in advance. Additional e-commerce features offered through an online store selling collectible merchandise, books and CDs will not be phased in until August. At that time, a feature offering ticket buying and ticket trading for season-ticket holders will roll out as well.
The site will be the backbone of an ambitious three-year online marketing plan partnering the Symphony with technology companies Nortel Networks and EDS, the Temerlin McClain public relations firm and financial backer The Hart Group.