There's just something different about summer concerts: warm weather and late sunsets draw people out onto the portico at Avery Fisher Hall for cell-phone snaps; picnics at a parks performance are an opportunity to text friends about where to meet up, or to tweet about a glorious New York summer night. The New York Philharmonic is no different than all our friends : we're constantly updating our Facebook status, tweeting about musical inspirations, sharing photos from behind the scenes.
Although this month's Summertime Classics programs, followed by our annual free Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, bring the Philharmonic's 2012 _13 New York season to a close, there's no reason to say "See you in September." Even as the Orchestra takes off for its 11th annual residency at Colorado's Bravo! Vail music festival, then disperses for vacation, the Philharmonic's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube channels are all available by clicking on an icon at the bottom of the Orchestra's homepage. Now there's also a new social media feature on nyphil.org that will keep you "posted" right up to the new season and beyond through a daily stream of information and insights.
We've got an awful lot to share and multiple avenues to explore, from of-the-moment photos on Twitter to the treasure trove of our Facebook Digital Archives portal, offering thousands of historical photos and scores. (Ever wanted to take a look at Bernstein's scribbles on his scores? This is the place to start.) Just ask some of the Philharmonic's almost 180,000 Facebook followers around the globe who share their opinions on concerts and artists (no punches pulled here), who click to the Philharmonic's Spotify playlists, or who have entered a contest for free tickets. Or some of the nearly 43,000 Twitter followers who have kept pace with us in real time during events like the recent live performance of Magnus Lindberg's Kraft at the Volkswagen Transparent Factory in Germany, and the Live From Lincoln Center telecast of the Orchestra's hit production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel : often sharing their tweets to the greater Philharmonic family through the hashtag #nyphil. Enthusiastic Tumblr fans have re-blogged about Music Director Alan Gilbert's appearance on Sesame Street and shared the YouTube video. And there were those funny-punny Classical Valentines that originated on the Philharmonic's Pinterest board and were subsequently shared by more than 2,000 Tumblr followers and 5,000 Facebook fans, generating national media buzz.
From the ridiculous to the sublime, we've gotten a kick out of followers discovering that this Orchestra has a sense of humor, whether it's more pun-filled exchanges on Twitter, or the ongoing YouTube video adventures of Principal Trumpet Philip Smith and Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi (who, on the most recent tour, constructed a "practice cave" so as not to annoy woodwind players in adjacent hotel rooms). Our Tumblr page shares information that might not fit comfortably on the official Website, such as The Bach Variations festival's posting of Bach-inspired tattoos, backstories of his most beloved works, and facts about his prodigious family. The Pinterest page shares visuals including the inspiration boards that sparked costume designs for A Dancer's Dream, the multimedia production starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns, and the artful photo shoot of musicians for the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. But this is not a passive project: if you are pleased with one of your photos taken at one of the Concerts in the Parks, tag it with #nyphilparks so it can be part of the Pinterest photo gallery.
These and other social media efforts are "a way for our audience to talk with the Orchestra, and also with each other," according to David Snead, the Philharmonic's Vice President, Marketing and Communications, "to share stories about the music, or things that go way beyond the concerts themselves. It opens up the conversation and becomes a part of daily life."
Connecting with classical music lovers, neighbors in our own city, and followers around the globe has revealed that the New York Philharmonic is the hub of a worldwide community. During the Orchestra's recent EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour, which included our debut in Izmir, Turkey, fans there posted thoughtful Facebook comments about the concerts, and photos that were then shared on the Philharmonic's Twitter stream. Coupled with the round-up of concert and behind-the-scenes photos hosted on the Orchestra's Website, followers were privy to a 360-degree perspective of the journey, from the vantage points of both audience and musicians.
Even if you're not a social-media butterfly, drop in at What's New, a new page on the Philharmonic's Website, nyphil.org, where a single click connects you with details about concerts, dates, and tickets, or where you can fi nd out more about artists, composers, and works. Click on the words "What's New" in the navigation bar at the top or on one of the three buttons toward the bottom of the homepage to access this newly launched, mobile-friendly, continual stream of photos, original videos, and more. Posts are archived so you can catch up at your leisure, and sharing buttons make it easy to pass on to friends items that particularly strike your fancy.
"What's New presents the full story of what's happening at the Philharmonic," says Vince Ford, Director of Digital Media. "It's everything we do, from concerts to those special moments behind the scenes, as well as video, radio broadcasts, and projects like A Dancer's Dream." That's even more good news for the 1.4 million Philharmonic Website visitors each year who are looking to attend a concert or gathering info for a trip to the city. But hey, that's what friends do.
Rebecca Winzenried is the Program and Publications Editor at the New York Philharmonic.