Attila Szabó is in a perfect position to raise young people’s interest in and fondness for classical music in Pécs. After seven years with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra where he worked as chief ticket agent, now he’s at the Centre for Internationalizations and Connections at the University of Pécs.
What makes the Pannon Philharmonics’ Classical Chill Out series so special?
This series is a result of a long-term cooperation of the Pannon Philharmonics and the University of Pécs. Students are its main target group, as the concerts are on weekdays, a bit later than usual. The seats are removed from the ground floor auditorium and are replaced by round tables, where circles of 8-10 friends can sit together at the same time. The house rules are also less strict – at other occasions, you aren’t allowed to bring your bag with you, whereas here guests even receive a drink. Another specialty is that we called for participation: twenty-two students applied, twenty of them are Hungarians and two are internationals, who play an instrument. They take part in the orchestra’s rehearsals and they are going to play with them on 13 March, cooperating in such easier and more popular pieces as Ravel’s Bolero, for example. This is a perfect match for the Philharmonics and the University: students on stage, students in the auditorium, and of course we hope to see the broader audience as well. Friends of a more traditional concert experience are still able to sit on the usual, comfortable chairs.
What about students who have pay fees, do student jobs? How can they afford the concerts?
The Pannon Philharmonics is of an extremely high quality. Culture lovers tend to spend less money on other things, but they wouldn’t consider skipping a concert or a season ticket. It is true not only for the students, but for the local citizens in general. This success is a mixture of the musical experience, the general elegancy of the Philharmonics, the beautiful booklets, the broad recognition: the Pannon is, in the end, the only countryside orchestra that gives full house concerts in the Müpa Budapest, just like the local concerts that also run with full house.
The whole article can be read here.