THE BOSTON POPS ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST-EVER ALL-VIRTUAL SPRING POPS SEASON FOR 2021, RELEASING SIX CONCERT STREAMS IN MAY AND JUNE AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
FOUR NEWLY RECORDED AND TWO ARCHIVAL BOSTON POPS CONCERT STREAMS TO BE RELEASED EACH THURSDAY, AT NOON, MAY 6–JUNE 10; EACH VIDEO STREAM IS AVAILABLE FOR 30 DAYS BEYOND ITS ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE
HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW CONTENT—ALL UNDER THE DIRECTION OF KEITH LOCKHART AND RECORDED AT SYMPHONY HALL—TO INCLUDE MUSIC BY AND ABOUT WOMEN IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY (5/6); A SALUTE TO THE POPS’ OWN JOHN WILLIAMS (5/20); THE POPS DEBUT OF AWARD-WINNING MANDOLINIST AND RADIO PERSONALITY CHRIS THILE ON A PROGRAM WITH WINNERS OF THE 11TH ANNUAL FIDELITY INVESTMENTS YOUNG ARTISTS COMPETITION (6/3); AND A MUSICAL ODYSSEY TRACING THE ROOTS OF JAZZ (6/10)
ARCHIVAL CONTENT TO FEATURE A LEGENDARY POPS COLLABORATION WITH ELLA FITZGERALD (5/27) AND AN ENCORE PRESENTATION OF BOSTON POPS IN LOVE (5/13)
Click here for footage of Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in “Luck Be a Lady,” a part of the Mother’s Day Celebration which is available for streaming on Thursday, May 6, at BSO NOW
NEW: LAUNCHING MAY 6, BSO NOW STREAMING PORTAL HAS BEEN REDESIGNED WITH A STREAMLINED USER INTERFACE AND ENHANCED FEATURES DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE BROWSER EXPERIENCE; UPDATED INTERFACE REMEMBERS WHERE A STREAM LAST PAUSED AND ALLOWS VIEWERS TO STAR THEIR FAVORITE SELECTIONS
REDESIGN LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR UPGRADING BSO NOW INTO APPS FOR CONNECTED TV DEVICES; FURTHER DETAILS—INCLUDING PLANS FOR BSO NOW CONTENT TO BE AVAILABLE THROUGH SUCH POPULAR DEVICES AS AMAZON FIRE, APPLE TV, ROKU, AND SAMSUNG SMART TV—WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT A LATER DATE
LIST OF MAY AND JUNE BOSTON POPS BSO NOW VIDEO STREAMS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, AVAILABLE AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
Tanya Gabrielian, Ala and Maria Jojatu, Joan Tower
• NEW: Thursday, May 6, at noon; available through June 5: The Boston Pops Celebrates Mother’s Day: Honoring Women with Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in music by and about women, featuring composers Clara Schumann, Joan Tower, Carole King, and Rachel Bruerville, as well as William Grant Still, Ravel, and ABBA; soloists include pianist Tanya Gabrielian performing the first movement of Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto, and Boston Pops violinist Ala Jojatu and her daughter, violinist Maria Jojatu, performing the final movement of J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto
• ARCHIVAL: Thursday, May 13, at noon; available through June 12: Originally presented as a BSO NOW livestream on February 12, 2021 (the first livestream in BSO NOW history), this encore presentation of Boston Pops in Love features classic musical selections inspired by love and romance—Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy along with Broadway favorites and John Williams’ film music led by Keith Lockhart—as well as dance performances from the inventive Boston-based companies Hybridmotion, Lakaï Dance Theatre, and Subject:Matter, and a virtual performance by the Melody in Motion Ensemble from Boston Arts Academy
• NEW: Thursday, May 20, at noon; available through June 19: A Tribute to John Williams stars the Pops and Keith Lockhart exploring the breadth of cinematic music composed by the Boston Pops Conductor Laureate—from iconic (Star Wars) to rarities (“Stargazers” from E.T.)—accompanied by exclusive video interviews with Williams telling the stories behind his music and career
• ARCHIVAL: Thursday, May 27, at noon; available through June 26: Filmed at Symphony Hall in July 1976 as part of GBH’s Evening at Pops series, the archival stream Exquisite Ella includes the incomparable Ella Fitzgeraldsinging tunes by Gershwin, Porter, and Ellington, accompanied by conductor Arthur Fiedler and the Pops, who also perform an opening medley from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls
• NEW: Thursday, June 3, at noon; available through July 3: An Evening with Chris Thile and the Stars of Tomorrow stars the multiple Grammy-winning mandolinist and MacArthur Fellow in his Boston Pops debut and sharing the stage with the winners of the 11th annual Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition, chosen by audition from high school students throughout the Commonwealth. Keith Lockhart also leads the Pops in audience favorites drawn from acclaimed Pops recordings of the last 25 years
• NEW: Thursday, June 10, at noon; available through July 10: The Roots of Jazz: American Voicessurveys the music of Black American innovators Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy, and James P. Johnson, alongside works by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Dave Brubeck, through performances by Keith Lockhart and the Pops of this quintessentially American music; in a nod to the “Roaring Twenties,” pianist David Coleman plays James P. Johnson’s most famous work, “The Charleston”
Keith Lockhart, David Coleman, Chris Thile, John Williams
ACCESS TO THE SPRING POPS 2021 SEASON AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE BEGINNING ON MAY 6, 2021, AT WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
• NEW: WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE ONLINE SPRING POPS 2021 SEASON, THE BSO INTRODUCES A NEW SUBSCRIPTION MODEL FOR BSO NOW
• BEGINNING MAY 6, PATRONS CAN PURCHASE A 7-DAY PASS FOR $9, A 30-DAY PASS FOR $25, OR A SEASON PASS FOR $100, WHICH INCLUDES ONLINE ACCESS—MAY 6 THROUGH THE END OF SEPTEMBER—TO THE SIX SPRING POPS CONCERTS, SELECT BOSTON SYMPHONY AND TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER ORCHESTRA CONCERTS TAKING PLACE DURING THE 2021 TANGLEWOOD SEASON, AND OTHER RELEASES TO BE ANNOUNCED AT A LATER DATE
• DETAILS ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL WORKERS ACCESS PROGRAM AND COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS FOR CORPORATE PARTNERS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH WWW.BSO.ORG/NOW
THE BSO NOW CONCERT STREAMING PLATFORM LAUNCHED IN NOVEMBER 2020 AND WAS CREATED IN RESPONSE TO THE LIVE PERFORMANCE HIATUS IN PLACE SINCE MARCH 2020, DUE TO RESTRICTIONS AROUND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
FURTHER DETAILS ABOUT BOSTON POPS’ VIRTUAL SPRING 2021 SEASON, AVAILABLE AT BSO NOW
For the first time in its 136-year history, the one-and-only Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart, is presenting its spring season completely online, bringing the style and energy cherished by audiences at its live concerts at Symphony Hall to an online season filled with a wide-ranging spectrum of musical offerings. From jazz to classic pop, big band, musical theater, and favorites from the Great American Songbook—as well as a legendary archival video performance by Ella Fitzgerald and a concert stream of rare and iconic gems from the film scores of our very own John Williams—the 2021 Boston Pops concert streams promise to recreate the magic and fun of a Pops performance for fans everywhere.
Given the positive reception of previously released digital streams—for the 2020 holiday season and Valentine’s Day 2021—Keith and the Pops are eager to continue connecting with audiences online until restrictions on performing for a live audience are eased. Beginning on May 6, the first of six weekly concert streams will be distributed through the streaming platform BSO NOW, with the initial launch dates roughly corresponding to the span of the traditional spring Boston Pops season. All spring Pops 2021 content launches on Thursdays at noon, at www.bso.org/now and remains available for 30 days beyond its original release date. The 2021 Tanglewood season will proceed with a six-week schedule of live concerts with audiences, from July 9 through August 16, including two John Williams-themed Boston Pops concerts on July 23 and August 13; click here for more information about the 2021 Tanglewood season.
The BSO NOW concert streaming platform launched in November 2020 and was created in response to the live performance hiatus in place since March 2020, due to the restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the Boston Pops will present six concert streams, releasing each Thursday at noon through June 10 at www.bso.org/now. They consist of newly recorded performance streams, led by Maestro Lockhart, and iconic concert videos from the orchestra’s archival treasure trove.
Statement from Keith Lockhart, the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor
“The Boston Pops and I are delighted to present our first-ever online spring season—a celebration of artists and music genres that play an essential role in this country’s rich and wide-ranging spectrum of musical styles.
“For our four newly recorded concert streams launching this spring, we are thrilled to begin with a program that shines a spotlight on music written by and about women in honor of Mother’s Day, with classic songs of Carole King and ABBA appearing on the same program as music of Bach, Lerner and Loewe, Clara Schumann, and William Grant Still.
“A hallmark of the Boston Pops is a commitment to programming that is both inspirational and entertaining, and these qualities are on full display in a concert stream dedicated to poignant melodies and legendary themes from the film scores of John Williams. We will also take a special look at the roots of jazz through programming that champions such geniuses of the multi-faceted genre as Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Scott Joplin. You’ll hear two piano pieces that define their era: Joplin’s ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ from the turn of the century, which I will play, and James P. Johnson’s ‘anthem’ of the 1920s, ‘The Charleston,’ performed by David Coleman. Putting a significant focus on some of Boston’s most talented young musicians, the Boston Pops is thrilled to give these students a chance to hone their skills by sharing the stage with the amazingly versatile musician, mandolinist Chris Thile.
“Reprises of a legendary Boston Pops program—Ella Fitzgerald singing under the direction of Arthur Fiedler—and a popular concert stream from last February, Boston Pops in Love, will round out the season with awe-inspiring performances from the distant and recent past.
“Though it’s disappointing not to be able to perform live this spring for devoted patrons at Symphony Hall, the time is soon coming when we will be able to invite audiences back to concerts, starting with two Pops performances to take place this summer at Tanglewood.
“Until then, we sincerely hope that music lovers near and far will enjoy our concert streams with family and friends and experience the comfort and inspiration that music can bring us, especially during these ongoing challenging times. Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with those suffering the effects of the pandemic and with all the caregivers.”
Now celebrating his 27th year with the Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart is the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor; click here for a recent biography. John Williams is the George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate. The director for the newly recorded portions of the BSO NOW series is Habib Azar; click here for a recent biography.
Carole King, ABBA, William Grant Still, Rachel Bruerville
Four New and Eclectic Concert Streams Led by Keith Lockhart: The Boston Pops Celebrates Mother’s Day: Honoring Women; A Tribute to John Williams; An Evening with Chris Thile and the Stars of Tomorrow; and The Roots of Jazz: American Voices
The 2021 Boston Pops online season opens on Mother’s Day with the Pops and Keith Lockhart celebrating music by and about women. Available on Thursday, May 6, beginning at noon, The Boston Pops Celebrates Mother’s Day: Honoring Women includes Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 3, the Main Theme from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, and works by Maurice Ravel, Rachel Bruerville, and William Grant Still that depict the love and care mothers give. Along with symphonic renditions of classic pop music by Carole King and ABBA, the concert will also feature a special performance of the first movement of Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Tanya Gabrielian, and the final movement from J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto, played by Boston Pops violinist Ala Jojatu and her daughter, violinist Maria Jojatu.
The festive spirit continues May 13 with A Tribute to John Williams, which honors the legendary film composer and Boston Pops Conductor Laureate. Led by Maestro Lockhart, the concert stream includes the orchestra performing the breadth of Williams’ music—from iconic (Star Wars, the Olympic Fanfare and Theme, the rousing Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark) to rarities (“Stargazers” from E.T.), accompanied by exclusive, intimate interviews with Williams telling the stories behind his music and career.
The concert stream for June 3, An Evening with Chris Thile and the Stars of Tomorrow, features Lockhart and the Pops as they host the 11th annual Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition concert. The winners of this year’s competition, chosen by audition from high school students throughout the Commonwealth, join the Pops for a special concert, showcasing the talent and commitment of gifted young people, made even more impressive given the challenges they have faced this past year. This year’s winners are violinist Ella Kim, Weston High School – Weston; trumpeter Cameron Shave, TEC Academy – Bridgewater; vocalist Lianna Paglia, Natick High School – Natick, and pianist Katherine Liu, Wellesley High School – Wellesley. Multiple Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile also joins the orchestra for his Boston Pops debut. A child prodigy himself, mandolinist Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, Live from Here) is one of today’s great musical innovators; as an instrumentalist, composer, and vocalist, he transcends genres to create a new American music. The Boston Pops will add to the celebration with audience favorites drawn from Pops recordings of the last 25 years, including Runnin’ Wild and the Grammy-nominated Celtic Album and Latin Album.
2021 Fidelity Investment Young Artist Competition winners Cameron Shave, Katherine Liu, Lianna Paglia, and Ella Kim
The season’s newly recorded offerings conclude on June 10 with The Roots of Jazz: American Voices. Keith Lockhart and the Pops trace the development of jazz from its New Orleans roots to the music of Black American innovators like Scott Joplin and “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy. Pianist David Coleman also joins Keith Lockhart for a special performance of James P. Johnson’s “The Charleston” and an exploration of the stride master’s influence on American music. Further along in the program, the Pops will highlight the music of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, three great American musicians who were instrumental in bringing jazz to a worldwide audience, and pay tribute to modern jazz pioneer Dave Brubeck as the musical world celebrates the centennial of his birth.
George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, James P. Johnson
Two Iconic Concert Videos from the Pops’ Archives: Boston Pops in Love and Exquisite Ella
Originally presented as a BSO NOW livestream on February 12, 2021 (the first livestream in BSO NOWhistory), this encore presentation of Boston Pops in Love, a performance of music and dance on themes of romance, is available again as a concert stream on May 13. The concert features performances from three exciting Boston-based dance companies: dancers from Hybridmotion perform a pandemic-inspired tango, choreographed by Jun Kuribayashi and Mia Dalglish, to Gade’s “Jalousie”; Lakaï Dance Theatre with choreography by its artistic director, McKersin, performs to selections from Bizet’s Carmen and de Falla’s El Amor brujo; and dancers from Subject:Matter bring their style, inspired by the history and tradition of tap in Boston, to the music of Fats Waller, with choreography by Ian Berg. Boston Arts Academy’s Melody in Motion Ensemble features in a virtual choral performance, with director Molly Jo Rivelli and an instrumental ensemble of BAA faculty. Other highlights of this wide-ranging program include Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady,” Puccini’s “Che gelida manina” (from La Bohème), and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, as well as love themes from the scores of John Williams; a medley of romantic songs by Gershwin; and an archival performance accompanied by a new film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett.
Performers from Hybridmotion, Jun Kuribayashi, McKersin, performers from Subject:Matter
Beginning on May 27, the Boston Pops is delighted to share with a national and international audience for the first time in decades Exquisite Ella, a treasure from the Symphony Hall archives. Originally presented in June 1976 as part of GBH’s Evening with Pops, the performance features the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in her prime. From the moment she appeared on stage at Symphony Hall—to a standing ovation no less—she continued to hold the Pops audience in the palm of her hand with exquisitely sung interpretations of tunes by Gershwin, Porter, and Ellington. Arthur Fiedler and the Pops accompany Fitzgerald following their performance of a boisterous medley from Guys and Dolls.
Ella Fitzgerald with Arthur Fiedler and the Pops
Details about the 2021 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be announced at a later date.
INFORMATION ON THE NEW STREAMING PLATFORM, BSO NOW
On November 19, the Boston Symphony Orchestra launched BSO NOW, an expanded online presence with newly recorded hour-long video streams by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Andris Nelsons and guest conductors; the Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart; and BSO musicians in chamber music, as well as BSO Youth and Family Concerts, under the direction of Thomas Wilkins, and special projects featuring the orchestra’s educational and community partnerships. Most BSO NOW video streams feature a magazine-type segment, with behind-the-scenes storytelling with conductors, composers, and musicians, plus much more. All BSO NOW newly recorded programs are released on select Thursdays at noon through April 29, at www.bso.org/now, with each program remaining available for 30 days after its initial posting. The BSO, Pops, and youth-focused video performances are recorded from the stage of Symphony Hall—widely considered one of the top three acoustic concert halls in the world—which is featured for all its beautiful detail and historic significance.
On January 6, 2021, Andris Nelsons returned for the first time to Symphony Hall in nearly a year. (Photo credit: Aram Boghosian)
INFORMATION ABOUT ONLINE PROGRAMMING CREATED IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 CONCERT CANCELLATIONS
BSO NOW—the BSO’s expanded digital content series recorded at Symphony Hall and made available through bso.org/now beginning on November 19—is part of the BSO’s continuing series of online offerings created in response to the live performance hiatus imposed by regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing health crisis. In response to this hiatus from live performances, the BSO launched its expanded digital offerings on March 26, 2020 with BSO at Home and BSO HomeSchool, followed by Boston Pops at Home (all available at www.bso.org), the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival (www.tanglewood.org), and Encore BSO Recitals (www.bso.org). The success of these programs, which have generated millions of interactions—both directly with the actual online content and indirectly through posts on the orchestra’s social media channels about that content—has been an inspiration for the orchestra to continue to explore new ways of reaching its music community and beyond with new, innovative, and compelling programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 13, 2020, the orchestra has been forced to cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 BSO Youth Concert Series and 2019-20 BSO season and the entire 2020 Boston Pops, 2020 Tanglewood, 2020 Holiday Pops, and 2020-21 BSO seasons. The series of announcements detailing the full slate of cancellations by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, beginning on March 13, 2020, can be found here. The 2021 Tanglewood season will proceed with a six-week schedule of live concerts, from July 9 through August 16; click here for more information about the 2021 Tanglewood season.
INFORMATION ON THE BSO’S REOPENING STRATEGY FOR ITS BSO NOWONLINE RECORDING SCHEDULE AT SYMPHONY HALL
Working with 9Foundations, Inc., the BSO’s reopening strategy for its BSO NOW online recording schedule at Symphony Hall includes a robust testing schedule, two layers of daily screening, social distancing, universal masking, engineering controls, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. (Click here for additional details.) In addition, BSO musicians sit on a 35.5-foot stage extension—more than doubling the size of the stage—especially built to accommodate official social distancing requirements between orchestra members.
With the health and safety of everyone involved the highest priority, the BSO will continually monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the City of Boston, as well as its own team of experts, to determine when it can gradually start inviting audiences back to Symphony Hall and its other venues. All official Boston Symphony Orchestra updates will be announced through press releases and postings on www.bso.org.
The 2021 Spring Pops season is sponsored by Fidelity Investments. For over 50 years, Fidelity Investments and the Boston Pops have proudly worked together to bring wonderful performances to local audiences. The Arbella Insurance Foundation is proud to be the Music For All Sponsor supporting programs to bring the Boston Pops to families, especially those in underserved communities. Takeda Pharmaceutical, Ltd. continues their support of the BSO as supporting sponsor of the Spring Pops season, and for additional education and community engagement initiatives throughout the year. Fairmont Copley Plaza, Official Hotel of the Boston Pops, and Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, the Official Chauffeured Transportation of the Boston Pops, and American Airlines, Official Airline of the Boston Pops, will support our artists and recording crew’s travel needs for the newly recorded online video content.
BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE BOSTON POPS
Founded in 1885 by BSO founder Henry Lee Higginson and affectionately known as “America’s Orchestra,” the Boston Pops is the most recorded and arguably the most beloved orchestra in the country, beginning with the establishment of the modern-era Pops by Arthur Fiedler (1930–1979) and continuing through the innovations introduced by John Williams (1980–1993) and the new-millennium Pops spearheaded by Keith Lockhart (1995–present).
The 2021 Boston Pops season, May 6–June 10, under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart, presents a wide spectrum of musical styles, representing both timeless favorites from the orchestra’s 136-year tradition of music-making and new programming directions that reflect the pop culture of today, designed to appeal to both the orchestra’s treasured loyal audiences and newcomers to the Boston Pops experience. The Boston Pops library is home to 3,400 titles—music prepared by some of the best arrangers and composers from every generation since the orchestra’s founding. This vast collection includes everything from rock medleys, college fight songs, American songbook classics, film music, and Broadway scores for full orchestra, to jazz standards, full-length symphonies, sing-alongs for every occasion, and contemporary pop hits, as well as original works commissioned especially for the one and only Boston Pops Orchestra. The Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart also present a Holiday Pops series each year throughout the month of December and several concerts at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home in Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass.; the orchestra also presents annual national tours and a series of performances throughout New England, as well as summertime concerts in Hyannis and Nantucket. For a complete history of the Boston Pops, please click here.