At HCM we strive to bring an outstanding musical experience to both traditional and new audiences through a season of concerts performed by internationally acclaimed musicians. Chamber music is a vibrant, evolving form and we seek to offer a diversity of programming, celebrating the classical repertoire whilst challenging new horizons with more contemporary works or less conventional ensembles.
Like many similar music societies we have always relied on a core audience of committed concert-goers and music lovers to attend our events and promote the society. However, just as chamber music is evolving, so we are aware of the importance of constantly revisiting our own vision and the ways we bring this music to the community.
The challenge we face and which we have embraced is not just to keep our existing audience base, but to reach out to the wider community and make our offering vibrant, meaningful and accessible to people who may be less familiar with the experience of live classical music.
With this in mind, our watchwords, alongside our existing commitment to musical excellence are: community, inclusivity and accessibility.
To achieve our vision, we ran a pilot relaxed event at the Ferens Art Gallery on 21 February 2020. It was a great success; we welcomed an audience of 125 which included 46 on free tickets raised through our Crowdfunder and over 50% of the audience was children.
In the lead-up to this event, we ran a Crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to offer free tickets to those who would not otherwise be able to afford them. We raised our target in three days, and went on to exceed it.
We have been able to offer 68 tickets so far to our local partner charities to distribute (of which 46 were taken up and 22 will be offered to future concerts). In doing this, we were able to perform for individuals that would not otherwise have been able to come.
As a result of Hull Chamber Music’s approach the Ferens has hosted its first ever relaxed concert. The event was buzzing and attracted many families with under 5s, amongst others, and had a great feel – very inclusive. It was lovely to see the Ferens animated in a new way.Ferens Art Gallery
We enthusiastically plan to present more events like this when we are able to do so. It fits with the original nature of chamber music to be intimate and relaxed; the origins of chamber music are in informal performances in people’s homes and at small gatherings.
Whilst now it is, of course, a leading form of music performed in major venues worldwide, we feel that there is a particular place for relaxed performances of this type of classical music.
The ability to watch the interaction and unspoken, equal relationships between the players is unique to chamber music, and gives a particular charm which captures the imagination in a different way from larger-scale performances, which might be overwhelming for some audiences. Chamber music is not accessible for many in our city; something that HCM seeks to address.