CSO Launches Online Magazine

Mike Lawson • News • December 17, 2013

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First Brand Journalism Site by a Major American Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has launched CSO Sounds & Stories (http://www.cso.org/soundsandstories), an online multimedia magazine designed to enhance the concert-going experience and to bring the CSO closer to music lovers worldwide. Integrating audio and video recordings with original, high-quality content created by professional writers, the site previews coming programs, features articles and audio/video clips about music director Riccardo Muti, CSO musicians and visiting artists and includes program notes about the season’s concerts, festivals, and themes.

“CSO Sounds & Stories, an extremely ambitious and rewarding project, allows us to communicate directly with people around the world, providing them with a convenient way to learn more about classical music, musicians, composers and conductors while also enjoying the inspired music making of our world-renowned music director and orchestra and the guest artists we host each year,” said Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. “CSO Sounds & Stories brings together all of our varied media content to create an integrated digital presence.”

“To the best of our knowledge, with CSO Sounds & Stories, the CSO becomes the first major American orchestra to have a dedicated music journalism site,” said Philip Koester, vice president, sales and marketing, for the CSO. “We are responding to changes in media consumption behavior and shifts in the media landscape, which have especially affected arts and music journalism. Since publications now have fewer resources to devote to the arts, it is more difficult for the CSO to obtain media coverage, especially previews of coming programs. Therefore, we are using brand journalism and content marketing to tell our stories.” An extension of the CSO’s main site, cso.org, CSO Sounds & Stories replaces the Listen & Watch section of cso.org. The site functions effectively on mobile phones, tablets and computers. It will be full of timely, wide-ranging articles combined with contemporary, integrated delivery of streaming audio and video. Content will be promoted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media applications. Moreover, current social media sites, such as the blog of the CSO archivist, are now integrated with CSO Sounds & Stories.

 “Whether or not the users of the site attend concerts at Symphony Center, CSO Sounds & Stories will deepen their knowledge of the music – from CSO concerts to our Jazz Series to MusicNOW – as well as the stories behind the music. The site will also offer ideas for becoming more engaged with the CSO and the many ways we serve people in greater Chicago and around the globe,” Rutter said. For instance, the site also will feature the CSO’s innovative family, community and education programs, including its Citizen Musician Initiative, and ideas for how people worldwide might participate. 

As evidence of its commitment to high-quality journalism, earlier this year the CSO hired arts editor Laura Emerick to serve as the editor of the site. At the Chicago Sun-Times, Emerick served as film critic Roger Ebert’s editor for 20 years, was the paper’s classical music editor and also wrote about arts and culture.

CSO Sounds & Stories is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. Generous support for Sounds & Stories also is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation.

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