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Project information

New audiences for classical music in Cambridge

Access to culture has a transformational impact on people’s lives. Engaging with classical music has particular benefits for well-being. This project will enable new groups from Cambridgeshire to get involved with classical music through concerts and workshops to inspire the next generation.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Academy of Ancient Music

Academy of Ancient Music logo
  • Need


    The AAM is the only orchestra to have a regular evening concert series in Cambridge. Our experience shows that we are only reaching a narrow segment of the local population. The average age of someone attending a classical music concert in Cambridge is 55-64 and the majority of the audience come from within 5 miles of the city centre. There are fewer opportunities for children and young people to experience classical music in schools as curriculum time becomes more limited.


    During 2017, we will make AAM concerts in Cambridge more engaging and accessible to a wider audience. We will expand our £5 ticket offer for under-25s, create digital content to introduce the orchestra and make concert attendance more accessible and make concerts more welcoming. At the same time we will work with the local music service, schools and other local cultural organisations to create a series of workshops and concerts to introduce local schools to classical music.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase the number of under 25s attending classical music concerts in Cambridge.


    » Run a targeted marketing campaign to promote classical music and AAM concerts to under-25s introducing our £5 tickets and more welcoming coincerts.
    » Make concerts more welcoming and accessible by having musicians introduce music from the stage and enabling people to take refreshments into the hall
    » Creating digital content to introduce the music in each concert and the concert experience to under-25s to demystify attendance at classical concerts
    » Introduce a loyalty card scheme for under-25s to promote repeat attendance at Cambridge concerts.

    What success will look like

    The number of under-25s attending Cambridge concerts will increase from 30 to 45 each concert. 10% of them will use our loyalty card scheme and attend three or more concerts.

    Aim 2

    Increase the number of school children in Cambridgeshire being introduced to classical music


    » Create interactive schools concerts for 7-12 year-olds that can easily be delivered in a range of different settings.
    » Produce teachers' packs to support concerts and enable children to continue learning about classical music in a fun and enjoyable way.
    » Offer schools the opportunity to purchase reduced price concert tickets so they can experience the AAM in concert.

    What success will look like

    We will increase the number of school children engaging with our work in 2017 from 1,000 to 1,500.

    Aim 3

    Enable one community group from a town or village outside Cambridge to attend an AAM concert


    » Identify a community group of first time concert attenders in collaboration with local organisations.
    » Visit the group in advance of the concert with AAM musicians to introduce the AAM and the programme of the concert they are attending.
    » Provide a bespoke pre-concert talk for the group on the day of the concert and post-concert discussion with players.

    What success will look like

    We will enable a group of 10-20 people from a local community group to attend an AAM concert. Up to 5 of them will attend a future concert as a result of the experience.

  • Impact


    The project will start to reverse long-term trends in concert attendance in Cambridge. We will start to see the average age of concert audiences reduce and the proportion of people under 35 will increase. We will also see people from a wider range of locations attending concerts. We will demonstrate the success of the project by monitoring the proportion of young people in our concert audience at West Road Concert Hall and locations people come from to attend concerts through audience surveys.


    There is a risk that our marketing campaigns will not be effective in attracting new younger audiences. We have dealt with this by commissioning research, creating an audience development plan and involving young people in developing the project. There is a risk that local schools and community groups will not want to engage with the project. We will deal with this by involving representatives from these sectors in the planning stages and maintaining close contact with them during the project.


    We will send donors monthly emails about the project including filmed content of participants talking about their experiences. These emails will keep donors updated about the progress of the project and any changes as well as enabling them to clearly understand its impact.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £15,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 Schools concerts and workshops Developing and delivering up to 15 schools concerts and workshops during 2017
      £2,000 Community activities Work with local community group to introduce classical music and provide tickets for one AAM concert
      £3,000 Marketing campaign Creating targeted marketing campaign for under-25s
      £2,000 Concert tickets Cost of providing £5 concert tickets for under-25s
  • Background


    Our project is located in Cambridge and the surrounding area which has a growing population. The proportion of young people in the area is predicted to rise and our project aims to create more activities for them. Cambridge City Council's strategy for arts and culture emphasises the need to bring the whole community together through cultural activities. Our project responds to this by trying to draw new groups into our audience to bring local people together around classical music.


    Our project will benefit three main groups. Young people under the age of 25 from Cambridge and the surrounding area who have not previously engaged with classical music. A community group from Cambridgeshire whose members have not previously attended a classical concert. We will work with local partners to find this group. Children aged 7-12 attending local schools where there is limited existing provision for music. Their teachers through the availability of new resources through the project.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The AAM is the only orchestra with a regular evening concert series in Cambridge. We have a key role to play in the cultural life of the area. Through our local roots, partnerships with organisations such as the music education hub and experience from previous projects we have the knowledge and skills to make this project success. We also have a passionate energetic group of world-class musicians who will deliver world-class performances in every setting, inspiring everyone who encounters them

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Anthony Brice

    Anthony is Head of Concerts and Education at the AAM and will lead the development of the schools workshops and work with local community groups.

    Alison Bowyer

    Alison is Head of Fundraising and Marketing at the AAM and will have overall responsibility for the marketing and digital campaigns for under-25s.