I didn’t know about this program until recently, but it caught my eyes when I was browsing the 2018-2019 season schedule. Thanks to a donor, they reserve a certain amount of tickets for concerts that happen around 11am or 2pm or Fridays for people between the ages 13-26. It’s a first come first come basis, and sign-ups start at 12pm on the Monday before the concert.
My strategy is to book a calendar invite for 11:55 am on Mondays where the concert is available. They don’t always open exactly at 12pm, so you might have to wait 5-10 minutes before it opens up. In addition, if Monday is a holiday, they won’t have this program available.
Once you submit your form and get in (not waitlisted), you’ll get the following email immediately.
The day after, you will receive an email on time period where you can pick up your tickets. Make sure you call before noon on Thursday if you can’t make the concert, and make sure you arrive on time to pick up the tickets. This is a very generous program, and you should try to respect the full process, especially since there are many other people that want tickets.
Once you know when to pick up the tickets, you’ll arrive at Geffen hall and go inside. You’ll see a line all the way on the left on booth 2 where it says “free fridays.” The line is usually very short, you show them your ID, and they’ll hand you the ticket! This was my first time, so I’m not sure what seats they reserve, but my seats were row OO in the right corner. I’d imagine these aren’t going to be center orchestra or tier 1 seats, but they’re free and still decent. I don’t think it is an entire section that’s put on hold since I didn’t see any other person that fits ages 13-26, so it’s not obvious that you were part of the program.
I’m so glad NY Philharmonic’s free fridays program is a thing, especially since there are a ton of good programs this season. It’s a bit unfortunate that all the concerts are during work hours, but they can only do this for concerts that are slightly less in demand. Needless to say, I will be taking advantage of this more this season!