Classical Music for $0-$20: New England Edition

SunflowerWhen you’re a student, it’s hard to see classical music. You have to find a concert that fits your schedule, sometimes on short notice, persuade someone to come with you, (if you don’t have a lot of friends who love classical music), and, hardest of all, keep the whole night inside your budget.

Good news: I’ve been scouring the internet looking for deals in the Northeast – and there are a lot of them. In New England, with summer music festival season upon us, concerts are more informal, and generally, cheaper. There are plenty of ways to see some classical music for $20 or less. Here are some ideas to get you started.
-Lily Kaiser

Tanglewood (All Summer Long): $0-$20
Lenox, MA
Although the most expensive tickets for this famous summer music festival can top $100, Tanglewood offers discounted rates for younger concert-goers. This year, for the first time, kids under 17 get free lawn tickets, and college and graduate students can get Friday evening lawn tickets for half-price: $4.50. (Even if you can’t go on a Friday evening, lawn ticket prices rarely get over $20). If you’re up for a less formal concert experience, grab your student ID and a fiver, (or just look like you’re under 17), and spend a Friday night at Tanglewood for the cost of a bottle of water at a movie theater.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra (July 15-September 9): $0
Boston, MA
In 2001, Charles Ansbacher founded the Boston Landmarks Orchestra to make high-quality classical music available to anyone. Every Wednesday in the summer, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra puts on a free concert at the Hatch Shell. There is also a “Neighborhood Concert” series that performs in other venues, and concerts specifically for kids. There’s no excuse not to go!

Student Rush (Year-Round): $20
Boston, MA
This special deal for students comes with plenty of strings attached, but if you manage to score tickets, you get into a performance at one of Boston’s best venues for $20! The deal applies to concerts at Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, the Opera House, Citi Wang Theater, the Berklee Performance Center, and the Sanders Theater. Here’s what you have to do: show up in person at the box office on the day of the concert, during specific hours listed on the Student Rush website, bring your student ID, and pay in cash. Student Rush tickets are strictly determined by availability, so it’s hit-or-miss. Luckily, the program has a special mailing list to notify students when an opportunity is coming up. It’s definitely worth a try.

Yellow Barn Music Festival (June 21-August 8): $0-$18
Putney, VT
Events at this summer-long music celebration range from free (child performers) to $40 (the July 18th 40th anniversary performance), but there are plenty of concerts in between. Master classes are $10, with the likes of pianist Gilbert Kalish, Donald Weilerstein, Steven Doane, Roger Tapping, and Paul Katz. “Festival Concerts” hover around $20, sometimes preceded by a free discussion with the night’s performers at the Putney Public Library.

Marlboro Music (July 18-August 16): $15
Marlboro College, VT
The good news is, cheap tickets to this renowned music festival are $15 (and the most expensive seats are only $35). But according to New England Travel Planner, Marlboro College’s auditorium only seats 700 people, so tickets get snapped up fast! Seats in an “outdoor, canopied area” go for $5, and student discounts may be available if you call them up. The festival has hosted some big names in the past, including Joshua Bell, Yo Yo Ma, Pablo Casals, James Levine, Jonathan Bliss and Gilbert Kalish.

Bay Chamber Concerts Summer Music Festival (July and August): $8
Camden, ME
Every concert in the festival, even their opening night featuring Shmuel Ashkenasi and Joseph Silverstein and the star-studded season finale, is $8 for those 18 and under. There are also a few free concerts, featuring the Bay Chamber’s Young Stars of Maine on July 10, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra on July 21 (outdoors – the website says picnics are encouraged), and the Members of the Bay Chamber’s Next Generation program. Before every performance at the Rockport Opera House, a free pre-concert talk allows performers to interact with the audience. Unfortunately, tickets for those 18 and over are $25-35.

Check back every few weeks for classical music deals in another area of the country! Next time: Midwest.