With almost 60 different performances to choose from it can be difficult to decide which concert to attend! We strive to make every performance an unforgettable experience, but if you’re unsure where to even start, we can give you a few pointers on the kind of music we perform.
Do you find inspiration in the music of the titans? Check out our Masters series, which features music at the foundation of the orchestral repertoire, composed by masters of the craft like Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, as well as new works by Canadian composers. Internationally known soloists join the ESO for virtuosic performances of works that are at the heart and soul of the symphonic tradition.
Do you indulge in the comforting and familiar music from the Baroque and Classical eras? The Midweek Classics is a sanctuary of timeless masterpieces from composers like Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart.
Do you enjoy supporting rising talent and local artists? The Sunday Showcase series puts the spotlight on ESO musicians and young, dynamic soloists at the beginning of their performing careers.
Do you enjoy concerts with lively entertainment, familiar music and charismatic performers? The Robbins Pops series covers popular music from multiple decades and genres ranging from film music to rock!
Do you like themed concerts and a variety of music – both classical and just classic? Check out the Robbins Lighter Classics, featuring engaging conductors as your guides through classical music’s “Greatest Hits”!
Do you want to share your love of orchestral music with your young children or grandchildren? Our Esso Symphony For Kids series is designed for families with children aged 5 – 12. Your kids will be entertained and educated in these interactive orchestral matinees.
Do you want a relaxed festival experience? If you love music in the great outdoors, you’ll feel right at home at Symphony Under the Sky every Labour Day long weekend.
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.
Locate the Winspear Centre on a Google map.
Just steps away from the Winspear Centre are the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Stanley A. Milner Library, the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton City Hall, and Winston Churchill Square. Opening onto the square, the Winspear Centre is literally in the middle of it all! In this section, you will find information about parking, public transit access, and the many amenities located nearby, to make your visit to the Winspear Centre part of a dynamic day or evening experience in the City of Champions - Edmonton, Alberta.
Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.
The Winspear Centre is readily accessible by both bus and LRT service. The LRT terminal is Churchill Station. Click here to be taken to the Edmonton Transit website page from which you can find maps and other useful information about taking public transit. Link will open in a new window.
The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at the City Market and at the on-street meters in the vicinity.
Metered (street) parking is free on Sundays and Statutory Holidays all day and after 6 pm Monday through Saturday.
Click here for the Parking Information page from the City of Edmonton website.
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is located in The Arts District in downtown Edmonton.
The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether dinner before the show, or a late night treat after, here is a list of restaurants located within minutes of a comfortable walk from the Winspear Centre's front doors.
Blue Plate Diner
Normand's at the Citadel
It's All Greek To Me
Lux Steakhouse & Bar
Moriarty's Bistro & Wine Bar
Pradera Café & Lounge (in the Westin)
Riverside Bistro (in Marriott Hotel)
Rose & Crown Pub
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sorrentino's Bistro Bar
Three Bananas Cafe
Zinc (Art Gallery of Alberta)
Downtown Edmonton offers the City’s premier hotels and all the amenities you require at your doorstep. The list below is only a partial one - there are many downtown accommodations - but this is the preferred list of accommodations for the Winspear Centre and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Clicking the links below will take you to that hotel's website. External links will open in a new window.
The members of The Arts District are:
For some, a concert in a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy. Business casual is probably a great middle ground.
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performances begin promptly at the scheduled time. Check your ticket carefully; some of our performances begin at 8 pm, while others begin at 7:30 pm, while weekend matinees begin at 2 pm. In consideration of our audience, and for the acoustically splendid Winspear Centre, latecomers will not be seated until a suitable break in the performance.
Plan to arrive at least a half hour prior to your concert’s scheduled start time. This will leave you enough time to park, check your coat if you wish to do that, and perhaps enjoy a drink or a nibble before your performance.
Our Classic Landmarks Masters series performances on Saturday evenings feature an entertaining pre-concert introduction to the music on that night’s performance. Symphony Preludes are informal, free half-hour presentations by a wide range of music authorities that begin at 7:15 pm at performances in the Classic Landmark Masters. They take place on the Third Level Lobby, and are worth coming early for!
There's a bit of a ritual, it may appear, with orchestral performances, and it can seem unsettling. If you’re not sure about when you’re supposed to do what, a good rule of thumb is that if everyone else is clapping, it’s OK for you to do so as well.
Typically, it is considered polite to clap upon the entrance onstage of our Concertmaster, who leads the orchestra in a final tuning prior to the performance. Next, applause is given to the entrance of that performance’s conductor.
But now, it gets tricky, for some. It has become traditional at orchestral performances of standard “classical” music, out of respect for a composer’s entire work, to wait until the whole work has been performed before applauding.
So let’s take a look at a typical classical performance, which features an “overture,” a “concerto,” and a “symphony.” Here’s how it looks in the program:
Antinomie, Op.23 (9’)*
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op.92 (35’)*
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op.83 (47’)
Notice all those Italian words under the titles of both the Beethoven symphony and the Brahms concerto. Those are the individual “movements,” or the separate parts which make up the whole work. The Beethoven symphony has a fast first movement, a slower second movement, a fast third movement, and a jolly and quick fourth movement. So there are three times the work stops or pauses before the entire piece is done. Typically, custom would have us wait until the last note of the Allegro con brio (in the case of the Beethoven) or the Allegretto grazioso (in the case of the Brahms) was played before everyone applauds. You’ll also notice to the right the approximate length of the entire work. So if there’s a pause 10 minutes into the symphony, chances are it’s not done yet.
But like just about anything connected with classical music, there are exceptions even to this “rule.” There are some works, and some performers, who truly take your breath away, even before they’re “done.” That’s one of the true joys of the live concert experience – you never know when your breath may be taken away. And there’s nothing that says that a pulse-pounding performance of the opening movement of a work cannot move you to applaud – even before the whole work is done. If you are so moved, chances are at least some of your other concert-goers will be too – and applause would not be unwelcome in such circumstances.
The world-renowned Francis Winspear Centre for Music is one of the best places to hear live music. But just as you are able to hear every nuance of a performance, so other noises are easy to hear as well. So be as respectful of your fellow patrons as you hope they will be to you. If you feel a coughing fit coming on, our fabulous front of house staff can direct you to a room where you can hear the performance while you clear your throat.
Please unwrap any cough candies or breath mints etc. before the performance begins. In between movements of longer works are a good time to clear your throat.
Also, please ensure that pagers and cell phones are switched off before you settle into your seat.
Recording devices of any kind, audio, video or photographic, are NOT permitted at Edmonton Symphony performances. Cameras, cell phones and other recording devices are best left at coat check. If you need to be available to someone during the performance (a babysitter, or if you are on call), let our front of house staff know where you are sitting, and they can alert you.
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.
Patrons who would wish to smoke must do so outside the Winspear Centre, at least 5 metres from any entrance, in accordance with Alberta smoking laws. Please note that our liquor license requires that we must not allow drinks to be taken outside and back inside. So you’ll need to leave your drink (if you have one) inside while you step outside.