Explore the activities below with your child(ren) before arriving at Symphony Center–they’re perfect for your car or train ride downtown!

LISTEN before the concert, using our Spotify playlist. Access the playlist below or at this link. You can listen to the tracks freely, or you can explore the activities below for an enhanced listening experience.

*Note that a free account is required to use Spotify.


Your child will see many different instrument families at the concert today. Show him or her these pictures of each instrument family before you arrive. After finding your seats at the concert, ask your child if he or she can identify any of the instrument families!


Graduating senior Matt Aucoin is profiled in the commencement issue of the Harvard Gazette. Matt Aucoin, who conducts and writes poetry, is pictured outside Sanders Theatre in Memorial Hall at Harvard University. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Matthew Aucoin

  • Matthew Aucoin is an American composer, conductor, writer and pianist, and is currently the Artist in Residence at the Los Angeles Opera
  • He was the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice at the CSO from 2013-2015

Why does it take courage to be a conductor?

“Being an orchestra conductor is a little like being an electrical conductor—the music flows through you! It’s a big responsibility. First, you have to know the music inside and out: how does the oboe part relate to the cello part here? Why does the piccolo’s music seem to be in a fight with the trombone’s music? Then you need to know how you want it to sound: what’s the emotional mood? Should the texture be thick or transparent? Should it be intense or laid-back? Finally, you need to communicate all of this to the orchestra—not in words (though you can use words in rehearsal), but with the movements of your hands. I’d say all that takes some courage!”


Sergei Prokofiev

  • Prokofiev was a Russian composer who lived in many places: he was born in Ukraine, until his mother moved the family to St. Petersburg to help foster Sergei’s talent as a musician. He later moved to Paris, and also spent a lot of time in the United States.
  • Prokofiev was so excited to compose a musical symphony for children, which became Peter and the Wolf, that he completed the work in just four days!
  • The premiere for Peter and the Wolf was very poorly attended, but the work went on to become one of his most famous compositions.

Franz von Suppé

  • Suppé was a Romantic composer and conductor born in Austria in 1819
  • He was forced to study law by his father, but he continued to learn flute, voice and harmony. He eventually moved to Vienna, where he conducted for the theater in der Josefstadt in exchange for the chance to premiere his own work!
  • Suppé is most known for his comedic operas. Light Cavalry Overture is a piece taken from his two-act operetta, Light Cavalry, and while it’s rarely performed, it’s one of his most popular compositions.