New York: Cheap tickets and discounts to classical music concerts

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New York's Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall offers same-day discounted tickets. Photo: Cliff1066

By Desiree Browne in New York—

With temperatures dropping in New York, free outdoor concerts are going into hibernation. No need to fear, however, as you can still land free or discounted tickets to world-class music throughout the city.

Here’s a quick overview of where audiophiles can enjoy classical music on a shoestring budget:

Carnegie Hall
881 7th Ave (at 57th Street)
(212) 247-7800
Web site

Music lovers in New York must make a pilgrimage to Carnegie Hall. Happily the world-famous music hall provides several options for ticket discounts.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. on the day of concert (noon on Sunday), the box office sells “Public RUSH” tickets in the balcony for $10 each (limit two per person). This offer is valid for all Carnegie Hall presentations in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, and excludes gala events and family concerts (which are already cheap, at $9-20 per ticket).

Students can also pick up $10 tickets to select shows with their student IDs at the box office. For more information, and to buy student tickets in advance, see

If you generally close your eyes during concerts, consider getting 50% off the usual ticket price when you purchase partial view tickets for seats with obstructed viewing or a little less leg room. Check out for more information on discount ticket programs.

Lincoln Center, New York

Lincoln Center. Photo: Roccocell

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
10 Lincoln Center Plaza
(212) 875-5456
Web site

Home to big-name ensembles like the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center offers day-of-performance discounts at the Zucker box office in the David Rubenstein Atrium. Performances are held Tuesday through Sunday and discounts vary depending on show.

The Atrium handles same-day discounts for performances in all Lincoln Center spaces, including Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, David H. Koch Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center Theater and the Metropolitan Opera.

The Atrium is open Monday–Friday 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., and
Saturday–Sunday 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.. For more information on Lincoln Center ticket discounts, check out this page on their Web site.

Juilliard School
60 Lincoln Center Plaza
(212) 799-5000
Web site

The world-famous Julliard conservatory opens its doors for student and faculty performances. Most performances are free and don’t require tickets. For the shows that do require tickets, be sure to show up at the 65th Street box office as soon as tickets are available. Can’t get a ticket? A standby line starts about one hour before the concert.

Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Performances throughout New York City
Web site

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The 2010-11 season includes concerts, both chamber groups and full orchestra, at The Morgan Library and Museum, Dia:Beacon and the Brooklyn Museum. (Tip: See a concert at the Brooklyn Museum or Dia:Beacon and get access to the exhibits.)

Take advantage of the special occasion and get seats for as low as $25. Hungry after the show? Your ticket stub gets you 10% off at some local restaurants. For more information, check out the groups Web site.

Symphony Space
2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)
(212) 864-5400
Web site

This Upper West Side gem is home to performances that span genres but the classics are never forgotten. Many performances offer student tickets for as little as $10. The post-grad among us can grab “Under 30″ tickets for $15. For concert schedule and ticket information, visit

About the author

Desiree Browne

About the author: Desiree Browne is a Brooklyn resident who can't imagine living anywhere but New York. An assistant at a parenting website, she loves spending her free time in more grown-up pursuits, like dancing salsa, searching for the best cafe au lait, and sampling the tastiest cocktails. Desiree also loves filling her Netflix queue with old movies, many of which she writes about on her vintage pop culture blog, Pop-o-matic Deluxe. Her work about her love of New York has appeared in The New York Observer, Metromix New York and The Awl.

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