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Casual Fridays

Looking for a different kind of concert experience? Meet the Casual Friday series.

These lower-priced performances are shorter than typical BSO concerts, with no intermission. You'll get to know the musicians on stage through introductory remarks and a post-concert Casual Conversation, where the performers will take audience questions. Plus, audiences seated in the Tech Section, a rear section of the floor, enjoy Conductor Cam seating; with strategically placed screens, patrons can see the conductor from the orchestra’s perspective.

  • portrait of Emanuel Ax

    Casual Friday: Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts Bartók, Enescu, and Mozart with Emanuel Ax, piano

    Colombian conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada in his BSO debut is joined by American pianist Emanuel Ax for Wolfgang Mozart’s high-spirited Piano Concerto No. 18. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s lurid Miraculous Mandarin Suite and the Romanian French composer George Enescu's folk music-inspired Romanian Rhapsody both make exciting and colorful demands on the orchestra.

    After the performance, Emanuel Ax, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and Director of Program Publications Robert Kirzinger will take questions from the audience. See what else makes this Casual Friday concert special >

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    Oct 14, 2022 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • Portrait of Baiba Skride holding her violin in front of a black background

    Casual Friday: Andris Nelsons conducts Brahms and Shostakovich with Baiba Skride, violin

    Latvian violinist Baiba Skride returns to Symphony Hall for Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 2, written for the great Ukrainian violinist David Oistrakh in 1967. Johannes Brahms’ profound and majestic Fourth Symphony closes the program.

    Hear introductory remarks from principal trombonist Toby Oft before the concert and stay after for a post-show conversation with Director of Program Publications Robert Kirzinger and violinist Baiba Skride.

    Andris Nelsons, conductor
    Baiba Skride, violin

    SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concerto No. 2 (33)

    BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 (42)

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    Jan 27, 2023 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • Andre Raphael in front of a black background

    Casual Friday: André Raphel conducts Still and Caine with the Uri Caine Trio, Barbara Walker, vocalist, and Catto Chorus

    American conductor André Raphel leads this first program in a series exploring complex social issues. The centerpiece of these concerts is Philadelphia jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine’s gospel and popular music-based The Passion of Octavius Catto, which tells of the 19th-century civil rights leader’s fight for justice. In four movements, “Longing,” “Sorrow,” “Humor,” and “Aspiration,” William Grant Still’s 1930 Afro-American Symphony, his best-known work, is a blues-tinged panorama of the composer’s heritage.

    After the performance, Uri Caine and André Raphel will take questions from the audience. See what else makes this Casual Friday concert special >

    Festival: Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope is supported by the generosity of the Elinor V. Crawford Living Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation.

    Support for these performances of “The Passion of Octavius Catto” has been generously provided by Vita L. Weir and Edward Brice, Jr., and Pamela Everhart and Karl Coiscou.

    Andre Raphel, conductor
    Uri Caine Trio
    Uri Caine, piano
    Mike Boone, bass
    Clarence Penn, drums
    Barbara Walker, vocalist
    Catto Chorus

    STILL Symphony No. 1, Afro-American

    Uri CAINE The Passion of Octavius Catto

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    Mar 3, 2023 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • Seong Jin Cho sitting in front of a piano

    Casual Friday: Andris Nelsons conducts Ravel and Stravinsky with Seong-Jin Cho, piano

    Acclaimed South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho returns to Symphony Hall for Maurice Ravel’s Concerto in G, one of the composer’s final works, which ranges from jazzy energy to poignant lyricism. Igor Stravinsky’s 1911 ballet Petrushka, the second of his great trilogy for the Ballets Russes company, depicts the hapless living puppet title character in gloriously scored scenes from a carnival fair.

    Post-Concert speakers: Suzanne Nelsen and Robert Sheena
    Robert Kirzinger, Moderator

    Friday evening’s performance by Seong-Jin Cho is supported by the Nathan R. Miller Family Guest Artist Fund.

    Andris Nelsons, conductor
    Seong-Jin Cho, piano

    RAVEL Piano Concerto in G
    STRAVINSKY Petrushka (1947 version)

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    Apr 28, 2023 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • A headshot of Leonidas Kavakos holding a violin

    Casual Friday: Hannu Lintu conducts Berg and Schumann with Leonidas Kavakos, violin

    Hannu Lintu, conductor
    Leonidas Kavakos, violin

    BERG Violin Concerto
    SCHUMANN Symphony No. 4

    Tanglewood Festival Chorus
     James Burton, conductor

    Roxanna PANUFNIK Love Endureth
    BYRD Ave Verum Corpus
    Roderick WILLIAMS Ave Verum Corpus re-imagined
    THOMPSON The Peaceable Kingdom

    Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu leads the BSO and frequent guest Leonidas Kavakos in Alban Berg’s final finished piece; quoting poignantly from Bach, this haunting 1935 Violin Concerto was written in response to the death of a friend’s daughter. In closing, Robert Schumann’s majestic Symphony No. 4, which draws inspiration from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in its use of recurring musical themes to tie together the work’s four movements.

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    Nov 10, 2023 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • Andris Nelsons conducting with one hand outstretched

    Casual Friday: Andris Nelsons conducts León and Stravinsky

    Andris Nelsons, conductor

    Tania LEÓN Stride
    STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

    Tania León’s Pulitzer Prize-winning piece Stride draws on her Cuban heritage and her long association with dance to create music rich with rhythmic vitality and scintillating instrumental colors. Closing the concert is and one of the most influential pieces in history: Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score The Rite of Spring, a work of primal power.

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    Jan 26, 2024 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • John Storgaards conducting intensely.

    Casual Friday: John Storgårds conducts Tarkiainen, Nielsen, and Sibelius with Pekka Kuusisto, violin

    John Storgårds, conductor
    Pekka Kuusisto, violin

    Outi TARKIAINEN Midnight Sun Variations
    NIELSEN Violin Concerto
    SIBELIUS Tapiola

    Finland and its culture dominate Symphony Hall in this concert. Finnish conductor John Storgårds leads the first in our Music of the Midnight Sun series, an exploration of Nordic storytelling and music. Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen’s vivid soundscapes prove she is a worthy successor to her compatriot Jean Sibelius; her nuanced and colorful Midnight Sun Variations that transport you to her homeland. Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto debuts with the BSO as the orchestra performs the great Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s 1911 Violin Concerto for the first time. The program closes with three of Sibelius’s tone poems based on Finnish legends, their moods ranging from sweeping power to contemplative mystery.

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    Mar 1, 2024 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

  • Clark Rundell sitting on stairs with a big smile

    Casual Friday: A Symphonic Celebration: Jazz Legend Wayne Shorter

    Clark Rundell, conductor
    esperanza spalding, vocalist and bass
    Leo Genovese, piano
    Terri Lyne Carrington, drums
    Dayna Stephens, saxophone

    auseway, Midnight in Carlotta’s Hair, Orbits, Forbidden Plan-iT
    Gaia, for jazz quartet and orchestra

    This tribute concert honors the life and legacy of the great jazz innovator, composer, bandleader, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter who passed away in March 2023. These performances feature five longtime Shorter collaborators in their BSO debuts, including the Grammy Award-winning bassist and vocalist esperanza spalding. spalding wrote the libretto for Shorter’s 2022 opera …(Iphigenia), which was premiered in Boston in 2021 and is based on the ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides.

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    Mar 22, 2024 8:00pm

    Symphony Hall, Boston, MA