Frequently Asked Questions
New to The Cleveland Orchestra? New to classical music? Not sure what to expect? Find helpful answers below:
Getting & Using Tickets
How do I get my tickets?
There are three ways to get your tickets. For your convenience, if you purchase your tickets on our website, you can chose “Print at Home” as your ticket delivery option. Your Print-at-Home tickets will be emailed to you in a PDF attachment and will arrive within 10 minutes of your purchase. Print-at-Home is available for most performances and parking at Severance Hall. You can also have your tickets mailed to you or held at the Box Office.
Can I select my own seats?
Yes. The new website has a “Select Your Own Seat” capability which features an interactive seating chart that enables you to select your own seats.
How do I use the new “Select Your Own Seat” feature?
Most concerts allow you to select your own seat with our new interactive seat map.
- Click on the level (section) you want (for example, "Dress Circle").
- Dots that are not filled represent seats that are still available.
- (If you change your mind, just click again to remove it.)
What if I can’t use my tickets?
If you cannot use your tickets, you may give them to a friend who would enjoy the performance. You may also donate them for resale and receive credit for a charitable donation of the purchase price by returning your tickets by phone no later than 2½ hours prior to performance time. Call the Ticket Office at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141 to arrange a donation.
There are no refunds on single tickets. Subscribers may exchange tickets to upcoming concerts.
Finding Your Way
When should I arrive?
Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the concert start time. This will give you enough time to park, find your seat, look over the printed program, and relax before the music begins. You may want to arrive earlier – to eat at Severance Restaurant, have a drink or snack at one of the lobby bars, or to attend the Concert Preview presented prior to many Cleveland Orchestra concerts.
How do I find my seat?
Severance Hall has four levels with concert seating. Reinberger Chamber Hall is on the Street Level, while seating for the Concert Hall is accessed from the Orchestra Level, Box Level, Dress Circle, and Balcony Levels. There are staircases and elevators from the Street Level up to these levels. The Ticket Taker who takes your ticket at the door will be able to give you directions. If you need additional help, just ask any of the ushers as you enter the seating areas, or speak with any house staff wearing a badge.
How long will the concert run?
Orchestral concerts vary in length depending on the music being performed:
- Most classical concerts last between 90 minutes and two hours, including one intermission.
- Family Concerts and Friday Morning Matinees last about one hour.
How long is the intermission?
For Cleveland Orchestra performances, intermission generally runs twenty minutes. This may vary for certain kinds of performances. A bell will ring shortly before the end of intermission, so that you have enough time to return to your seat before the performance resumes.
Pro-Tips & Etiquette
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for Cleveland Orchestra performances. For evening concerts, many patrons come from work in business-appropriate attire or dressed for a night out. For matinees and Family Concerts, some patrons dress a bit more casually.
For Family Concerts, many families enjoy arriving in time to participate in the pre-concert activities that begin one hour prior to the start of the concert. These activities include a hands-on instrument “Petting Zoo," story-telling related to the concert’s theme, and music-building games.
When do I clap?
There are a few traditions that have developed as orchestral music has evolved over the centuries, including when to applaud. These days, audiences generally applaud to greet the performers and to show appreciation after a performance. Most people clap at the beginning of a concert when the concertmaster (the lead violinist) enters to tune the orchestra – this is in acknowledgement of the concertmaster and the entire orchestra – and then again when the conductor and any soloists come onstage.
Once the music starts, there may be a brief pause between the movements, but people usually reserve their applause until after the final movement of each piece so that the performers and audience can maintain their focus. At the end of the work, the conductor will lower the baton all the way, signaling that the piece is over. At that point, applause is most welcome. You can also check the program book to see how many movements there are, so that you can keep track.
Do I need to know anything about the music before I come?
No. In fact, it can be a wonderful discovery to simply sit down and listen to whatever the orchestra plays. However, some people like to know a bit about the music before they hear it. For most Cleveland Orchestra concerts, Program Notes are provided with background information about the works, composers, and guest artists on the program. If you would like to read the Program Notes in advance, we also post them online, usually by Monday of the concert week.
For even more insight into the music, local and national experts lead our engaging Concert Previews one hour before most Cleveland Orchestra performances.
Find program notes, preconcert lectures or other information related to a performance by going to the event calendar. Hover over the performance you plan to attend, and click the “learn more” button.
If you want to keep learning about music, consider attending our Musically Speaking series or Music Study Groups, or explore even more in our Education and Community section.
Can I buy a recording of the concert?
The Cleveland Orchestra Store sells CDs featuring many excellent performances by The Cleveland Orchestra and other artists, including some of the most popular works in the orchestral repertoire. Call, stop by or search the online Store to find recordings that you can enjoy again and again. We rarely produce commercial recordings of our concerts. But we encourage you to come back for more live music!
What if I have other questions?
Please ask us. Call the Severance Hall Ticket Office at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the House Manager at 216-231-7425.