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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Offers Beer and Ribs with 'Low-Cost High Culture' Theory

By Ian Holubiak | Jan 06, 2015 11:57 AM EST

Perhaps New York City, and many other cultural hubs around the world, are mighty giants too big to concede to lower costs. But for the Rust Belt cities and the theory of "low-cost high culture," some faltering institutions are seeing rebounds that are changing the city and the price of high culture forever.

For the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, some changes to the price — and ethics — of attending a program of Beethoven has attracted some younger concertgoers. And as Alex MacGillis notes at Slate, the performance costs all of $15 and, get this, permits drinks in the theater.

MacGillis also highlights, though, that beyond a single performance there are several packages to subscribe to, including a 40-and-under patron deal for $75, and you even get a night with Marin Alsop (who we all know is a reigning heavyweight).

This reminds me of a certain orchestra that we reviewed on Classicalite, One World Symphony, which put on a beautiful program of Sung Jin Hong's original Breaking Bad-aria. The entire performance cost pennies compared to a program uptown at Lincoln Center.

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