For the second time in seven days, a concert under the umbrella of the UT School of Music has overflowed a major concert hall, leaving late-comers (or actually, anyone who wasn't there a half hour early) to find convenient leaning spots at the sides and rear of the respective venues. Last Sunday, it was the "Rachmaninoff Remembered" event at the James R. Cox Auditorium with Russian pianist Evgheny Brakhman commemorating the 70th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninoff's last performance in Knoxville. Yesterday, the UT Symphony Orchestra went one better and filled the 1630 seat Tennessee Theater for a performance of Beethoven's monumental Symphony No. 9 that featured a stage filled with the orchestra, Maestro James Fellenbaum, a huge chorus, and soloists.
Full house, "Rachmaninoff Remembered," James R. Cox Auditorium, February 17, 2013
In both cases, attendance exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic, with the supply of printed programs running out long before everyone was seated.
While both of these concerts were offered free and promised a memorable occasion, I cannot help thinking that this indicates a larger development in demographics and interest that fine arts marketers should heed.
Importantly, too--yesterday's impressive performance of Beethoven's final monumental symphony was a clear demonstration of just how far the UT SOM orchestra program has progressed in the last few years. I certainly stand by my pronouncement that the UT Symphony is definitely Knoxville's other symphony orchestra.