Posts Tagged: question


Last week, fancychickens asked a question about how to decide which concert to attend. I’ve been asking around for other opinions; here’s one great response I received from Tyler, in our box office (links and emphasis are mine): 

Another good response may be to just pick a random concert. Part of the fun of learning about classical music is just discovering through experience. Beethoven was new once; someone had to take a risk, go to a concert, and make a decision. I think the most important thing is to feel empowered. As with wine and food only you know what you like. Your tastes and preferences will evolve as you learn more and attend more concerts. It’s a good opportunity to plug Classical Conversations, too.

It may be a good idea to start with names you recognize (Beethoven or  Mozart) and go to those concerts. You’ll be sure to hear something with broad appeal and usually there’s something completely different on the program that will expose you to something you’ve never heard of.

Don’t be afraid to call the box office and ask a [Customer Service Representative]. Most of us have music degrees, teach music, and really love this stuff and would love to advise based on your experience or lack of.

Go to concerts with parties—College Nite, Encore Events, MAC events—going to a concert can be just one part of a fun evening out. You can meet new people, guest artists, etc. 

  • Question: I haven't been to a classical concert since a field trip in fifth grade. I'm interested in going now, so how do I decide which concert to attend? - fancychickens
  • Answer:

    Aah! Such a big and delicious question! (And one I’ve struggled with too.) 

    In the interest of brevity, I’m going to oversimplify but I’ll come back to this in the future. Here are two suggestions I have: 

    1. At least with the CSO, the season is broken into series. We have three: Masterworks, Boundless and Ascent, and each is meant to cater to showcase different kinds of classical music. Masterworks focuses on the timeless classics; Boundless is about discovering new music and is often where you’ll see work by living composers; Ascent is built around “a night on the town” and often has a superstar soloist. Again I’m oversimplifying but it’s a great place to start. I will come back and cover our Creative Directors in another post. 

    2. Figure out your instrument(s). This may be a very obvious statement for someone who studied music, but I didn’t. If there is an instrument that speaks to you, that narrows down the selection immensely. Almost every concert (of ours) has a piece featuring a soloist. The big two are piano and violin, but in 2012-13 we also have vocal concerts, percussion, alto sax, and a couple of others. If you’re into cello there are also two opportunities in our remaining season, including a world premiere of a Philip Glass cello concerto

  • Question: Can you recommend an internet radio station? I have 0 eduction but figure I've got to start listening somewhere to find what I like. - lindstifa
  • Answer:

    Please don’t hate me, but someone at work pointed me toward this site and it’s actually not a bad primer if you’re just looking for basics. :) 

    One of the (awesome) guys in our box office recommends WQXR’s Q2 series, which plays “a really excellent mix” of “living” classical— “stuff being written now or in recent memory.”

    I would also be totally remiss if I didn’t mention Cincinnati’s WGUC! I listen there a lot, and when I hear something I like, I plug it in as a (or Pandora, or etc) channel.

  • Question: Are the musicians full time or do they have the equivalent of day jobs -- like the old school NFL? - chuckbowen
  • Answer:

    The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a “52-week orchestra,” as I’ve heard it called. We keep them very busy ourselves (23 symphony weekends and 9 Pops weekends this season, plus many other community concerts, family concerts, etc etc), but they are also the orchestra for the Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Opera. This is not the case for all orchestras. 

    That being said, some of the musicians hold additional jobs, such as teaching gigs at CCM (the College-Conservatory of Music). 

    Thanks for the question. :) Let me know if I didn’t answer it to your satisfaction.