First Timer’s Guide

Before You Arrive

We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to make the most of your Symphony San Jose experience. This will give you plenty of time to park (check our Parking & Dining page for assistance), find your seat, read your program, and settle in for an unforgettable evening.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the program and gaining behind-the-scenes knowledge about the music you’ll experience, we suggest joining us for Music Notes. This free 30-minute talk is held in the Auditorium one hour prior to the concert, providing additional insights into the program. There is no need to register prior to attending, we look forward to seeing you there!

Not at all. Experiencing a piece of art with no background knowledge or preconceived notions, can be incredibly liberating and exciting.

However, if you’re the type of person who enjoys diving into the details, our concert pages are a fantastic starting point. They provide insights into the pieces you’ll enjoy during your night at the Symphony.

Our Music Notes program mentioned above, is designed to help newcomers understand the music that they experience at the concert.

When it comes to finding a good seat for a symphony performance, there are a few key factors to consider. The California Theatre is known for its intimate setting, with around 1,100 seats, meaning there are no bad seats in terms of visibility and proximity to the stage. However, for the best overall experience, it is recommended to choose a seat in the center of the venue that is not too close to the front. Sitting in the center allows for a well-balanced sound and a good view of the entire orchestra. Being further back also helps the sound to blend better by the time it reaches your ears. The front of the balcony is another prime spot, as this provides a unique aerial perspective of the orchestra.

We believe in creating an environment where everyone can feel comfortable. Our audience brings a wide range of fashion choices to our performances, from professional attire for those coming straight from work, to elegant date night outfits. We also offer daytime and family-friendly events with a more casual atmosphere, allowing for a variety of dressing styles. Whether you prefer a formal or a more relaxed look, feel free to dress according to your personal comfort and style when joining us at Symphony San Jose.

Once You're Here

Applause (i.e. clapping) is a way to show appreciation toward the artists. An audience traditionally applauds at the conclusion of each piece. Not sure when that is? Feel free to let others start and join in! It’s also customary to applaud when the concertmaster, conductor, or soloist enters the stage.

Music has a powerful ability to evoke emotions, so feel free to let it move you and express your enjoyment!

The duration of our concerts varies depending on the program, but they generally run between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Most performances include an intermission, giving you a chance to reflect on the incredible music you’ve just experienced. For specific information about concert durations, please check out the individual concert pages.

Don’t be surprised if the conductor suddenly vanishes at the end of a piece. It’s intermission time! Intermission is like a little break in the middle of a performance where you can take a breather for about 10-15 minutes. This is your chance to take a bathroom break, chat with friends, grab a snack or drink from the concession, or just stretch your legs. And don’t worry, when intermission is almost over, our friendly ushers will guide you back to your seat and close the entrances. Enjoy the break!

We offer a free coat station inside the concert hall to drop off your coat and pick it up once the concert is over.

We invite you to capture and share your concert experience by taking pictures before and after the shows. We kindly ask that you put your phone on silent mode, dim your screen, and refrain from using flash photography during the concert, as it can be disruptive to both the performers and fellow audience members. Feel free to tag us on social media to share your incredible moments! Thank you for your partnership in creating an engaging concert experience. We hope you enjoy the show!

After the Concert

If you had a great experience with us, we would be absolutely thrilled if you could help us spread the word! We’re all about creating awesome experiences and providing top-notch service. Hearing positive feedback from happy customers like you is what keeps us motivated and excited. Leaving a review online is a fantastic way to share your experience with others and let them know what they can expect when they choose us. Your feedback can make a real difference in helping others find the same joy and satisfaction that you did. So, if you have a moment, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could leave us a review. Thank you so much for your support and for being an awesome member of our community!

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We love sharing the joy of symphonic music with all of you, and what better way to connect than through social media? We invite you to follow us on all our social media (Facebook, Instagram) platforms to stay updated on upcoming performances, special events, behind-the-scenes insights, and more.

We’d be thrilled if you tagged us in your posts and stories during our concerts, rehearsals, or even while you’re just enjoying our music at home. Let’s create a vibrant community of music lovers and share our collective passion for the symphony. Don’t forget to use our official hashtag in your posts and spread the love for orchestral music!

If you love music and want to bring more exceptional performances to our community, we invite you to consider making a donation to Symphony San Jose. Your contribution plays a crucial role in sustaining our orchestra and enriching the cultural landscape of our city. Our network of donors and music enthusiasts connect regularly to enjoy and share our musical experiences. Visit our donation page to learn more about the various ways you can make a difference. Thank you!

We can’t wait to welcome you to Symphony San Jose and share the magic of live orchestral music with you. Prepare for a captivating experience that will leave you inspired and longing for more. See you soon!

More Questions?

If you have additional questions regarding tickets & subscriptions, transportation, or accessibility accommodations please refer to our FAQs section below.