What do you mean by a concert 'season'?
A concert season runs from September-June/July, rather like the academic year. During July and August the Orchestra is usually touring and appearing at festivals so does not perform at the Royal Festival Hall or in Leicester or Bedford. The Philharmonia Orchestra’s London concert season is divided into two halves – Autumn/Winter (September – January/February) and Spring/Summer (February/March – July).
What is subscription?
A subscription is a package of 3 or more concerts in one venue which is booked at the same time. Booking 3 or more events in one transaction usually entitles you to ticket discounts (for example, if you book for 3 or more of our Royal Festival Hall concerts you receive discounts ranging from 10-30%). Find out more about booking a subscription.
How will I know where to go when I get to the concert hall?
When you arrive at the hall there will be friendly stewards, venue staff and members of the Philharmonia Orchestra staff who will be able to show you where to go.
What time do I need to get there?
The doors to the concert hall will open around half an hour before the concert starts. If you need to pick up your tickets from the box office you may need to arrive a little earlier.
What happens if I am late?
Latecomers are usually admitted after the first piece of music (or section of a longer piece). You may not be able to sit in your actual seat until after the interval.
How many musicians will I hear?
There are 90 members of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Not all of them play in every piece of music that we perform, and for some very big pieces there will be as many as 120 musicians on the platform.
How can I find out more about the musicians in the Orchestra and the instruments they play?
You can check the list of all the players in the Philharmonia Orchestra and read their biographies, see their photos and read interviews with them here. If you would like to contact any of the players you can send us an email and we will forward it to the right person for you.
What does the conductor do?
The conductor does two main things. He/she helps each player to know when he or she needs to play in a piece of music, and how fast or slow they need to play their part. He/she also decides how each part of the music should “feel” – whether it should be tragic or light-hearted, dance-like or slow and measured.
Why does one violinist in the orchestra come onto the platform after all the others?
The violinist who sits at the front nearest the conductor - on the left hand side as you look at the orchestra – is called the Orchestra Leader, or Concert Master. His or her role is to guide all the strings in the orchestra, who have to play together for most of the time. At the beginning of the concert, before the conductor comes onto the platform, he or she will help the orchestra members to tune their instruments, section by section.
How will I know when to clap?
People usually clap at the very end of a piece of music rather than at the end of a section. So if in your programme it looks as though the piece has four movements, then everyone will clap at the end of the fourth movement. If in doubt you are probably best to wait until everyone else claps!
What should I wear for the concert?
Many people do wear smart clothes for concerts, perhaps because they are coming from work or are planning to have a meal out afterwards. However, there is no formal dress code and you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in – some of the audience will certainly be wearing jeans or trainers!
Will the concert be suitable for my children or grandchildren?
We have special Family Music Days in Leicester and Bedford which are specially planned as an introduction to classical music for 5-11 year olds. Our main evening concerts are certainly suitable for 11-18 year olds, and some programmes can be enjoyed by younger children, if you feel that they would be interested. Our popular programme of Sunday matinee concerts at the Royal Festival Hall are also programmed to suit older family audiences.
How do I find out about disabled access at the Royal Festival Hall?
The Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Festival Hall welcome people with disabilities and provide a wide range of facilities. For further information please call the Southbank Centre Access Line on 0871 663 2587 or visit http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/visitor-info/access.
How do I find out about more concerts?
There is lots of information in the Concerts section of this website about forthcoming concerts. If you would like to receive regular email updates about concerts from us, please click here to join our free e-newsletter list. To receive brochures and information by post, click here.