For all things musical, Boston truly is a hub. The city features historic Symphony Hall, home of the world-renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra for more than a century. Around the corner, visitors will find two of the country’s most prestigious music schools: New England Conservatory and Berklee School of Music. Combine that with dozens of smaller concerts halls, a bustling modern music scene, and a vibrant population of young musicians and you’ll find it tough to leave your auditorium seat.
Stylistically, classical music in Boston is a true merger of the old and the new. Its impressive history – more than 100 years of BSO performances at Symphony Hall, along with NEC’s status as the country’s oldest independent music school – blends seamlessly with an ever-evolving community of contemporary college musicians and recent graduates, creating a cutting-edge style rooted in traditional convention.
So how easy is it to take advantage of all this music? At heart, Boston is a college town, and one of the best deals is the BSO’s College Card. If you’re a student, just pay $25 for the card, and you can claim tickets to as many shows at Symphony Hall as you want for that season (barring some blacked-out dates). For the young at heart, you can claim rush tickets the day of concerts, often for under $30. Beyond that, NEC hosts a number of student recitals and chamber concerts at their famous Jordan Hall, many of which boast free admission. Don’t be afraid to explore the colleges and see what the up-and-coming instrumentalists have to offer.
We’ve taken the liberty of dividing our Boston classical music listings into three subcategories for easier browsing:
- Orchestras: Longstanding Boston institutions: the BSO, the Boston Civic Symphony, and the Boston Pops, among others.
- Chamber Music and Choruses: Smaller, more intimate vocal and instrumental ensembles; note that Boston has a particularly strong early music scene.
- Music Institutes: Berklee and the New England Conservatory, of course, but also the Boston Conservatory.
Whether you choose to invest in prime orchestra seats at Thursday night BSO performances, or just walk down Huntington taking in the sounds of NEC students warming up in their dormitories, you’ll find that downtown Boston caters to any classical music enthusiast. (Jason Schneider)