Symphony 101: Your Questions Answered

We get it. The Symphony can seem intimidating. Whether it’s your 1st or 100th visit, you are welcome here. Here are some FAQ’s and inside tips from Symphony staff and musicians to make your Phoenix Symphony experience more comfortable.

Have a question that’s not answered here? Send us a message on Facebook or by email!

Before you attend, you might be wondering…

What should I wear to the Symphony?
Do I have to wear a tuxedo or gown? We’re asked this a lot and the answer is NO! This is your experience - dress how you feel comfortable! Typical attire ranges from office casual to evening attire. We also suggest bring a light sweater, coat or wrap as concert venues can be chilly. For fan programs such as Harry Potter, Disney, Star Wars or tribute shows, costumes, cosplay and band shirts are encouraged.

When should I arrive?
The earlier the better! Give yourself enough time to park and pick up your tickets from will call if necessary. For most performances, lobby doors open one hour before the performance begins and seating begins half an hour prior to the first note. This gives you plenty of time to take advantage of lobby activities including step and repeats with photo booths or grab a drink from the bar. You are welcome to enjoy your beverage in your seat!

Please try to arrive on time. Arriving late not only impacts your concert experience but also is very disruptive those already seated. The ushers will have you wait until there is a break between pieces and you can be seated without disturbing other patrons.

Where does The Phoenix Symphony play?
The Phoenix Symphony primarily performs at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, AZ. However, the Symphony also performs in locations throughout Central Arizona, including the Orpheum Theatre, Mesa Arts Center, Musical Instrument Museum, Prescott and more.

How much does a Phoenix Symphony ticket cost?
Tickets to The Phoenix Symphony generally start at $25-99 for most performances. Ticket prices vary depending on the performance, your seating preference and how close to the concert you buy your ticket. Our average ticket price is around $45.

Do I need to know anything about the program?
No, but researching the program (especially for classical concerts) before the concert is a great way to get the most out of your concert experience. Wikipedia is a great resource to get the basics. We will email you the week of the performance with your ticket details along with some extra info about your concert. Once you’re here, the program book is a treasure trove of information about each piece of music and the musicians on stage.

How long will the performance be?
Providing an exact runtime is difficult because each concert is a live and completely unique event, but our Classics, Pops and Special performances typically fall between 2 hour and 15 minutes and 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 20 minute intermission. Concerts featuring films vary depending on the film runtime.

Is special access seating available for those patrons requiring wheelchairs or other special needs?Symphony Hall and Mesa Arts Center have seating available for those patrons requiring wheelchair access or with other special needs. Special access seating should be reserved in advance if at all possible. Call our Patron Services team at 602-495-1999 for details and seat availability.

How can I introduce my child to classical music?
Children 5 years of age and older are welcome at all performances with a purchased ticket, though some children find it difficult to sit still for the length of a full performance.

I purchased tickets but can no longer attend the concert. What should I do?
All ticket sales are final, and no refunds will be issued for tickets. However, we gladly offer free ticket exchanges for our Subscribers (subject to conditions and availability). Single ticket buyers may exchange tickets with payment of $8 exchange fee per ticket. Please note that all ticket exchanges are limited to the current season; tickets for a performance in this year’s season may not be exchanged for tickets to a performance in a future season. Exchanges must be completed at least 1 business day before the scheduled performance.

Exchanges and donations may be made in person at The Phoenix Symphony Box Office or tickets may be cut in half and faxed with payment information to 602-241-5347 or mailed to One North First Street, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Tickets may be exchanged for higher-priced seating by paying the difference in cost. No refunds are given for the difference when the only available tickets are lower-priced. Tickets must be exchanged only through The Phoenix Symphony Box Office. Unused tickets to past concerts cannot be exchanged, donated or refunded.

Once you’re here it’s good to know…

You don’t have to wait in line at the bar!
Did you know that Symphony Hall (and many venues) allow you to pre-order for intermission at the bars and coffee stand? You place and pay for your order and the venue staff will have your items waiting for you at a designated spot. You are welcome to enjoy your beverage in your seat!

You are free to take photo/video all the way up until the start of the performance!
We don't allow videos or photos while the musicians are performing, but we encourage you to record your experience and take advantage of our step-and-repeat with photo booth, Symphony Hall’s unique architectural and lobby features, and your seat/view. You are free to take photo/video all the way up until the start of the performance!

Clapping is appreciated! 
We love and are extremely grateful for an enthusiastic and energetic audience, no matter the piece. We do ask that you hold your applause until the very end of each piece, however.

You'll notice in your program book that many musical works have multiple movements or sections. While a short pause often follows each movement, it is customary to refrain from applauding during these pauses. After the final movement of a work, the conductor will turn around, a sure sign that it's time to applaud. If all else fails, you can always wait for the rest of the audience to begin clapping!

Phones are distracting.
Think movie theater etiquette. Noise and light from phones and mobile devices can disrupt those around you during a performance, so please take a moment to turn off your phone and put it in a purse or pocket while the musicians are playing.

Silence is golden!
Please be courteous to patrons and performers by refraining from talking or other audible disturbances while the concert is in progress. Symphony Hall is designed to carry sound far and wide. Even a whisper to your neighbor or date can be heard several rows away! Please save your talk for intermission or after the concert. Please turn off cell phones, pagers, and watch alarms or set to vibrate upon entering the theatre.

Coughing is an unavoidable problem. There's nothing wrong with getting up and excusing yourself from the theatre if you need to.

Most concerts include a 20-minute intermission.
Plenty of time to use the restroom, stretch your legs, pick up a drink or skim through your program to prepare for the second half.

We are always here to help!
Symphony staff and ushers are available on site to help answer questions that come up. If you have questions before your performance, reach out to our Patron Services team by calling 602-495-1999 or email info@phoenixsymphony.org.

Enjoy your performance! We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Symphony Hall!