Jennifer Melick from Symphony Now recently sat down with Artistic Director Andrew Cyr to talk about Metropolis’ approach to concerts, education, and fundraising. Among the ideas that Andrew discussed was how Metropolis produces concerts and all the details that go into each project:
“When I started thinking about a career as a conductor, I looked around, and was like, ‘No one my age is going to concerts.’ It was really sad, because this music that I love so much is just not being presented in ways that are relevant to a lot of my friends who work in other fields—even within the creative arts…
So I was kind of like, ‘Well, maybe we really need to weave in contemporary music more creatively so that we will generate more curiosity.’ I did it as a way to address audience problems, and then I found it was so fascinating to work with living composers: it was awesome! They pour so much of their entire being into these compositions, and they’re trying to achieve so much, it was really inspiring. To be part of the process of creating a new work from start to finish, and imagining it being part of a whole evening that has an arc, that’s not just randomly programmed but that really connects with everything else, that was my intuition about how to do this. More and more, the ensemble turned in that direction. We also do a lot of performances in different types of venues, a little bit more social and more laid-back. I’d say the combination of all those things has really kind of helped us to build an awesome community.
I tend to stay away from venues that have fixed seating, but really it depends on the project. As each project develops, the venues and where the project is going to go are part of that early conversation with the composers, and the size of the ensemble. We’re flexible, so we can be one or we can be 50. I might say, this project here is going to be perfect for Le Poisson Rouge because we’ll use their great sound system, for instance. But some projects lend themselves more to a more natural acoustic, so I’ll find a place like Angel Orensanz, or maybe a museum. Some things work really well in small spaces, just to get a really direct audience connection, to get a close kind of circuit.”