If I Were In Charge, Symphony Programs Would Come With Time Stamps (And Maybe More Young People Would Take the Bait)

This Bruckner symphony is 73 minutes, eh? I better use the restroom now.
When I was back home in August, I was startled to see that the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra--a worthy ensemble, though not, I'd thought, cutting-edge--had adopted a policy I've long advocated: printing in their concert programs the timings of the pieces played. This may seem minor, but it could be a game-changer.

It would be a great advantage, I think, for concertgoers not familiar with the music (which is where classical ensembles had better start looking to expand their audience, if they intend to survive) simply to know how long a work is: To be able to mentally settle in for a three-minute piece or a 90-minute one would provide a huge head start in being able to enjoy something unfamiliar. Classical CD cases almost all include track timings; Seattle Opera posts the length of each act on an easel board in the lobby; why should concert programs withhold this information from listeners--if only so you'll know how long you'll have to wait to unwrap that cough drop?

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