[From the Director] Help Me Obliterate Barriers to Classical Music

About 5 years ago, I started working on a data idea, the Live Music Project, aggregating classical concert listings in Seattle. I fell in love with this community and the collaborative work that is music-making, from the first moments of “Will you write a piece for these instruments?” to hearing that music come to life on stage, and all the  rehearsal magic in between.

(In one of my favorite rehearsal moments, the clever, sweet-toothed students of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra solved a syncopation challenge by singing a tricky segment of an orchestral piece to the words “Where’s my candy corn” as they perused the snack table around Halloween time.)

I’m proud of what LMP has become. With the help of hundreds of contributors – volunteers, community partners, donors, board members, friends, artists, arts administrators, coffee makers, idea-bouncer-offers – LMP has listed 8,000 concerts, distributed $60,000 in free concert tickets to local communities, and launched a fundraising tool to the public. We’re hiring our first staff. We’re hard at work building a national-scale calendar. We’re learning from the last 5 years and thinking about the next 20.

Photo Credit: Shaya Lyon

Since starting LMP, one of the most important things I’ve learned about running a non-profit is this:

Your passion for the work must be greater than your fear of asking.

Otherwise, you undermine the very work you are doing, and what would be the point of that?

So I’ll end this post with an inevitable, brave, game-changing fundraising request:

Whether you’re hearing about the Live Music Project for the first time, or whether you’ve been involved since its earliest beginnings; whether you love music or data or you just want to be a part of something that is good and useful; if you’re passionate about obliterating barriers to the arts, as I am – please join me in my quest to make the Live Music Project even more astounding and awesome for even more people.

Photo Credit: Shaya Lyon

Here’s how you can help, either as a one-off, or on a recurring basis:

  • Obliterate the ticket price barrier. Of the 8,000+ concerts that have been listed on the LMP calendar, more than 2,000 were free. Each month, we print and distribute a flyer that is devoted to free concerts. You can cover the cost of this flyer with a donation of $10/month. 
  • Obliterate the familiarity barrier. Risk keeps people from trying new things. LMP offers a free ticket lottery, encouraging audiences to take a chance on unfamiliar ensembles, programming, and venues. We announce these giveaways using an email service. You can cover the cost of the email service with a donation of $25/month. 
  • Obliterate the knowledge barrier. There have been 22 performances of Dvořák’s New World Symphony since the calendar launched; 44 tuba-centric concerts (yes, I will always hype the tuba); 87 Messiahs; and an obscene number of Nutcrackers (150, danced and non-). 35 concerts took place on December 8 alone. The LMP website makes all of these concerts easy to find and easier to sort through. It did that for 60,000 people in 2018. For $100, you can cover our website hosting for a year.


I love what we’re doing in the arts community. There’s so much good yet to come. Let’s make it happen!