Being a fan of classical music has an air of luxury, wealth, and the aristocracy. Only fancy people like violins, harps, and the English horn, right?
Not in Buffalo.
Buffalo has a wealth of universities and cultural organizations that give anyone with any budget the opportunity to hear some of the best music ever written. Here are some organizations that provide Buffalonians with a way to hear classical music for very little to no money.
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, most concerts at Kleinhans Music Hall, Symphony Circle
This is so obvious it’s just about unnecessary to point out, but Buffalo has a cultural gem in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO).
But their concerts are expensive, you say. I can’t afford to see more than one a year, you say. Well, I say, that’s rubbish.
Student subscriptions for the entire season are a mere $29. That’s right, for less than $30 you can see a concert nearly every weekend. The student subscription covers the M&T Bank Classics, Bank of America Pops, and Know the Score series. Students also pay half price for all BPO Rocks concerts.
University at Buffalo Music Department, Lippes Concert Hall and Baird Recital Hall
With concerts just about every day, the University at Buffalo Music Department will keep you occupied throughout November and December. The Department regularly brings in guest artists, making Buffalo a hub of classical music.
Although many of UB’s concerts are free admission, there are some that require you to open up your purse strings. For those concerts, UB students pay nothing, seniors pay $10, and general admission is just $15.
Buffalo State Music Department, L.P. Ciminelli Recital Hall and the Performing Arts Center
Set in the beautiful L.P. Ciminelli Recital Hall, you can see up-and-coming young musicians perform recitals and smaller concerts. The Performing Arts Center hosts larger ensemble performances, including the Philharmonia – an ensemble of local musicians, students, and faculty. Recitals are free to attend, but most other events are $10 for the general public and free for Buff State students. Student recitals are not listed on the Department’s website, but if you find yourself in the basement of Rockwell Hall, stop by the massive calendar to check out which students are performing when.
The Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall
If you’re looking to introduce your young children to the joys of classical music, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society is free for middle and high school students. College students pay just $10 per concert.
Although the Society can be on the pricey side if you’re not a student or are looking to attend multiple concerts, the Gift to the Community Recital Series is an opportunity to see world-renowned musicians in an intimate setting for free. Unfortunately there are just three such concerts in the 2015-2016 season so mark your calendars now! The last Gift to the Community concert is Feb. 7 with Hungarian pianist Daniel Lebhardt.
Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth St
Pausa is definitely not necessarily home to classical music, but I’m going to throw some jazz into the mix. Pausa Art House is a relatively new, but much needed, addition to Allentown. Every weekend, Thursday through Saturday nights, Pausa lights up with local, touring, and international musicians. For a small cover charge – often less for students – your ears will be treated to classic and not-so-classic works of jazz, soul, and international music. Stop by by 8 p.m. on the weekends to hear wonderful music in a super intimate setting. It reminds me of a lovely European café.
The Amherst Symphony Orchestra, Amherst Middle School
The Amherst Symphony Orchestra is a unique group of community members, amateur and professional musicians, and students who perform just four free concerts per year, from October to April. The concerts are aimed at families, particularly in December and February. The Orchestra often brings in renowned local musicians for performances. Concert dates in 2015 and 2016 include Dec. 6, Feb. 14, and April 10.
The Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, venues varies
The Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra is training the next generation of renowned musicians, and seeing their concerts is very inexpensive. Adults pay $10 per concert, students and seniors pay $5, or you can purchase a series ticket for $35. There is about one concert per month until May.
Nickel City Opera
Buffalo not only hosts impressive classical orchestral music, but for the rare birds that are opera lovers, there’s a home for you at the Nickel City Opera, founded in 2004. The upcoming January performances of Amahl & the Night Visitors tells the tale of Amahl, a poor crippled child, who meets the Three Kings as they make their way to the nativity. Tickets range from $8.38 to $15.76 (get tickets here). The show will be performed at the Delaware Ave Westminster Presbyterian church.
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