The views of audience members on their listening experiences are rarely heard in the research literature, although much speculation occurs on their roles and perspectives. This article reports on an investigation of audience experiences at a chamber music festival, and examines the ways in which social and musical enjoyment interact to generate commitment and a sense of involvement in the event. Audience members’ anxieties for the future of classical music listening are discussed, and recommendations made for research and practice that could recognize more effectively the central role of the listener in contemporary musical life.

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