Etiquette

Symphony Hall offers concertgoers a unique opportunity to experience the power and passion of live music in a world-renowned setting.
The following information will enhance your visit and help to ensure that all patrons enjoy the concert experience to the fullest.

Most of the information below pertains to classical music performances. For Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops concerts, the program book contains additional information.

Some performances may have additional or different guidelines. For outside events (non-BSO, non-Pops), please contact the concert promoter for more information.


Curtain Times and Planning You Arrival
BSO evening concerts at Symphony Hall begin at 8:00 p.m.; doors open 60 minutes prior to concert time. Afternoon concerts begin at 1:30 p.m.; doors open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch and 12:30 p.m. for the concert.

Boston Pops concerts at Symphony Hall begin at 8:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday; doors open one hour before concert time. Holiday Pops times may vary.

Outside performances (non-BSO, non-Pops) begin at various times. Doors generally open one hour prior to concert time; however, please check with the concert promoter for specific times. Some Handel & Haydn Society performances include pre-concert lectures, which typically start 90 minutes before concert time.

Patrons should arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the performance to allow ample time to use the Hall's facilities, find seats, and settle in for the performance.
Attire
While there is no dress code for Boston Symphony and Boston Pops performances, on particular occasions, such as Opening Night at Symphony and Opening Night at Pops formal attire is requested.  Typically weeknights are business attire and attendance on weekend nights are a little dressier. Of course, any time you visit the Symphony part of the allure and pleasure is an opportunity to dress up.  But we invite you to wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
Late Seating
Late seating will take place during the first convenient pause in the program
During the Performance
Once a concert is underway, we request that you do not talk, whisper, sing, hum, move personal belongings and turn your cell phone to silent (not vibrate). These protocols will ensure that you, other patrons, and the performers enjoy the full benefits of the performance. Patrons should also refrain from entering and exiting the hall while a performance is in progress. Ushers are stationed at entrances and exits. If you must leave your seat, please proceed quickly and quietly to the nearest door, or ask the nearest usher for assistance.

During Boston Pops performances, with cabaret-style seating with food service available at tables on the Orchestra level, we try to keep noise to a minimum. To this end, the wait staff does not serve during solo performances. It is advisable to place orders before the concert starts, during intermission, or during segments of the program not featuring a soloist.
Electronic Devices
Noise-alarm devices such as cellular phones, beepers, watches, electronic organizers should be in silent mode .
Applause
Please applaud only at the close of a full piece of music. The program page, which lists individual movements of longer compositions, and the program notes can help you follow the orchestra's progress through each piece and determine the appropriate moments to applaud. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Program Notes
For information on a particular concert, please see the program notes found in the program book and on the BSO website, where you can also find podcasts offering brief concert previews. The notes provide background on the composers, the composition process, the story behind the music, previous performances, and highlight significant passages or instruments.

Note: Program notes are not always provided for outside events at Symphony Hall. For more information about program notes for such events, please contact the concert promoter.
During Intermission
During intermission, patrons may visit the Symphony Shop in the Cohen Wing, use the hall's facilities, or enjoy beverages in the lounge areas of Symphony Hall. No food or beverage is allowed inside the auditorium of the hall during Boston Symphony concerts. During Pops concerts, food and beverage service is available at table seating on the orchestra level.
Cameras/Recording Equipment
Camera and recording equipment are prohibited in Symphony Hall during concerts.
Children at Symphony Hall
Children five years and older may attend Boston Symphony and Boston Pops concerts. Youth and Family Concerts are intended for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Children of any age may attend Holiday Pops matinee performances.
Smoking
Smoking is prohibited in Symphony Hall.