FIRST TIMER'S GUIDE
What can I expect?
Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about classical music. Come with an open mind and allow the conductor and musicians to take you on a journey.
How can I find out more about the music?
Our free Pre-Concert Talks are helmed by music specialists, and take place from 6.30pm to 7pm for many of our subscription and gala concerts. You can also read our programme notes in the concert programme which is given out free at the door. You are welcome to make a donation to help defray our printing costs.
What should I wear?
Dress codes are not enforced at SSO concerts. Most patrons turn up in business attire or smart casual outfits – which means no shorts, singlets or slippers. Formal dress can be worn to special gala performances.
Can I take pictures?
Recordings and photography of any kind are not permitted during most SSO performances. However we welcome the use of non-flash photography at concerts such as Babies' Proms, Children's Concerts and Pops Concerts, where we are able to obtain artist approval.
Can I take my child?
It is never too early for the young ones to start enjoying classical music! However we do ask that they do not talk, fidget or distract other audience members. Younger children under 6 years of age are not admitted into the concert hall, except for selected performances such as Babies’ Proms and Concerts for Children.
SSO concerts begin promptly at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated. Latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break (which may be the intermission). Patrons who leave the hall before or during a performance cannot be reseated until the performance of that particular piece of music is over. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the concert begins, to ensure you have ample time to find your seat.
What about other noises – coughing & mobile phones?
Coughing, talking and noise from sweet wrappers and plastic bags can cause disturbance to the performers on stage and interfere with audience enjoyment. If you are in the middle of the concert and start to cough, please try to muffle the cough in a handkerchief or in a louder section of the music. Mobile phones and alarm watches must be silenced during a performance, and you should check again after the intermission that these are turned off.
When should I applaud?
The audience normally applauds when the Concertmaster comes on stage, and then again when the conductor and soloist(s) enter. After that, you may applaud at the end of each work, or when the conductor turns to you and bows, to show your appreciation.
Some longer works may have several sections known as movements, separated by a brief, silent pause: usually the audience applauds only at the end of the entire work. If you are unsure, you can wait for the conductor to turn to the audience, or check the concert programme to see how many movements there are.
Meet the performers and offer your personal compliments at the autograph session. Please wait patiently in line and be considerate to those waiting by keeping your conversation with the performers brief.
The SSO store is located outside Door 1 (Level 1) at the Esplanade Concert Hall and Door 1 (Level 2) at the Victoria Concert Hall. A wide range of SSO recordings, artist CDs and other attractive SSO memorabilia such as kids’ tees and tote bags, is available for purchase. We are open before and after most performances, and during intermission.