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New Program Gives MIT Students Free Tickets to BSO

By David D. Hsu

MIT students can now receive free tickets to Boston Symphony Orchestra performances at Symphony Hall.

Under this program MIT students may attend open rehearsals and concerts on Tuesday evenings and Friday afternoons, said Ellen T. Harris, associate provost of the arts. Students must present their ID cards to the Symphony Hall box office on the day of the concert, she said. Students will receive tickets unless the concert has been sold out.

Currently, MIT is the only university involved in the BSO program which started last Friday, Harris said.

Harris and the Council for the Arts negotiated this program with the BSO.

"There has always been a strong relationship between the Symphony and MIT. I repeatedly suggested some kind of ticket system that would parallel the program with the Museum of Fine Arts," Harris said.

Under the ticket system, MIT will pay an upfront fee of $5,000 for the experimental first year, Harris said. The BSO will monitor the number of MIT tickets and re-evaluate the program at the end of the year, she said.

"I am happy that this gives MIT students an advantage," Harris said. In past years, MIT students could avoid paying full price by purchasing rush tickets or through group sales, she said. Unfortunately, rush tickets could only be purchased during the hour before a concert. The new program allows tickets to be obtained any time during the day of the concert, she said.

Without prices as a barrier, the program also helps expose more MIT students to the Boston art community, Harris said. "The MIT student is very broadly interested in the world around him or her," she said. "It would be a real shame if MIT students didn't take advantages of opportunities around Boston."

Students welcome this new program.

"I think it's an excellent opportunity. It's not that often that students get to experience something like the Boston Symphony for free," said Tracy A Back '95.

"It's an opportunity for students to experience something they normally wouldn't otherwise experience," said Clarence B. Applegate '95. "I certainly plan to use it in the future."

If the first year is successful, the Council for the Arts will attempt to include MIT faculty and staff in the program, Harris said. The BSO may consider adding other colleges to the program. The Council may also try to start similar programs in ballet or theater, Harris said.