The Philadelphia Orchestra, founded more than a century ago by Fritz Scheel, is considered one of the five major orchestras in the United States. Housed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, shows are conducted in the cello-shaped Verizon Center. The orchestra performs more than one hundred shows every season. Before taking up residence in 2001 at the Verizon Center — which as specifically built for the Philadelphia Orchestra — the company performed its concerts at the Academy of Music (from 1900 – 2001), and also has a handful of other temporary residences depending on its tour schedule. Charles Dutoit has held the title of chief conductor since 2008, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin will take up the post of music director with the 2012-13 season. Besides being known for its much lauded performances, the Philadelphia Orchestra is a leader in recording technology, being the first symphony orchestra to make electrical recordings. There are dozens of other notable “firsts” for the orchestra, but if this is your first time attending a show, here’s a quick guide to get you started. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season runs from October 14, 2011 to May 19, 2012.

kimmel center1 A Guide To Seeing The Philadelphia Orchestra

credit: Wikimedia Commons

Getting There

The Kimmel Center
Verizon Hall
300 South Broad Street
(215) 893-1999 | TTY (215) 875-7633
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Box office hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Kimmel Center is accessible via several subway, rail and bus routes. See SEPTA’s website:

The parking garage at the Kimmel Center is only accessible by traveling south on Broad Street. Garage hours are Monday – Friday from 6 a.m. – 12 a.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 12 a.m. Parking fees differ depending on the day and hour but ranges from $12 – $22 (and sometimes more if patrons stay beyond allotted time). There is also a $5 surcharge for large SUVs and trucks.

The Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra
260 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 893-1900
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Before You Go:

  • Individual ticket prices can be as little as $10 or exceed $130
  • All ticket sales are final, and there are no refunds or exchanges. However, the Philadelphia Orchestra hosts a ticket exchange program. Patrons can visit the Kimmel Center Box Office, call the box office or do the exchange online (requires an account):
  • Season subscribers can get some perks and special discounts: (Dressing up is not required, but recommended — it is the orchestra after all)
  • Expect the show to run for about two hours
  • Time your applause — it’s usually safe when there’s a brief pause between movements
  • You may want to leave the camera and video or voice recorder at home — it’s an no-no
  • Kids eight years old and over are welcome to the shows, however there are family concerts specifically geared toward younger patrons
  • Arrive on time! If you’re late, you may have to wait until the first piece of the program is over or at intermission to bet seated
  • Patrons in wheelchairs are welcome, as are hearing impaired patrons and patrons who need large-print programs

Mark Your Calendar

Bach to Mahler
Thursday, January 26 8:00 PM
Friday, January 27 8:00 PM

Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Conductor
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
Mahler: Symphony No. 6

Rachmaninoff Second Concerto
Friday, February 17 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 18 8:00 PM

Charles Dutoit: Conductor
Nikolaï Lugansky: Piano
Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber
Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

rice franklin1031248361 A Guide To Seeing The Philadelphia Orchestra

credit: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

Rush Tickets & Free Performances:

A limited number of $10 rush tickets are available for Philadelphia Orchestra subscription concerts in Verizon Hall and go on sale at the Kimmel Center Box Office at 5:30 p.m. for evening performances and 11:30 a.m. for matinees.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also makes PECO Power Hour seats available for $10.00 at the Kimmel Center Box Office between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM the day of each subscription concert (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for 2:00 p.m. performances).

All ticket sales are final and there are no refunds or exchanges.

In addition to rush tickets, the Philadelphia Orchestra occasionally performs free shows during the summer. In addition to the free college concert on Sept. 28, patrons should keep an eye on the schedule for Free Neighborhood Concerts:

What’s Nearby

Sweet Freedom Bakery
1424 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-1899

Just a few minutes away from the Kimmel Center is Sweet Freedom Bakery, which specializes in gluten-free, vegan and allergen-friendly wares.

The Capital Grille
1338 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 545-9588

If you’re not feeling for sweets, but perhaps for a juicy steak instead, try The Capital Grille. Customers rave about the Porterhouse steaks.

— Nicola A. Menzie

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