The best things in life are free

Music department offers free tickets to students for all concerts this year


Free concerts featuring world-renowned musicians are rare, but that’s what the music department is offering UB students this year.

Students who present a valid UB ID can get free tickets to all of the music department performances for the 2014-15 season.

Until now, students who were not music majors had to pay for most of the music department’s concerts, with the exception of the faculty recitals.

Phil Rehard, the music department’s concert manager, said they noticed 15 to 20 additional students in attendance when they allowed non-music majors to see faculty concerts for free. He hopes the department’s new policy combined with additional advertising will bring more people to Slee Hall concerts.

Rehard said the new chair of the concert committee, Eric Heubner, an assist professor in the Department of Music and pianist for the New York Philharmonic, was instrumental in the changes to the ticket policy.

“We wanted to make sure students took advantage of an opportunity to hear [high-profile artists] in Buffalo,” Heubner said. “It’s not every university or school or department of music that can bring artists of this caliber. The free tickets in essence are the best way to advertise what we’re doing.”

The first show is a Beethoven String Quartet performance by the Miró Quartet on Friday, Sept. 19. Performances this year include faculty recitals, like Jean Kopperud playing clarinet, Visiting Artists Series’ performances like Christopher Houlihan on organ and Master Class performances by the Horszowki Trio, world-renowned violinist Jennifer Koh, and many others.

Rehard said some of the costs are being covered by increased ticket prices for non-students – up by $3 for general admission and $1 for senior citizens – and by the department’s endowment. But he said this is a gamble to get more students to attend, which he hopes will bolster attendance as a whole in the long run.

“There are 30,000 students on campus, so if 100 students would learn about this who are interested in classical music would come over and take advantage of this that would be pretty amazing,” Rehard said. “That would make quite the impact. Then maybe they’ll tell their friends [and] get more people to here for these concerts.”

Heubner said he noticed the increased attendance during his recitals when they began giving more free tickets. He enjoys being able to perform in Slee Hall with his colleagues, who he said are “all wonderful performing musicians themselves.” He also enjoys playing in front of his students, who he hopes learn something from each of his recitals.

“I think the acoustics [in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall] are good for classical performances,” said Jeff Knorr, a graduate music theory student and bass player for the orchestra. “I hope [attendance] increases because it’s nice to see more people in the audience to appreciate the music.”

Knorr feels a lot of students aren’t aware of the performances put on by the music department and hopes students take advantage of the opportunities the free tickets provide.