Surprise& by Chester Lane Armed with new research on donor motivation and subscriber behavior, orchestras are turning their attention to newcomers in their audience— and finding that unexpected rewards breed loyalty and increased commitment. F or the whole month of October last fall, patrons arriving at Avery Fisher Hall for a concert by the New York Philharmonic discovered envelopes taped to the backs of certain seats—white rectangles scattered throughout the hall in what appeared to be a random pattern. If one of these seats happened to be theirs, they would open the envelope to find a coupon good for half the price of the orchestra’s latest CD, a recording of Carl Nielsen’s Symphonies 2 and 3 under the baton of Music Director Alan Gilbert. Also in the envelope was a personalized note from a Philharmonic musician, complete with that individual’s photo. Depending on the patron’s status, the note thanked them for their subscription purchase, or acknowledged that they were a first-year subscriber, or expressed 44 Chicago Symphony ticketing representative Arif Negiz surprised a patron in December with Traditions and Transformations, a CSO Resound release featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Wu Man, and the Silk Road Ensemble.