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What do I need to know about the Houston Symphony?

What do I need to know about the Houston Symphony

Calling all music enthusiasts and culture connoisseurs! If you’re planning to watch a  Houston Symphony performance, but you’re unsure about how to go about it, you’re in the right place!

From ticketing secrets to dress code tips and everything in between, consider this your backstage pass to an unforgettable symphonic adventure.

So, grab your finest attire (or your coziest concert sweater, we won’t judge!), tune your ears to the symphonic wonders, and let us lead you on a journey through the heart of Houston’s musical legacy. 

What is the Houston Symphony?

What is the Houston Symphony

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

The Houston Symphony is an orchestra made of 87 professional musicians that is now Houston’s largest performing arts organization and America’s oldest one. 

The journey began when the Symphony held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. 

As the years passed, the Symphony’s presence expanded, and it found a home in various iconic venues, like the Palace Theatre, City Auditorium, and the Houston Music Hall until the 1960s. 

The Houston Symphony debuted at Carnegie Hall during the International Festival of Visiting Orchestras in March 1965 and has performed in the renowned venue 16 times since. 

The symphony’s journey eventually led it to its current home, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. With an operating budget of $28.8 million, the Houston Symphony delivers around 170 concerts every year. 

What is the Houston Symphony 2

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

Since its founding, the Houston Symphony has made appearances in musical festivals across the world in Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, and European countries like Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Austria. 

Even with all its international activities, The Houston Symphony stays committed to enriching local communities through a combination of initiatives that aims to foster a deep appreciation for music and its transformative power.

One of the core pillars of their community engagement is the Student Concerts program where they hold matinee concerts in collaboration with the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

What is the Houston Symphony 3

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

The Houston Symphony also launched the Community-Embedded Musicians program, where musicians combine performing and teaching through interactive shows and activities in schools, hospitals, senior centers, and traditional performance venues. 

Over the course of more than 100 years, this Grammy Award-winning ensemble has played a central role in shaping Houston’s cultural and civic life, earning its place as one of America’s oldest and biggest performing arts organizations.

Address: 615 Louisiana Street, Suite 102. Houston, Texas 77002

Phone Number: +1 713-224-7575


Shows and Scheduling 

Shows and Scheduling

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

The Houston Symphony has a variety of shows thoughtfully curated to offer an array of performances and experiences that cater to diverse audiences. Their main series below are held during the season which lasts from September to May.

  • The Classical Series, consisting of 18 concert weekends, is led by the talented Music Director, Juraj Valčuha. This series focuses on well-loved masterpieces by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. It also features performances by modern prodigies.

Friday and Saturday – 8 pm 

Sunday – 2:30 pm

  • The POPS Series, featuring 9 concert weekends, is led by the Principal POPS Conductor, Steven Reineke. Diverse genres like Broadway musicals, blues, jazz, opera, and modern pop and RnB music is highlighted in this series. 

Friday and Saturday – 8 pm 

Sunday – 2:30 pm

Shows and Scheduling 2

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

  • The Family Series, comprising 4 concerts, is designed to be interactive where kids can join in through dancing and singing with musical performances usually celebrating big holidays like Halloween and Christmas. 

There are also pre-concert and post-concert events like the Instrument Petting Zoo where the kids can get up close and personal with them, performances by young musicians, and art and musical activities. 

Saturday – 10 am and 11:30 am 

The Houston Symphony also holds special events on their off season as part of their commitment to enriching the lives of the community locally. 

Shows and Scheduling 3

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

  • The Symphony Specials are unique events held for just a night or two to offer unique and distinct musical experiences and are not included in subscription packages. 

Some of these specials feature pop culture-themed concerts like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark shows. You can see the complete list of shows here

  • Free neighborhood concerts are held by the Houston Symphony in June with the goal of extending the joy of live music to Houston’s communities through 7-12 concerts in many unconventional but accessible venues like churches. 
  • Summer Symphony Nights are more casual and family-friendly concerts held at the iconic Miller Outdoor Theatre which features both local and international soloists and conductors. 
  • Livestream packages for each concert series are also made available for those seeking to enjoy the symphony from the comfort of their own space.

The Houston Symphony also has an online repertoire of performances and archive of records if you want to explore its history and progression throughout the years.

Pro Tip: 
If you want to interact with the performers and orchestra members, don’t miss out on the In-hall Prelude Sessions in the Jones Hall before every Classical Series concert on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:15 pm and on Sundays at 1:45 pm. 

Ticketing and Pricing

Ticketing and Pricing

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

Single Tickets which grant you access to 1 Houston Symphony show typically go for around $50-$100. 

The Houston Symphony also offers subscription packages which offers you priority seating, pre-sale access to show tickets, discounted prices, and flexible dates on the tickets with free exchanges throughout the season. 

The 3 main offerings let you choose between a range of packages depending on how many shows you want to watch during the season. The prices also vary depending on which shows you choose within the series 

  • Classical Packages range from $165 for 6 concerts, $252 for 9 concerts, all the way to $432 for access to all concerts during the season.
  • Family Packages grants you access to all 4 concerts during the season for $89. 
  • POPS Packages let you choose between 6-concert tickets for $180 and 9-concert tickets for $270. 
Ticketing and Pricing 2

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

  • Pick Your Own Packages are perfect for those who want to watch shows from the different series. There are packages for 3, 4, 5-8, or more than 9 shows with ticket prices being 40% less than regular prices or more. 
  • Young Professionals Packages are for symphony lover under 45 which offers access to the best shows from the Classical and POPS series with packages for 3 or 6 concerts. 
  • Livestream Packages allows subscribers to watch all the concerts in the chosen series live through a link sent to the registered email.
    • Classical Series: $270 
    • POPS Series: $135 
    • Full Classical and POPS: $405 
    • Pick Your Own: $60 for 4 shows; $90 for 6 shows
Pro Tip:
You can avail of the tickets and packages online through their website. Tickets can be saved, mailed to you, or printed out. You can also drop by their Patron Services Center. Renewal of the packages can also be done online! 

Address: Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana St. Suite 102, Houston, TX 77002Phone Number: +1 713-224-7575Operational Hours: Monday to Saturday – 12 pm to 6 pm
Ticketing and Pricing 3

Image Source:  Jones Hall for Performing Arts Website

Aligned with their goal of spreading a deeper appreciation for music, the Houston Symphony offers a set of discounted tickets for students: 

  • The student Pass grants you access to all the shows in your chosen series. The prices vary depending on which series you avail. These tickets go on sale once a year and those who want to avail need to present a valid school ID. 
  • Student Rush Tickets are also available for $20 that will get you into 1 of the Summer Series Concerts at the Hobby Center. 
  • The Houston Symphony also has livestream group rates for schools where they offer access to livestreams for $250 for 100 students for their Classical and POPS shows. 

Theater Locations: Parking and Seating 

Jones Hall for the Performing Arts

Image Source:  Jones Hall for Performing Arts Website

Address: 615 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 832-487-7050



The Houston Symphony considers the Jones Hall for Performing Arts as their permanent home and main location where they host most of their shows. The center has a seating capacity of 3,000 and a moveable ceiling to expand or shrink the venue. 

Parking here is available at the Theatre District Parking Garage and other nearby locations

The Houston Symphony also hosts regular shows in other venues across the city, mainly in these 4 locations with tips on parking and seating information. 

  • Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion 

Address: 2005 Lake Robbins Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77380, United States

Phone Number: +1 281-364-3010



Parking: Timberlock Place 

  • Miller Outdoor Theater

Address: 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, United States

Phone Number: +1 832-487-7102



Parking: Central parking lot for Houston Zoo

Miller Outdoor Theater

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

  • The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 800 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-315-2525


Seating: Sarofim Hall and Zilka Hall

Parking: Hobby Center’s Garage

  • Smart Financial Center

Address: 18111 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479, United States

Phone Number: +1 281-207-6278



Parking: On-site 

Show Etiquette and Rules

Show Etiquette and Rules

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

The lobby doors swing open one hour before the concert commences, while the theater doors welcome you 30 minutes before showtime. We advise arriving at least 30 minutes before the scheduled concert start time for a smooth experience. 

Most performances allow for late seating, arranged in intervals at the conductor’s discretion. The friendly ushers and front of house staff will guide you on when late seating is permitted, so you don’t miss a moment of the captivating performance.

The Houston Symphony enforces a business casual to formal dress code for all its guests. 

This means men are expected to wear anything from collared and long-sleeved shirts to suits and tuxedos, while women are encouraged to wear cocktail dresses or pantsuits. 

The use of cameras and recording equipment whether audio or visual is not allowed during performances. 

The Houston Symphony also discourages the use of phones during performances as to not garner suspicion of recording and for the comfort of those around you.

Photography and Electronics

Image Source: Houston Symphony Website

The Houston Symphony reminds audience members to hold applause until the conductor turns with his arms by his side to show that a piece is finished to signal that you can clap. This is to avoid distracting or throwing off the musicians on stage. 

There are no official post-events for meet and greets and autograph signing and guests are discouraged to bombard performers with requests, but are allowed to wait by the stage door and request for them. 

You aren’t allowed to bring food inside the auditorium. For drinks, POPS Series concerts allow them, while Classical concerts do not. 

But don’t worry, during Symphony performances, you can visit the Encore Café and in-hall bars where food, refreshments, and bar drinks are sold and allowed to be consumed in designated areas. 

Pro Tip: 
Take advantage of the option to pre-order your food and drinks before the show, so you can claim them from the Round Bar in time for intermission. 


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