Stefan Petrovic and Jed Wentz
Did They Throw Tomatoes? The Performer-Audience Relationship in 18-century England
What was the nature of the performer-audience relationship in 18th-century England and how can this influence our relationship with audiences today?
With the explosion of the public concert in 18th-century England and the ensuing so called “rage for music”, it is clear that concerts were a vital part of the social life of England’s elite and burgeoning middle class. What created this experience? What roles did both audience and performers play? How did it differ from the ways in which we encounter classical music concerts in the 21st century? This research explores how 18th-century English music was publicly experienced in paid, secular concert settings. It was quite different from what we might now expect in the same setting, and therefore it engendered a vastly different performer-audience relationship than what we often have today. The concert spaces, audience makeup, and concert etiquette each were contributing factors in creating a varied and highly social experience for concertgoers. The aim of this research paper is to illuminate this experience and explore how something similar might be relevantly created in the 21st century.
Chloe Prendergast is a violinist originally from Denver, Colorado. She is the artistic director of the Beethoven Festival of the Hague, a member of Holland Baroque and the Butter Quartet, and has performed with groups including the Handel and Haydn Society, Pacific Musicworks, Henry Purcell Society of Boston, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, Luthers Bach Ensemble, Collegium Ad Mosam, and Arcadia Players. Chloe currently studies at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague with Kati Debretzeni and Walter Reiter. She holds a degree from Willamette University, where she was a Phil Hanni scholar and studied principally with Anthea Kreston and Daniel Rouslin.