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First Timers Guide

First Timers Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What is classical music?

The term “classical music” can mean anything from a Bach concerto composed in the late 17th century to a Brahms symphony composed in the mid 19th century – from an Adams tone poem written last week to a Stravinsky symphony written in the early 20th century. Generally, classical music is defined by an ensemble composed of strings (violins, violas, cellos and basses), woodwinds (flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons), brass (trumpets, french horns, trombones, and tuba) and percussion (timpani, xylophone and harp) or some combination thereof.

Will I recognize any of the music?

Odds are, you’ll recognize far more than you realize. Many of today’s popular songs, television shows and movies include or are taken from classical themes, like the Lone Ranger theme (Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”), United Airlines commercials (Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”), American Beef Council ads (Copland’s “Hoe-down from ‘Rodeo’).

Will I enjoy the concert?

Absolutely! Classical music is everything from exciting and invigorating to relaxing and serene. When you join us in the concert hall, you’ll embark on a musical journey that is new and beautiful at every turn. How will the music speak to you? Listen and see!

Do I need to know the music before I attend a performance?

No. One of the great joys of going to The Wisconsin Philharmonic concerts is being introduced to a great piece of music you’ve never heard before, or listening to a superb performance of a piece you haven’t heard in years. Some regular concert-goers do find they appreciate the performance more if they listen to a recording of the piece before the concert, so they can better anticipate their favorite parts, or listen for virtuoso playing of the more difficult passages. Many audience members find it enhances their enjoyment of the music if they take the time before the performance to read the notes in the program about the composer and the pieces that are to be played.

How can I learn about the music before the concert?

Program notes are provided in the program book you receive from the ushers upon entering the concert hall. You may wish to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the performance to review the program notes. Program notes for many of The Wisconsin Philharmonic performances are also available online. You also can sign up to receive e-mail notifications about The Wisconsin Philharmonic performances, events and promotions. Email your request.

What should I wear?

Wear whatever makes you comfortable. Contrary to what many people think, formal attire – tuxedos and evening gowns – is not required at The Wisconsin Philharmonic concerts. You’ll see concert goers in suits, sweaters, khakis, or slacks. Most people wear “business casual” attire.

What about cell phones, pagers, coughing?

It is always best to turn off cell phones and pagers before entering the concert hall. Noises such as a pager going off or a cell phone ringing are very distracting to the conductor, musicians and your fellow audience members, and are considered to be quite rude. Another alternative is to set the device on vibrate, so that if an important call is received, one can retreat to the exterior of the hall to resolve the concern.
Coughing is an unavoidable problem. But, there are ways to avoid coughing during the music. If you feel a cold is coming on, please bring lozenges with you or pick one up in the lobby on your way in to the hall. The next step is crucial: unwrap them before the music begins. Unwrapping a cough drop during the performance makes more noise than you think. If you need to cough more than a few times, there’s nothing wrong with excusing yourself from the hall for the rest of the movement. Once you have left the hall, you may re-enter at the conclusion of the piece being performed.

What if I lose my tickets?

No problem – If you contact the box office (262) 547-1858 at least 24 hours prior to the concert, we can have a new set waiting at the performance.

Who can I contact with questions or concerns?

We’re ready and able to help! Contact us via email or call (262) 547-1858. Please note that all programs and artists are subject to change without notice.

When should I arrive?

We suggest you arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the concert is scheduled to begin. That will give you ample time to find your seat, relax, read the Program Notes, and watch the musicians as they take the stage. The Wisconsin Philharmonic concerts begin promptly at the announced starting time. Ticket holders who come late will not be seated in the hall until after the conclusion of the first work on the program. Concert goers who must leave the hall before or during the playing of a piece will not be reseated until after that piece is concluded. In consideration of the performers and fellow concert goers, we ask that you remain in your seat until the concert has ended.

When do I applaud?

Applause at The Wisconsin Philharmonic performances is meant both as a greeting and to show appreciation for the artists. Just before the concert begins, after all the musicians are seated, the concertmaster takes the stage. Traditionally, patrons applaud to greet the concertmaster and again a few moments later to greet the conductor and/or soloists. Once the performance begins, you’ll notice in your program book that many musical works have three or more movements or sections. A short pause often follows each movement. It is customary to refrain from applauding during these pauses. After the final movement of a work, applaud to your heart’s content. If you still aren’t certain when to applaud, a good sign is when the conductor either turns around or steps off the podium. If all else fails, you can always wait for the rest of the audience to being clapping.

May I take pictures?

The use of still, video and digital cameras and audio recording equipment is strictly prohibited at all times.

How long is a typical performance?

Although concert length varies, most performances are about two hours, including one 15 – minute intermission.

How can I purchase tickets?

The Wisconsin Philharmonic tickets may be purchased up to 24 hours before performance start timeonline, by phone at 262-547-1858, by fax at 262-547-5440, or in person at our office – 234 W. Main Street, Suite 9 in downtown Waukesha. Our office is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm. Tickets may be purchased with cash, check, and credit card (VISA, MasterCard, and Discover accepted).
Tickets are also available at the concert site beginning appoximately 1 hour before the performance.

May I bring children?

Children 6 years of age and older are welcome at all performances with a purchased ticket. We do not recommend children under six attend The Wisconsin Philharmonic concerts with the exception of our Holiday Pops and Summer Pops concerts. Children and full time students may purchase tickets at a discounted price for all concerts.