College Night: What to Expect

Before The Concert

Your College Night journey begins online. Order $15 all-inclusive Student Tickets on the College Night page. When you click “Order Now,” the STUDENT promo code will be applied automatically. No separate ticket to the preconcert event is required.

Please remember to bring your Student ID. For more details on student-ticket purchasing eligibility and requirements, please visit the Student Tickets page.

College Night Schedule At A Glance

5:30 p.m. Pizza and cookies (Buntrock Hall)
6:30 p.m. Q&A (Grainger Ballroom)
7:30 p.m. Mahler 4 (Orchestra Hall)

Entering Symphony Center

For the most efficient journey to Buntrock Hall, enter Symphony Center on Adams Street. The door is located beneath the Symphony Store sign.

Adams Street entrance of Symphony Center

Continue past the security desk to the Rotunda staircase. Ushers will be stationed at the base of the staircase to scan your ticket. Proceed up the staircase, or to the gold elevator behind the staircase, to the second floor. Colored lights in the Rotunda provide a subdued, moody atmosphere.

The Rotunda, at the lobby level off Adams Street

Staffers will be available to help answer any questions you might have, including ushers in red jackets, House Manager Jenise Sheppard and Kate McDuffie, Community Marketing Coordinator (and College Night organizer). 

On the second floor of the Rotunda, you are encouraged to take a selfie in front of the CSO step-and-repeat backdrop and tag @chicagosymphonystudents in your post! A few two-seater tables will be available in the Rotunda for early arrivals wishing to sit before the event begins.

Second floor of the Rotunda, with the entrance to Buntrock Hall at the left

5:30 p.m. Pizza and Cookies

At 5:30 p.m., Buntrock Hall will open for dinner and dessert. Jet’s pizza will be served along with an assortment of cookies and sodas, including Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite, as well as bottled water. Gluten-free pizza and cookies will be available for those with dietary restrictions. Food and drinks will be served at tables along the walls, while round tables suitable for 8-10 guests will be positioned in the center. Please note that all food and beverage is available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Lighting will be dim and colored and there will be music playing at a moderate volume.

From 5:50-6:20, CSO Student Ambassadors from DePaul University Ryan Holmes, Joshua Camper and Zachary Fitzgerald will lead an optional CSO Trivia game in Buntrock Hall. Those who do not wish to participate are still welcome to eat and talk with friends in Buntrock Hall or in the Rotunda.

Restrooms are available on the second floor, directly across the Rotunda from Buntrock Hall.

6:30 p.m. Q&A with John Bruce Yeh

At 6:20 p.m., ushers and CSO Student Ambassadors will begin to direct students to Grainger Ballroom, where CSO Student Ambassador from UIC Ivan Tedrowe will lead a Q&A with CSO Assistant Principal Clarinet and E flat Clarinet, John Bruce Yeh.

There are two ways to access Grainger Ballroom from Buntrock Hall:

  • Via the second-floor Arcade (use of stairs required)
  • Via the second floor elevators (accessible): Take the second-floor elevator down to the Rotunda lobby. Then proceed to the Michigan Avenue lobby via the first-floor Arcade (on your right as you exit the elevator). An usher will direct you to the elevator with access to Grainger Ballroom.

The Q&A will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and last approximately 30 minutes.

After the Q&A ends, you will have about 30 minutes to find your seat and purchase concessions—a concession stand will be open just outside the entrance to Grainger Ballroom. Ushers will also be stationed on the Grainger Ballroom level should you need help finding the best route to your seat.

Restrooms are available just outside Grainger Ballroom, near the the Box Seats.

7:30 p.m. Concert Begins

The concert begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. and will last approximately 1 hour 55 minutes, with one 20-minute intermission after the second piece.

Susanna Mälkki conducts a thought-provoking program anchored by Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. This celestial score, which includes a cryptic dance of death, is announced with sleigh bells and a rustic melody that ends with a child’s view of heaven, delivered here by soprano Ying Fang. Principal Flute Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson is the soloist in a newly commissioned concerto written for him by the esteemed Lowell Liebermann.

The stage of Orchestra Hall, as viewed from rear

More information

Please contact Patron Services with any questions about College Night, accessibility or the concertgoing experience.

We look forward to welcoming you to Symphony Center!