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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we’re asked most often. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if this doesn’t address your particular question, just write to and we’ll do our best to provide a quick answer!

How should I dress?

We want you to enjoy the music; therefore, your level of comfort is the most important thing when attending a concert. So dress to suit your comfort level. Some audience members will wear more formal attire. Others will be much more casual. Ties, jeans, jackets, polo shirts are all okay.

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When should I arrive for the performance?

Twenty minutes before the concert begins is a good idea. That will give you plenty of time to have some refreshments (food and beverages are not allowed in the Concert Hall), turn off your cell phone and/or beeper, make a pit stop (as you are facing the Concert Hall, the Women's Room is to the left and the Men's Room to the right), show your ticket to the usher, find your seat, and read the program.

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May I take pictures or record the concert?

This is the easiest answer of all. Nope! There are union rules against it, copyright issues and it distracts others in the audience.

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How long is a typical performance?

Although concert length varies, most performances are about two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

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Can I leave during the performance?

In the case of an emergency, you may certainly leave The Concert Hall as quietly as possible. Otherwise, out of respect for the musicians and your fellow concert-goers, please remain in your seat until the work has finished.

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Can I bring my children to the concert?

Definitely! We offer discounts for full-time students. Kids are welcome FREE at our February Friends and Family event.

However, small children may have a hard time sitting through a 2 hour concert. A good alternative might be attending an Open Rehearsal on the Sunday morning of a concert weekend. Open Rehearsals are free and open to the public and you may come and go as you like. So, when the kids get fidgety, you can take them into the lobby or backstage for a few minutes and then go back in to hear more music. See others options for kids on our Phil Family page.

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How can I learn more about the Philharmonic and the music that is being played?

The best place to look for this kind of information is in the program notes, (we mentioned these above), located in the program distributed by the ushers just prior to the concert. Details about what will be performed in upcoming concerts can also be found on our website and in our newsletter. To join our mailing list to receive newsletters and event info, please click here.

You may also attend our Pre-Concert events prior to the many performances. These events are free to ticket holders and often feature a lecture/discussion or mini-performance related to the music being performed.

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Why does the size of the orchestra change at each concert, or even during the parts of a concert?

Many long-time concert-goers don’t know the answer to this question. After reading this you’ll be ahead of the curve! Here’s the answer: Music that was composed (written) for the orchestra during the 1700’s is different from the music that is being written today. During the time when Mozart was writing music in the 1770’s and 80’s, the orchestra was much smaller, in fact a number of our modern instruments didn’t even exist at that time. So, in order to perform the music in the same way it would have been performed in the 1770’s, we use a smaller orchestra, with only the instruments that Mozart would have written for. Musicologists (those who study music), call this performance practice, which means performing the music authentically or as closely to the way it would have been performed when it was written. So, when you notice that the orchestra is particularly small, or particularly large, check the program notes in your program book and see when the music was written; that should give you a clue as to why.

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Why does the orchestra perform new or contemporary music? Can’t we just hear the classics all the time?

Many of us certainly enjoy a concert of familiar favorites, works with a melody that we can hum such as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. But how does a classic become a classic? It has to be performed over and over and over, until it becomes part of our cultural memory. Did you know, however, that Tchaikovsky’s friend, the famous pianist Nikolay Rubenstein, refused to perform his Piano Concerto No. 1 because he said it was “unplayable” and “ill-composed.” When Stravinsky’s famous work, The Rite of Spring, was premiered in Paris, there were riots in the concert hall. New music doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s important that it be written and performed as a part of our cultural heritage and memory.

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Again, if we haven’t answered your question please let us know by emailing
or call (914) 682-3707

How should I dress?
How long is a typical performance?
Can i bring my children to the concert?
How can I learn more about the phil
Why does the size of the orchestra change?
Orchestra perform new or ...
When should i arrive?
Can i Leave during the performance?
May I take pictures?
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