BU Today

Arts & Entertainment

Bringing the Arts to Campus and the Campus to the Arts


A tight budget is no longer a reason for BU students to miss out on performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. With a BSO College Card, they can now attend 27 BSO concerts and open rehearsals — for free.

While BSO College Cards have been available for $25 to students from any college or university, BU students no longer have to pay for the card, the result of a yearlong collaboration of the College of Fine Arts, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the BSO. The cards are also available to BU faculty and staff, enabling them to buy tickets for half the regular price.

The first performance available to cardholders is tonight, October 11, at 8 p.m. The concert features conductor Robert Spano and organist Simon Preston, who will join the BSO in performing works by composers Michael Gandolfi, Francis Poulenc, and Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. Harlow Robinson, Northeastern University’s Matthews Distinguished University Professor and a specialist in Soviet and Russian cultural history, will give a preconcert talk at 6:45 p.m.

The card program is in line with President Robert A. Brown’s goal of making the arts an important part of every BU student’s education. Walt Meissner, CFA dean ad interim, led the effort, and he hopes the program will encourage more students to get involved with the arts at CFA as well. “Just as BU is an arts and cultural leader in the city of Boston,” Meissner says, “I want CFA to be a leader on campus, welcoming and encouraging all BU students to make the arts a part of their everyday lives.”

Anyone with a BU I.D. can pick up a BSO College Card until Friday, October 19, at the CFA dean’s office, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 230. For the remainder of the year, the cards will be available at the George Sherman Union Information Desk, 775 Commonwealth Ave., second floor. There is a limit of one card per person.

Faculty and staff members who show a BSO College Card at the box office can buy tickets for half price, a discount offered to no other college or university, according to Jean Connaughton, a CFA public relations associate. “BU” is printed on the front and back of the card, an aspect unique to the program, she says. Students from other colleges and universities receive a generic card.

The BSO has scheduled 19 concerts and 8 open rehearsals for cardholders, but plans to include other concerts throughout the year. Students can check the BSO Web site for updates and can register their card online (each card has a unique registration number) to receive e-mails and special offers from the BSO. The dates of available performances — at least one every month from October to March — are printed on the back of the card. 

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore “thought it was wonderful,” he says, when Meissner approached him about the program. “This is just another opportunity for our students to engage in one of the great cultural spaces and one of the great cultural organizations within the city,” Elmore says. “The BSO is part of what gives this city some character.”

Students must pick up tickets, which are first-come, first-served, at the Symphony Hall box office, 301 Massachusetts Ave., between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. the day of the performance, with a BSO College Card and a valid student I.D. They can check the BSO Web site or call 617-638-9478 to check the availability of tickets on the day of the performance.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.