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Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2023 Sensory Friendly Concerts

The NLM Family Foundation provided a grant to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) to provide two sensory-friendly concerts in 2023 designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or sensory sensitivities and their families. The BSO presented a Sensory Friendly Family Concert on October 28, 2023 conducted by Thomas Wilkins and geared towards younger children but open to all and a Holiday Pops Concert on December 2, 2023 conducted by Keith Lockhart. Both conductors are known for their skills engaging audiences with orchestral music.

These performances are shortened, modified versions of the BSO’s standard concerts, with reduced ticket prices and a flexible, non-judgmental environment. Modifications include relaxed house rules, reduced volume and lighting levels, extra space for movement, available noise-reduction headphones, designated quiet room and support spaces, modified food concessions, and credentialed autism therapist volunteers on site.

These sensory-friendly concerts are a powerful way for families to experience and discover live musical performances together. Individuals with autism or sensory sensitivities and their family members benefit emotionally and socially from shared high-quality concert experiences.