Ages 7-17

Free kids tickets for National Philharmonic

The National Philharmonic offers free tickets to its concerts for kids ages 7 to 17.
The National Philharmonic offers free tickets to its concerts for kids ages 7 to 17. (Jay Mallin)
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Friday, November 27, 2009

The National Philharmonic doesn't think you should call a babysitter in order to take in one of its performances. In fact, you can bring the children -- on the house.

To prove its commitment to arts education, the symphony invites kids ages 7 to 17 to attend all of its concerts at the Music Center at Strathmore free. And all performances at Strathmore are preceded by free lectures in the education center that explore that evening's program.

The organization sees the free tickets and lectures as an investment in younger generations' appreciation of classical music. The goal is to encourage young people to pick up an instrument and begin a lifelong love affair with music.

"By encouraging kids to come to our performances through the free tickets, we also get the benefit of their parents' attendance and encouraging family togetherness. We hope this makes it affordable for families to attend our concerts as a unit," says National Philharmonic President Kenneth Oldham. "Our secondary mission is to build audiences and perpetuate our industry well into the future."

Oldham has also observed high school students using the free promotion for a decidedly parent-free activity: a night out with a date.

Upcoming family-friendly performances include Handel's "Messiah" on Dec. 12 and 13; Bizet's "Carmen" on Jan. 9; and an evening with pianist Leon Fleisher on Jan. 30 and 31, featuring compositions by Russian composers Mussorgsky, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

The National Philharmonic

The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301-581-5100. or Free tickets must be obtained over the phone or at the Strathmore box office. Free pre-concert lectures begin one hour before all performances in the education center.

-- Jessica McFadden

© 2009 The Washington Post Company