Where can students buy discount classical music tickets in the Twin Cities?

by Rebecca Schultz
January 3, 2014
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University of Minnesota students (Tim Post/MPR)


Ten orchestras and venues in London — including the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, and others — have collaborated to create Student Pulse, an app that allows students to find and purchase discounted tickets for classical music concerts. According to a report by M Magazine, the demand for discounted tickets is high — Student Pulse has seen a 140 percent increase in the number of downloads since September, and ticket sales through the app have increased by 200 percent.

While there may not be a touch-of-a-button method for purchasing discounted tickets in the Twin Cities just yet, there are a number of affordable opportunities for students (and others) to hear live classical music in the area.

Student rush/discount tickets for professional performances

When seats are available, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra offers student rush tickets for $10 with a valid student I.D. an hour before regular season concert performances. Alternatively, If you're between 20 and 39 years of age, you're eligible to join the SPCO's club2030 and get $10 tickets to any SPCO concert at the Ordway or Ted Mann Concert Hall. Registration is free.

30 minutes prior to each concert in the International Arts Series, the Schubert Club offers empty seats to students for $12 (cash only). Check this list to view upcoming recitalists in the series. Tickets for Accordo shows presented by the Schubert Club are always $12 with a student ID.

The Minnesota Opera offers both a general public rush and a student/senior discount. Rush tickets are available at the Ordway 90 minutes before curtain (subject to availability). All remaining seats are 50% off the original ticket price. The student/senior discounts are available on weeknight performances (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and can be purchased through the box office for a 10% discount (prices ranging from $20-$170 depending on the seat). They also offer a special program called Tempo, a $50 annual membership for young professionals between the ages of 21 and 39. Benefits include discounts up to 76% for opening night performances.

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, who just announced a new 10-concert season, will be performing this winter and spring at a number of venues, including the University of Minnesota's Ted Mann Concert Hall, Northrop Memorial Auditorium, and the O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University. Rush tickets vary performance to performance depending on venue, but the upcoming show, "Memory and Reverence: Minnesota Chorale in Mozart's Requiem" at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on January 10 and 11 will feature $10 student rush tickets if seats are available.

Free admission for amateur ensemble performances

The Roseville String Ensemble — the Twin Cities' only amateur string orchestra — performs three free public concerts each season. The next and last show of the season is on April 26 at Hamline University and will feature Harpsichord Concerto in D minor (Bach), Sinfonia No. 5 in B flat (Mendelssohn), and more.

The University of Minnesota School of Music has a number of student ensembles that perform a few times a year for free, including the University Symphony Orchestra, the Campus String Orchestra, and the University Choral Ensembles. Check here for a list of all upcoming events put on by the music school.

The Lirica Chamber Ensemble, a small group of musicians dedicated to performing standard, new, and seldom-heard works for string chamber orchestra, performs a few times a year at different venues. Admission is always free.

If you have a favorite Minnesota ensemble offering free or discount admission for students, please share in the comments!

Rebecca Schultz, a Minneapolis transplant by way of Chicago, is a reader, eater, and tweeter. She blogs at rebecca-schultz.com.