Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881 by Henry Lee Higginson, who was its director and financial backer until 1918. The orchestra performed at the Old Boston Music Hall for nearly 20 years until the 2,625-seat Symphony Hall was built in 1900; its concerts continue to be held there. The Boston Symphony's conductors have included Sir George Henschel (1881–84), Arthur Nikisch (1889–93), Karl Muck (1906–08; 1912–18), Pierre Monteux (1919–24), Serge Koussevitzky (1924–49), Charles Münch (1949–62), Erich Leinsdorf (1962–69), William Steinberg (1969–72), Seiji Ozawa (1973–2002), James Levine (2004–11), and Andris Nelsons (2014–). One of America's oldest orchestras, it has summer activities that include the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Boston Pops Concerts. The Pops orchestra, which began with "Promenade" concerts in 1885 and has had its present title since 1900, has been conducted by Arthur Fiedler (1930–79), John Williams (1980–93), and Keith Lockhart (1995–).

See studies by M. A. De Wolfe Howe (1931); H. E. Dickson (1969); J. Baker-Carr (1977); C. A. Vigeland (1991).

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Boston Symphony Orchestra. One of great orchs. of world, founded at Boston, Mass., 1881 by Henry Lee Higginson who endowed it with a million dollars. First concert 22 Oct. 1881, cond. by Sir George Henschel who was cond. 1881–4. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Gericke 1884–9; Nikisch 1889–93; Emil Paur 1893–8; Gericke 1898–1906; Karl Muck 1906–8; Max Fiedler 1908–12; Muck 1912–18; Henri Rabaud 1918–19; Pierre Monteux 1919–24; Serge Koussevitzky 1924–49; Charles Munch 1949–62; Erich Leinsdorf 1962–9; William Steinberg 1969–72; Seiji Ozawa 1973–2004; James Levine from 2004. Salzburg Fest. début 1979. Koussevitzky's 25-year tenure was outstanding for its encouragement of new works both by Amer. composers and by est. composers such as Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Bartók. See Tanglewood.