What to Expect

If you’re new to Classical Music

At each Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra concert you’ll discover the magic of great music-making in classical, pops, and family concerts. Expect to enjoy yourself! Let go of any ideas you may have about classical music or the concert experience. Open yourself up to the music.

Let the music trigger your emotions — maybe even your memories. Feel the rhythms. Follow the music. Watch the musicians and the conductor, and see how they interact with each other. Notice how the music ebbs and flows, surging and powerful at some times, delicate and ephemeral at others, and everything in between.

Classical music is all around us – in commercials, movie soundtracks, television themes, cartoons, retail shops, and even some elevators. Popular music often quotes classical melodies, too. While you’re listening in the concert to a piece you think you’ve never heard before, a tune you’ve heard a hundred times may jump out at you.

Whether or not you’ve heard the music before the concert, as you listen, you’ll notice that each classical piece uses its own group of several tunes over and over, in different ways.

You’ll start to “recognize” these melodies as a work progresses. Listen for the ways a melody is repeated: Is it exactly the same as the first time, or with a different character? Do the same instruments or different ones play the melody? Does it start the same as before, but go off in a different direction? Or start differently and surprise you by developing into the tune you recognize from earlier in the piece?

About Maestro Stuart Malina

Maestro (a.k.a. Conductor) Malina is one of America’s most versatile and accomplished conductors. In a wide variety of concerts, Malina’s ease on the podium, engaging personality and insightful interpretations have thrilled audiences and help to break down the barriers between performers and listeners. Stuart Malina has conducted in Carnegie Hall and won a Tony Award for orchestration with Billy Joel for the musical Movin’ Out, which Malina helped create with director and choreographer Twyla Tharp. He’s an accomplished pianist in addition to a fabulous conductor.

There is no dress code

Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Most people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it, and you can, too. Still, evening gowns and tuxedos are pretty rare unless you’ve bought tickets for a fancy gala—and if you have, you’ll know! If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne, which can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze — and may distract you.

Arrive early

Plan to arrive 20 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, turn off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time to glance through the program book. You won’t be alone. Concerts last a little over 2 hours with a intermission halfway through for 15-20 minutes, refreshments are sold during intermission at the Conductor’s Cafe in the lobby.

Most concertgoers make a point of coming early to read the program notes to familiarize yourself with what you are about to hear. Rushing to your seat at the last minute doesn’t really give you enough time to get settled, so you may not fully enjoy the first piece on the program. And there’s another good reason to come early: Most concerts start on time. If you’re late, you may end up listening from the lobby! If that happens, the usher will allow you inside during a suitable pause in the program, so your arrival won’t disturb other concertgoers.