The Baltimore Sun reports that when the box office opened last Saturday morning (March 3), about 150 people were already in line at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, ready to snap up the tickets. Music director-designate Marin Alsop was on hand to give out doughnuts to the eager subscribers.
For the 2007-2008 season, new and current Baltimore Symphony subscribers pay only $25 per concert for seats anywhere in the house, including box seats that can sell for three times as much. Orchestra officials unveiled the discounted tickets as a way to boost attendance, cutting the average cost of classical and pops programs by 40 percent.
Charles Shubow, an administrative judge, told the Sun that he hadn't subscribed to the Symphony for years, but Alsop's appointment prompted his return.
Lawyer Brendan Hurson, 29, said, "I wouldn't be a subscriber if not for the deal. If you do the math, it's amazing."
Subscribers can purchase a minimum of three pre-selected shows for $75 or six of their own preference for $150. The six-concert series is a savings of nearly $100 over last year.
Paul Meecham, Baltimore Symphony president and chief executive, told the Sun that subscription renewals have increased, and those who have renewed so far have purchased close to 16 tickets each this year, up 25 percent from this time last year. Despite the decrease in price, subscription revenue is five times higher than this time last year.
According to the Sun, Meecham would not commit to offering the deal next year, however. The new pricing was made possible by a $1 million grant from the PNC Foundation, the charitable arm of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group.
Alsop's programming next season offers Beethoven paired with works by living composers. Seventeen compositions will be receiving their first BSO performances.
Alsop told the Sun, "The combination of really exciting programs with a lot of variety and this new price initiative is perfect. It's great for people who have never been to the symphony. They can try it and don't feel like they've spent their life savings."