17. June 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: News

This Thursday, the Houston Symphony will be pioneering a new form of communication with its audience, providing up to the minute Tweets about the music being performed.

Programme notes for the ‘Tweetcert’ have been written by conductor Brett Mitchell in 140 character snippets, and will be published via Twitter at a rate of one per minute.

Mitchell says of the project: “Engaging one or two more of the senses, I think, is a fabulous way of interesting people who might not come to a concert on a regular basis. It might entice them to come.”

I know some folks really love this idea. Thoughts?

I read about it here where I was also happy to read that they are doing this for an outdoor concert. If they bring these sorts of things indoors I hope they have a special seating area for the people who want to take part so others aren’t distracted by the bright screens.


  1. patti with an i

    In a word, feh. [Yiddish expression denoting something between disdain and disgust.]

    I attended a concert last night where the pre-concert announcements included not only the usual “turn off your cell phones” and “no photography or recording”, but also “no texting during the performance”. Was this in some hide-bound bastion of classical elitist stuffiness? No, it was the Stanford Jazz Festival.

    I am so tired of the attitude that somehow I should apologize for providing an experience which demands — and rewards in equal measure — the audience’s undivided attention. I am not the one responsible for my orchestras’ bottom lines, for getting “butts in seats”, to use the current ever-so-charming phrase, so perhaps it’s easy for me to say, but truly I would prefer that those who can’t or won’t sit still and listen just stay home and ignore me from there, instead of from the front row where they will degrade the experience not only for their fellow audience members but for the performers as well.

  2. Well said, patti with an i! And appreciated by yours truly. Thanks!

  3. I don’t think that anyone’s experience of this performance will be degraded by audience members checking their “tweets”. As the linked article mentions, it is an outdoor concert. People will be there with children, dogs, frisbees, dinner, and bug spray. The Houston Zoo is adjacent to the facility, as is the Texas Medical Center. It’s not meant to be a dress-up, sit up straight, see and be seen, transformative experience. It’s meant to reach out to audiences who might not go downtown for a concert. It’s fun and free, and who knows, maybe someone will learn something from the tweets. “Deceptive cadence in 3…2…1…” “Leitmotif in the cellos now” I think it’s an interesting idea.
    Full disclosure: I live in Houston and enjoy these Summer Symphony Nights concerts from time to time.

  4. Jerry, I could deal with this in an outdoor environment I suppose. I just think there is something about pure listening. So many seem to have lost that ability. But I’m glad you like the concerts!

    If the DO add these to indoor concerts, though, they really do need to consider those who don’t want to see that bright screen in their line of vision. I’ve seen ’em at the opera and it’s distracting to me!