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The IDEA Study - Phase 1, 2023 Orchestra Cohort

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Welcome to the IDEA Study Phase 1, Orchestra Cohort!

Please bookmark this page, as it is not publicly accessible.  

This page contains key information about the study for participating organizations. Here’ you’ll be able to access recordings of online sessions in the archive section at the bottom of the page and other survey resources as they become available.

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Cohort Membership  

The following organizations have opted into this cohort:

  • Allentown Symphony Association

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

  • Boston Symphony Orchestra

  • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Charlotte Symphony

  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • The Cleveland Orchestra

  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra

  • Houston Symphony

  • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

  • LA Phil

  • Madison Symphony Orchestra

  • New World Symphony

  • New York Philharmonic

  • Omaha Symphony  

  • Orchestra Lumos  

  • Pacific Symphony  

  • Philadelphia Orchestra  

  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  

  • Richmond Symphony  

  • San Diego Symphony  

  • San Francisco Symphony  

  • South Bend Symphony Orchestra  

  • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra  

  • Symphony New Hampshire  

  • Wichita Symphony  

  • Winston-Salem Symphony 




  • All orchestras send emails requesting cooperation with the survey on Tuesday, April 11. 

  • All orchestras send reminder emails on Friday, April 14; the survey closes at 11:59 pm PDT on April 17.  




Deployment Logistics Session

  • Topic: We will cover list selection criteria and email deployments. This session is your chance to ask questions about the details of deployment.

  • Date: Monday, March 27, 2023 (45 min)

A link to the recording of this session (and all future sessions) will be added to the bottom of this page shortly afterwards. 

Required Preparation: 

Read the sampling plan, below, and query your database to see what counts you have for each of the three categories/samples. Once you’ve assessed your counts, complete the sampling form to report your counts to WolfBrown. We need this information to calculate response rates.   

Recommended Email Language:   

Sampling Plan: 

Participating orchestras will send out email messages requesting cooperation with the survey using a stratified sampling approach described below. Each orchestra must advise WolfBrown as to their sampling plan (i.e., the number of email addresses within each of the three categories or “samples” to which they’ll send messages).    

  • Sample 1: Diverse Programs  Individual ticket buyers to programs intended for culturally diverse audiences, typically featuring non-classical or hybrid musical styles or observing special events (e.g., jazz or gospel music concerts, Día de los Muertos concerts, Lunar New Year concerts)   

    • Quantity:  minimum count of 500 emails; no maximum   

  • Sample 2: Diverse Artists/Composers  Individual ticket buyers to classical programs featuring diverse guest artists and/or conductors and/or repertoire; in this case the diversity should be a defining or primary feature of the program (e.g., a concert of works by Florence Price), on the theory that these programs might attract a somewhat more diverse audience  

    • Quantity:  minimum count of 500 emails; no maximum  

  • Sample 3: General Programming  Natural mix of subscribers and individual ticket buyers to classical and pops concerts, randomly selected, then purged of Samples 1 and 2   

    • Quantity:  minimum of 1,000 and maximum of 10,000 (shoot for at least 3,000, if possible)  

Generally, we suggest a look-back period of transaction activity from 9/1/2020 to the present date. Smaller orchestras might extend the look-back period to 9/1/2019.    

If you are unable to achieve the 500 minimum count of records for Sample 1, consolidate Sample 1 into Sample 2. If you are unable to achieve the 500 minimum count of records for Sample 2, consolidate all emails into Sample 3. Thus, some orchestras will only send messages to one or two samples/lists.  

WolfBrown will provide you with three different hyperlinks to the survey corresponding to each of the three samples, along with suggested language for the email messages. 

As a point of information, in our pilot test with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra response rates ranged from 5% to 10% across the three samples. Two emails were sent, an initial message and a second reminder message four days after the first one. The reminder message generated an additional 25% to 35% of all responses.



Download and review the protocol
IDEA Study Orch Cohort Protocol v16 FINAL
Download PDF • 356KB

  • Familiarize your team with the survey protocol  

  • We strongly encourage staff and board members of participating orchestras, especially those serving on an EDI committee, to take the online survey as part of your preparatory efforts. WolfBrown will provide the liaisons from your organization with survey links on March 28. The liaisons should first test the survey themselves, and then share one of the links with board and staff members who are tracking on this project, so that everyone has a chance to familiarize themselves with the survey.   

  • Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, it is likely that staff and/or board members will receive strongly positive or strongly negative feedback about the survey from a small number of ticket buyers, and we urge you to prepare for that eventuality by getting everyone on the same page as to what the survey covers and why the resultant information will be helpful to your orchestra.  

  • The protocol was designed by the WolfBrown team over the past six months, reviewed by outside experts, and tested for face validity in focus group discussions with patrons of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Numerous improvements were made based on this input. The modified survey protocol was then deployed to a large number of Detroit Symphony Orchestra ticket buyers in each of the three samples, which resulted in nearly 1,000 completes. Several more refinements were made after the DSO pilot. The survey is lengthy, but skip logic is used to shorten the length whenever possible.  

  • All survey respondents, after completing the survey, will be invited to opt-in to Audience Outlook Monitor’s National Panel.