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NY Phil offers $5 tickets to NY service providers

February 14, 2018 by norman lebrecht

18 comments.


The most revlutionary element of the New York Philharmonic’s new season is a $5 ticket scheme for key workers in the New York economy – teachers, nurses, firemen, construction labourers.

The plan has twin purposes: the noble aim of social inclusion, and the pragmatic one of getting full houses.

It is called Phil the Hall.

Will the Met get the hint?


Comments (18)

  1. Itsjtime says:

    An ACTUAL GOOD IDEA!!!!!

  2. Been Here Before says:

    It’s a commendable idea, but I wonder how much firemen and construction workers actually care about classical music. Several folks from my gym that work in these jobs would rather undergo a root canal than be seen at a concert hall. As for the others (especially teachers) – yes, this is a great idea. This is not intended to be a snarky remark, but rather acknowledging reality – classical music is not everybody’s cup of tea and it never will be, without matter of external incentives.

    1. John Kelly says:

      My plumber sings bits of Tosca quite decently (he is Italian American), you need a look in the mirror my snobbish blogger…………..

      1. Been Here Before says:

        Why don’t you take the first look Mr. Kelly? In my initial post I specifically said I was not trying to be condescending, but merely acknowledging reality. All these stories about opera singing plumbers and taxi driving classical aficionados sound wonderful, but I yet need to meet a single example in person. And it’s not that I do not deal with plumbers, taxi drivers and construction workers on a regular basis.

        1. Saxon Broken says:

          Um…actually you would be surprised how many are interested. While classical music is a minority interest, there are more interested than you think.

    2. Bruce says:

      Been Here: there are probably a fair number of people who aren’t terribly biased for or against classical music, who might be induced to give it a try if the ticket price is low.

      At my day job, I’ve given my two allotted comp tickets to various co-workers whose feelings about classical music range from enthusiastic to scornful. Most of them have returned at some point to hear more performances at full price. (One accepted the comp tickets, and then didn’t bother going because the weather was nice. A hike isn’t the same as a root canal, but still: a preference has been expressed.)

    3. Russell Platt says:

      My dry cleaner is an opera fanatic. He has the Met broadcasts on every Saturday afternoon.

    4. Don Allen says:

      My father is a MTA bus driver and he loves classical music. Also, two of my friends are police officers who played in the school band/ Orchestra and one of my friends graduated from Peabody. So there is a demographic that will attend the $5.00 concerts. The $5.00 ticket is a great idea. NYPhil plays great music and getting people in the door is step one. My only concern is NYPhil’s marketing for the $5.00 tickets. How is management making people aware of the $5.00 tickets and convincing people that classical music is amazing. I have ideas.

  3. collin says:

    Not really. It’s just 3 consecutive days in April of short introductory concerts. Classical Music 101 for service workers.

    I wonder who told the NYP that firemen and policemen don’t make good money? They don’t need $5 tickets, they’re solidly middle class.

    1. MWnyc says:

      Yes, but they won’t be willing to try music they don’t know, and tend to doubt they’ll like (let alone go to to venue where they may feel out of place) if they have to pay full price. If they were willing to do that, they’d already be going.

      With super-bargain $5 tickets, they’ll be more likely to think, “What the heck – what have I got to lose for five bucks?” And since these will be concerts explicitly intended for these groups rather than regular concertgoers, they’ll be more likely to go – in groups of fellows from work, is the hope – because most people in the audience will be more like them.

      It’s certainly worth a try.

    2. Winger says:

      This is a really interesting point. Simply devaluing classical music in the eyes of people who can easily afford to attend if they wanted to is not the answer.

      1. David R Osborne says:

        Yes. What the answer is, is of course fix what is broken. Not so palatable to those in control unfortunately, although the occasional little glimmer does appear and this conductor is definitely of those.

        In the meantime, bravo New York Phil. I love this idea. And to my dear friend Been Here Before, it’s not the music (at least the best of it) that makes newcomers feel uncomfortable. You are right that it’s not for everybody, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be reaching many more. Classical music has made itself into a fringe. It was not always so, and if the will is truly there it need not be now.

  4. Sharon says:

    Hope they include carers, nurses’ aides, cabbies, waitors, cleaners. As to what Been Here Before says you would be surprised how many cabbies and car service drivers have the radio or their car CD player playing classical music. I am sure their are cleaners who listen to classical music at night as they clean. I hope their kids are included too (does the New York Phil still have a concert program for children?) Actually there are a variety of web sites (which require small membership fees) which provide “complimentary” $5.00 tickets for a variety of classical music performances at Carnegie Hall, although not the major ones, but I have not seen anything like that with the NY Phil.

  5. Bruce says:

    Interesting how orchestras are bashed for not trying new things to attract new audiences, and then bashed for trying new things to attract new audiences.

    1. Paul Wells says:

      Not in the real world. Just here.

    2. Harsh Reality says:

      At last they are trying. But if you know any construction workers you will probably realize that they would rather be dead than caught in a classical music hall. Their idea of musical genius is Led Zeppelin or some mindless rock and roll or even country. A higher percentage of teachers probably appreciate classical music but I bet no more than 10% of them listen to it for fun. The ones under 40, even less.

      1. Bruce says:

        Considering that ~1% of the population in any city actually likes classical music enough to pay for a ticket (let alone donate) to anything, you’re probably right.

        So what?

        All it means is that the NY Phil doesn’t risk losing a lot of money when 45,000 construction workers show up demanding $5 tickets. The 12 that do show up will be welcomed.

  6. Cyril Blair says:

    I don’t see where construction workers are included. The phil’s website says “We extend a warm invitation to all those on whom we depend — those who devote their talents to teaching, who respond first, volunteer, give back, and work in public service — for $5 tickets.” Construction workers don’t fit in those categories. They work for for-profit companies.


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