Whether you’re new to Symphony Center or a longtime attendee, there are plenty of opportunities to enhance your concert experience and learn more about the music and artists you love.

Preconcert Conversations

Symphony Center offers complimentary preconcert conversations with leading musical experts that provide historical and cultural context for the music on your program.

Conversations take place in either Grainger Ballroom or in Orchestra Hall and last approximately 30 minutes. Start times vary based on concert series: 75 minutes before Chicago Symphony Orchestra and CSO at the Movies concerts, 90 minutes before Civic Orchestra concerts and 60 minutes before select Symphony Center Presents Jazz concerts, lasting approximately 30 minutes.

Admission is free with a concert ticket, however space can be limited and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Visit the event page for your concert to see details on speakers, special guests and locations, or read the complete schedule.

Program Notes

Program notes offer an in depth look at the works being performed on the program, engagingly describing the histories and personalities behind the music. Notes are available in a variety of formats, including audio, video and PDF, and in program books available at the concerts. Visit our digital program notes gallery to access notes any time before or after your concert.

Sounds & Stories

Designed to enhance the concert-going experience, CSO Sounds & Stories is the online multimedia destination for all things CSO. Visit Sounds & Stories to preview articles about upcoming programs, audio and video clips featuring the orchestra and visiting artists and view program notes about this season’s concerts.

Classic Encounter

For an unconventional preconcert experience complete with drinks and light bites, join us for Classic Encounter. Legendary WXRT Radio DJ Terri Hemmert and CSO musicians reveal how classical music connects to the legends of Woodstock and beyond with fun multimedia presentations. You can add Classic Encounter to your concert experience at cso.org/encounter or call 312-294-3000 for additional information.

Postconcert Q&As with Artists

Head to Grainger Ballroom after each Tuesday evening CSO Main concert for moderated Q&A sessions with CSO musicians and guest artists. It’s your opportunity to ask your burning questions about that evening’s performance and get the inside scoop on what it takes to become one of the world-class musicians of the CSO.