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Get Casual with the Boston Symphony This Friday Night

Thursday Nov 1, 2018
Boston music director Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Boston music director Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  (Source:BSO)

Leaving Symphony Hall on Halloween night following a screening of "Psycho" that was accompanied by the Boston Pops, it was refreshing to see the audience was made up of a crowd that was largely under the age of 35. Often concerts in the hall are attended by an older demographic, but with adventurous programming the Boston Symphony (which the Pops is part of) is finding a younger audience so crucial for symphonic music's survival in the 21st century.

Perhap the best example of this programming is the Casual Fridays series — four evening concerts throughout the season that offer a slightly altered program at a lower price with social events preceding and following. Having attended them for the past few years, they are a wonderful way for the casual (or not so casual) concertgoer to enjoy this world-class orchestra in one of the world's greatest concert halls.

The first Casual Friday concert of this season takes place on Friday, November 3 at 8pm at Symphony Hall with music director Andris Nelsons conducting a program of two works — Haydn's Symphony No. 93 and Elgar's Enigma Variations. (For more on this Casual Friday concert, follow this link.)

What adds to the casual nature of these concerts are the pre-concert remarks by a member of the orchestra, which help break down the fourth wall between the audience and the orchestra. This Friday's pre-concert remarks from the stage will be by BSO trombonist, Stephen Lange.

You can come early and enjoy a drink at one of the hall's cash bars. Plus you can choose Conductor Cam seating, which allows patrons to watch the conductor from the orchestra's perspective. Afterward, attend the post-concert reception, where you can mingle with other concertgoers while enjoying live music, snacks and a cash bar.

You can also do something usually forbidden at symphony concerts: use your smartphone. That is if you sit in the Conductor Cam seating. According to the BSO, "ConcertCue is a mobile web application that streams synchronized program notes during a live musical performance. These program notes include text, images, and other rich media, precisely timed to important events in the music itself. The goal is to help audience members better appreciate and understand the music they hearing."

For more on the Boston Symphony, visit the orchestra's website.

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