What is the Handel and Haydn Society?
Founded in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society (“H&H”) is considered America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. Its Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus are internationally recognized in the field of Historically Informed Performance and known for excellence and innovation in music education.
Read more about the Handel and Haydn Society »
Read more about our Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus »
Read more about Historically Informed Performance »
Read more about Handel and Haydn’s educational outreach program »
What is Historically Informed Performance?
Historically Informed Performance (HIP) is the practice of performing works as composers intended, using period instruments (from the composer’s time or built like those that existed then) and ensembles comparable in size to those that would have performed during the composer’s lifetime.
Who are Handel and Haydn?
George Frideric Handel (Halle 1685–London 1750) was one of the great composers of the Baroque era. Born Georg Friedrich Händel in Germany in 1685, he anglicized his name when he became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He studied in Germany and Italy before settling in London, and was heavily influenced by both the Italian Baroque and German choral traditions. He is most famous for his oratorios, including Messiah, but also made important contributions to opera and chamber music.
Joseph Haydn (Rohrau 1732–Vienna 1809), or Franz Joseph Haydn, was one of the great composers of the Classical era. Like Handel, he made important contributions to the oratorio genre, most notably with The Creation. He was known for being a musical jokester, and wrote many false endings, surprising loud chords, and even pauses for violins to re-tune. He is often considered the father of both the symphony and the string quartet.
Do you only play music by Handel and Haydn?
Despite its name, H&H does not exclusively play the music of Handel and Haydn. At the time of its founding in 1815, H&H’s name was chosen to honor Handel, then considered the greatest of the “old” composers of the Baroque period (1600–1750), and Haydn, considered the greatest of the “new” composers of the Classical period (1750–1830). A model of innovation and excellence, H&H has presented countless American and Boston premieres of works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Verdi, as well as Handel and Haydn.
What music are you performing this season?
Highlights of the 2012–2013 Season include Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, H&H’s 159th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, Purcell’s dramatic semiopera, The Indian Queen, Beethoven’s masterful Symphony No. 7, and Handel’s Jephtha, premiered in the US by H&H in 1855.
Who is your artistic leader? Who conducts performances?
Artistic Director Harry Christophers conceptualizes and plans the entire season. He leads five of the nine concert programs this season. The remaining concerts of the 2012-2013 Season are led by Bernard Labadie, H&H Associate Conductor John Finney, Richard Egarr, and H&H keyboardist Ian Watson.
How do I order tickets?
You may purchase tickets by calling our Box Office at 617 266 3605, visiting us at Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, or ordering through our website. Our Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10am–6pm. Hours on concert Fridays are 10am–3pm. Summer hours are Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm.
Tickets are also available for purchase at the concert hall beginning 90 minutes prior to the start of the performance.
Can I get a refund for my tickets?
Unfortunately, tickets are nonrefundable. We encourage you to exchange your tickets for a different program in our season or return them as a tax-deductible donation in advance of the concert.
How do I exchange my tickets?
We’re happy to exchange your ticket for any ticket of equal value to any performance remaining in the subscription season. If you would like to upgrade your seats, you will be charged the difference between your new and original tickets. No refunds are available if you choose to exchange your ticket for a lower-priced seat.
Fill in all required fields and attach an image of your torn original tickets via our online exchange form at any time:
By Fax or Email
Tear your tickets in half and photocopy, photograph, or scan the torn tickets. Do your best to make sure that the seating location is readable and that the reproduction shows the front of your tickets. Then either fax the photocopy to 617 266 4217 or email the image to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the ticket exchange form. If you do not have a form, please include a note with your full name, address, phone number, the date to which you would like to switch, and any seating preferences you may have.
By Mail or In Person
Bring your tickets for exchange to the Box Office or mail tickets and exchange form to:
Handel and Haydn Society
300 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
If you do not have an exchange form, please include a note with your full name, address, phone number, the date to which you would like to switch, and any seating preferences you may have.
Does it cost anything to exchange my tickets?
Exchanges are free for subscribers. All other patrons pay a single $5 exchange fee per transaction. Ticket exchange requests must be submitted at least five hours prior to concert out of which you are exchanging.
How do I return my tickets as a tax-deductible donation?
If you are unable to attend the concert, please consider making your seats available to other patrons by returning your ticket as a donation. This is considered a tax-deductible contribution and we will mail you a receipt for their value. Your tickets may be donated by mail, in person, by email, or by fax using the same methods described in the ticket exchange section above. Please indicate that you are donating your tickets. In order to acknowledge your donation, we must receive your request before the performance begins.
What if I lose my tickets?
Call our Box Office at 617 266 3605 to notify us and we will be happy to reprint your tickets. Reprinted tickets will be held at Will Call. Please note, if you purchased your tickets through a third party, such as BosTix or a concert hall’s own box office, you must contact that third party vendor.
When do single tickets go on sale?
Single tickets go on sale in mid- to late August. Join our email list to receive an announcement of the official start date.
When do subscriptions go on sale?
Subscriptions go on sale at the time we announce our upcoming season, in late winter.
What is a subscription?
A subscription is a ticket package that includes tickets for three or more different programs in a concert season. Our subscription packages offer significant discounts off our individual ticket prices and entitle the purchasers to additional benefits, such as advance seating, free exchanges, and discounts on additional ticket purchases.
When do you announce the next season?
We announce our upcoming season in late winter.
Are H&H concerts accessible?
H&H offers accessible seating and other accommodations to suit your needs at all concerts. Please inform the Box Office of any accessibility needs when placing your ticket order.
All venues offer wheelchair accessible, ground level, and aisle seating options. Assisted listening devices and large-print program books are available at the hall.
If you require a Braille program book, please contact the Box Office three weeks in advance of the concert. If you or a member of your party will be bringing a service animal to the concert, please inform the Box Office so we may seat you appropriately.
May I bring my child?
H&H is happy to welcome children five and older to our performances. We do ask that you carefully consider your child's ability to sit through the performance, as some concerts are fairly long. If you have any questions, please call our box office at 617 266 3605 and we will advise you about whether a program is appropriate for children. Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket for admittance.
Most H&H concerts begin at 8pm (Friday evenings) or 3pm (Sunday afternoons). Pre-Concert Conversations take place an hour beforehand. Doors open 60 minutes before the concert. Please allow at least half an hour to pick up your tickets and find your seats in time before the concert begins. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management.
While there is no dress code for H&H concerts, many patrons wear business casual or semi-formal attire. At the opening concert of the season and around the holidays, attire may generally be more formal and festive.
Please silence all cell phones, watches, pagers, alarms, and other noise-making or light-emitting devices.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was commonplace for the premiere of a Corelli concerto grosso or a Mozart string quartet to be given not in a concert hall, but rather at a dinner party, where guests were more intently focused on their food and conversations than on the music. An Italian opera house was a place to be seen in an elegant new garment, converse with friends, and perhaps even play cards, pausing occasionally to hear a favorite soprano sing an aria and shower her with cheers and applause. At the symphony, a composer would gladly welcome any sign that his music was well received, even—or perhaps especially—if the audience was moved to applause between movements of a piece. J.S. Bach, on the other hand, performed the majority of his music in church, where any applause would have been considered inappropriate.
Over time, however, concert etiquette has evolved. Many 19th- and 20th- century composers wished audiences to remain silent during performances and devote their full attention to the music. It also became customary not to applaud between movements or after solos so as not to interrupt the flow of the piece. While, in the spirit of true historically informed performance, audiences today might occasionally break into applause after a particularly stirring movement or a virtuosic solo passage, in general it is considered polite to wait until the conductor has lowered his or her hands after the piece’s final movement.