For years now, the word on the street has been that the increasing age of concertgoers means classical music is doomed. But what do the statistics tell us?

So are classical music audiences actually getting older?

In a word, yes. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal a steady rise in the proportion of 65-74 year-olds attending classical music concerts. In 2005-06, 11.8 per cent of people in this age group attended classical concerts. By 2009-10, this had increased to 13.6 per cent. In comparison, just 6.1 per cent of 25-34 year-olds attended classical concerts in 2009-10, down from 7 per cent in 2005-6.

Why aren’t young people going out to the concert hall anymore?

The dearth of young people in concert halls may be a symptom of a wider malaise: classical music audiences are in decline. In Australia, the audience figures make for sobering reading. Classical music attendance dropped 9.4 per cent between 2004 and 2010, according to industry body Live Performance Australia.

Does this mean classical music will eventually have no audience?

Greg Sandow, an American music critic and composer, says that some commentators, wondering whether anyone in the next generation will still listen to classical music, look...