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Philadelphia Orchestra CEO: Our pop-up concert was packed, thanks to Twitter

When its concert at Carnegie Hall was canceled due to a strike, the Philadelphia Orchestra decided to hold a spur-of-the-moment performance at the Kimmel Center this October.

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When its concert at Carnegie Hall was canceled due to a strike, the Philadelphia Orchestra decided to hold a spur-of-the-moment performance at the Kimmel Center this October.

It had six hours to get the word out. The Orchestra alerted the media and took to Twitter with the hashtag #PhilOrchFreePopUp. The Kimmel Center was packed by showtime, said Orchestra president and CEO Allison Vulgamore.

“We were trending that day,” she said.

Vulgamore, speaking at the Campus Philly Annual Meeting on a panel about arts, technology and business, said that social media has been an incredible way for the Orchestra to communicate with its younger audience.

Vulgamore’s not the only Twitter fan: so is the Orchestra’s “young, hot” conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vulgamore said.

“He’s a Twitter fiend. Sometimes I wonder if he’s actually conducting rehearsal.”

Attracting a younger audience has been a priority for years at the orchestra, once one of the world’s most celebrated and now regaining its footing after lean years, and the Kimmel Center has been a friend before.

The Orchestra is also working on a project with Drexel to create a “GPS for concerts,” Vulgamore said. It’ll help audience members follow the music by drawing their attention to the musicians that are playing, say, a specific solo at the moment. It’s one way the Orchestra wants to use technology to make the arts more accessible, she said.

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