Wednesday, July 28, 2021

You'd Think This Would Be Easy.

Davies Symphony Hall
Photo by me

I might have mentioned that San Francisco Symphony has an unbelievably schedule this year, with a great assortment of works, performers, and conductors, starting with Esa-Pekka Salonen, continuing through the SFSoundbox series, including a ton of new and new-to-SFS works.

I've been trying to figure out what to buy tickets to, and how much to spend, so I finally printed out the calendar, which shows every Davies performance plus chamber music programs that are elsewhere. It's in chronological order and there's nothing fancy about it. It took me about 15 minutes to scan and mark up. It turns out that there are around 25 orchestral programs that I want to see, plus a couple of youth symphony programs, a couple of Great Performers programs, some chamber programs, and a couple of films. The General with organ accompaniment? Hell, yes!

Then I called the symphony box office to ask what I thought should be an easy question to answer: which Friday and Saturday subscriptions will give me largest number of orchestral programs? And the first answer was "Open your printed season guide...." even though I had said "I am working from the calendar." I said that I didn't have it,* and the representative offered to email it to me. I said that I know where it is on line (I had been looking at it earlier and realized I wanted the quick and easy answer.)

I pressed the rep for a more....definitive answer, and clearly the person had to look this up, because they started to tell me the options. The person was figuring it out on the fly. I can do that myself, so I finally just said, "Okay, clearly I have to figure this out myself, if you can't answer this quickly, so thank you and goodbye."

Come ON. SFS, you can do better than this. I want to buy tickets THIS WEEK because it's possible to qualify for some benefits, and your rep can't say "To get all of the SFS orchestral programs on a Friday or Saturday, here are the subscription combos that work." Considering that it's pretty hard to sell subscriptions, you should be jumping to answer this question.

* It's actually weird that I don't, unless it's buried here someplace.

Update: It turns out that the answer to my question was simple: buy series A, B, C, and D on either Friday or Saturday. That's how you get tickets to all of the Orchestral Series programs. Two SFS reps whom I spoke to couldn't answer this. One of my readers did know the answer but didn't initially understand the question. 



Michael Good said...

There are many things I don't like about classical music web sites but this seems pretty straight ahead to answer on the SFS site.

Go to Click on the big SUBSCRIBE button. Login or proceed wit a new subscription. Click on View Package for Orchestral Series, the first choice on the page and pretty obviously named. Click on Saturday and you can see the four series. Click on Friday and you'll see the choices there. Click on the right to Explore Other Packages.

Maybe the person on the phone was thrown by the question of "what has the largest number of orchestral programs" since they're divided up into several mix and match series.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I think you're answering the question "how do I subscribe?", which is not the question I was asking. I do know how to buy tickets.

My question is "To which combination of series do I subscribe so that I have tickets to every orchestral-series concert?", because there's overlap. The rep I spoke to didn't know.

Michael Good said...

In the Saturday orchestral series there's no overlap, each series is 7 distinct concerts. So at least in the Saturday context your question isn't making a lot of sense, making it hard for anyone to answer.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Except for the fact that Saturday Z has 14 concerts, you just answered my question. All they needed to say was "Get Friday or Saturday A, B, C, and D." It is not obvious that there's no overlap.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm going to have to update my update. A, B, C, D on Friday gets you a lot of duplicates and the SFS box office called me yesterday to clarify what I really wanted. They were apologetic that the folks I'd previously spoken to didn't know the answer to my question. They also understood exactly what I was asking.