Concert Goers Guide

We wish to make your CSO concert experience as enjoyable as possible. It is our pleasure to welcome you and we look forward to seeing you at a CSO event. 

Anything else you want to know? Give us an email at 


  • What is a symphony orchestra? +

    A large instrumental ensemble made up of four different sections consisting of strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. For most of our concerts there are usually around 60 to 70 musicians performing on stage.

  • Does a symphony orchestra only play classical music? +

    The CSO plays a wide range of music styles and genres – from classical to contemporary and jazz to popular, as well as performing with ballets, operas and choirs.

  • How to book tickets +

    From 1st February, you can book directly through Eventfinda or by calling 0800 289 849. Please note that Eventfinda does not operate a weekend phone servic so please feel free to call the CSO directly on 03 943 7797. 

    Ticket Types

    We offer a range of ticket types for our concerts and various different seating areas. For your information, please find below a description of some of these ticket types: 

    • Concessions - Gold card holders and Community Services Card holders are eligible for a Concession price tickets at CSO self-presented concerts. Please note that idientification may be required.
    • Child price - This applies to anyone 18 years or younger. 
    • Student price - This applies to tertiary students. A form of student ID will b required on booking. 
    • Lap tickets - Children under 2 are free of charge but we request that they are on a parent or caregivers' lap. 
    • Wheelchair seating - There is wheelchair seating available and these are marked on the seating maps. The price of the wheelchair ticket also includes a companion seat. Tickets can be purchased through Eventfinda or by calling the CSO on 03 943 7797. 

    Service, booking and credit card fees may apply to the prices advertised. 

  • Can children go to CSO concerts? +

    Absolutely – children are welcome to attend CSO concerts and we have tickets available at a discounted price for those 18 years and younger. 

  • Do I need to dress formally to go to an orchestra concert? +

    No, just wear whatever you feel comfortable in. If you’d like to dress up however, you are most welcome to.

  • Mobile phones +

    Mobile phones can be brought to concerts but please make sure that it is turned off or silenced throughout the duration of the concert. 

  • Photography, video or recording +

    We ask that you do not take photos, video or record the concerts. We're very happy for photos to be taken before and after concerts. 

  • Refreshments +

    There are bars available in the Christchurch Town Hall Foyer for the purchase of pre and interval drinks. 

    The venue managers reserve the right to prohibit drinks inside the auditorium. 

  • Public Transport +

    For information on the best bus route to the Christchurch Town Hall, please visit

    It is approximately a 13 minute walk from the Bus Interchange to the Christchurch Town Hall. 

  • Parking +

    Below are some car park options that are in the vicinity of the Christchurch Town Hall: 

    Christchurch City Council Carpark

    105 Worcester Street

    Hourly rate - $2.00, 9am to 5pm, Mon to fri
    $2.00 flat rate for 24 hours on weekends 

    Please note that text park is not available. 

    Wilsons Car Park

    772-774 Colombo Street

    Hourly rate - $3.00
    12 hour parking - $6.00

    118 Victoria Street

    Hourly rate - $3.60
    Weekends - $6.00 for 12 hours

    Christchurch Casino

    Peterborough Street

    Hourly rate - $3.00, first hour free

    Street Parking 

    Street parking is available around the Town Hall on Colombo, Kilmore, and Victoria Streets. 

    For more details on where to park, please visit


  • Concert Arrival +

    We open the doors to our concerts approximately 30 minutes before the start of the performance. We would recommend that you leave enough time to find a car park, grab a drink, etc.

    For some of our concerts, we have a lock-out for the first piece of music so we may need to ask latecomers to wait until it has finished. 

  • Who is the person who stands up at the start of the concert and makes everyone play different notes? +

    This is the Concertmaster – he or she is the leader of the orchestra and they get up at the start to ‘tune’ the orchestra. The players all ‘tune’ so that their instrument’s ‘A’ matches the ‘A’ that is played by the oboe. It is really important that musicians tune at the start of the performance, as changes in temperature and humidity can easily make their instruments of out of tune. 

  • Why do the players stand up when the Conductor comes on? +

    This is something that orchestras have done for many years and it is a traditional way of showing respect to the Conductor.

  • How do I know what piece they are playing? +

    The pieces that are being played in each performance are listed in order in the concert programme that you can purchase for $5 each before the start of the concert or in the interval. The pieces are also listed on our website and in our season brochure. 

  • Applause +

    We love applause so please feel free to clap as loud as you like. Usually people applaud at the end of each piece. Some pieces come in several movements with a small break between each. It's usual not to clap during these breaks. If in doubt about when to clap, wait until everyone else starts up. 

  • Playlists +

    A playlist featuring the music for most of our concerts will be available prior to the performance on our website.