The first BSO performance took place in the Old Boston Music Hall, under the baton of Georg Henschel, more than 100 years ago. In 1900 the orchestra moved to Symphony Hall, where it still performs today and is the largest (based on budget) professional orchestra in the United States.
Since 2001, Maestro James Levine has led the BSO as its music director. His programs include a wide range of classical, opera, and contemporary repertoire. Under his direction, the BSO has commissioned works from many of the best-known American composers of today, such as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, Peter Lieberson, and Charles Wuorinen.
In 1888 the BSO launched its first concerts for young people, which were revived in 1959 by Harry Ellis Dickson and are still an important part of the BSO today. There are many other educational outreach programs. The Concerti Club membership offers family concerts and events. The BSO Kids’ Club includes access to special members only activities on family concert days, along with Backstage Pass mailings with special Kids’ Club news, games, and fun facts. The Young Musician’s Card allows high-school students to enjoy up to 19 concerts for only $15; the College Card program, a $25 membership, grants 100+ tickets to members for 25 pre-determined concerts on a first-come first-serve basis; and Repartee, a musical enthusiasts group for 21–40 year olds, allows members $40 concert tickets along with invitations to pre-concert receptions and lectures. There’s even Bolero, a group for singles over 40 that also offers pre-concert receptions and lectures.
Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Information
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by Green and Orange Lines and bus)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: 250+ performances given annually
- Ticket Prices: $29–$115, depending on seat location and day of week. Discounts for students. Groups of 25 or more receive discounts to most concerts; 5% on Saturday evenings, 10% all other concerts, 20% on Chamber Players, 10% on Open Rehearsals. A limited number of $9 Rush tickets for BSO concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons are set aside to be sold on the day of the performance. Tickets to Open Rehearsals are offered at a discounted price and are priced for general admittance. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets are $19
- Subscriptions: Subscription packages are offered based on day-of- week performance selection, type of music desired, variety of programs, and so on. Ticket insurance and reserved parking (for a fee) are also included as part of the BSO’s Patron Privilege program
- Membership: Donors who give $75 or more become members of the Friends of the BSO. Those who give $3,000 or more become members of the Higginson Society. Benefits begin with discounts at the Symphony Shop, a monthly newsletter, and admission to BSO or Pops working rehearsal and reception
- Other Benefits: Invitations to special receptions, lunches, dinners, July 3 boat cruise, reserved seating for July 3 Esplanade Concert, opportunity to travel with the BSO
- Other Activities for groups (children/students/singles): Numerous programs and discounts are offered for elementary-school-aged children, primary-school-aged children and their families, as well as college students.