Boston Symphony Orchestra

Composers

Biography

Active: October 22, 1881 - ; United States of America
As befits a city which figures so prominently in American history, Boston is also home to one of the oldest surviving orchestras in the United States, and one of the finest in the world. The Boston Symphony Orchestra came into existence through the influence -- and deep pockets -- of Henry Lee Higginson, a banker who sought to establish a permanent, world-class orchestra in a city whose instrumental ensembles to that point had consisted mainly Read more of ad hoc and amateur groups. The BSO, consisting mainly of German-born musicans and led by George Henschel, gave its first performance in a season of 22 pairs of concerts on October 22, 1881.

The fledgling orchestra thrived in the last decades of the nineteenth century under the leadership of Wilhelm Gericke (1884-1889), Arthur Nikisch (1889-1893), and Emil Paur (1893-1898); Gericke assumed the podium again in 1898 and led the orchestra for another several seasons. In 1900 the BSO moved from its original home, the Music Hall (now the Aquarius Theater), into the brand-new, acoustically magnificent Symphony Hall. Karl Muck assumed leadership of the BSO in 1906, but returned to his native Germany in 1908 to become the Generalmusikdirektor in Berlin. Muck returned in 1912, replacing Max Fiedler. With America's entry into World War I, Muck, an unapologetic German nationalist, found his position in jeopardy. Despite the intervention of Higginson, now 84, Muck was arrested in 1918 and detained as an enemy alien until the end of the war.

Henri Rabaud was engaged for one season in 1918 and was succeeded by Pierre Monteux, a brilliant and capable conductor whose resumé included leading the infamous premiere of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps in Paris in 1913. The dynamic Serge Koussevitzky helmed the BSO from 1924 to 1949, ushering in what many consider the orchestra's golden age. Koussevitsky both brought the BSO to its highest standard and demonstrated an uncommon interest in new music; for the orchestra's anniversary season in 1931, he oversaw a commissioning series that yielded an outstanding body of works, including Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and works by Copland, Prokofiev, Respighi, Honegger, and Hindemith. Since Koussevitsky's tenure, the orchestra has maintained a tradition of podium stability under the batons of luminaries like Charles Munch (1949-1963), Erich Leinsdorf (1963-1968), William Steinberg (1968-1973), Seiji Ozawa (1973-2002), and James Levine (2002-present). Since the founding of the annual Tanglewood Music Festival in 1940, the BSO has served as the official resident orchestra of that institution.

In 1885 the BSO established a series of summertime "Promenade Concerts"; by 1900 these concerts had come to be identified by their famous Boston Pops moniker. The Pops became a solid institution after 1930 when Max Fiedler's son, Arthur, became their conductor; he led the group for an unprecedented 50 years. Fiedler was succeeded in 1980 by the Academy Award-winning composer John Williams; in 1995, the 35-year-old Keith Lockhart became the Pops' music director. Both the BSO and the Boston Pops are amply represented on recordings that range from repertoire staples to works commissioned and premiered by the ensembles to film scores. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 292 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Itzhak Perlman: Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19439752272 Release Date: 08/07/2020   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  John Williams,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  André Previn,  Zubin Mehta,  John Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 2.
    Ades conducts Ades / Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 003167002 Release Date: 02/28/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Adčs
    Performer:  Kirill Gerstein,  Mark Stone,  Christianne Stotijn
    Conductor:  Thomas Adčs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $21.99
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Legendary Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19075973752 Release Date: 12/06/2019   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maureen Forrester,  Leontyne Price,  David Poleri,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter,  George Szell,  Leonard Bernstein,  Fritz Reiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 4.
    Boston Symphony Commissions / Nelsons, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559874 Release Date: 11/08/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Nathan,  George Tsontakis,  Timo Andres,  Sean Shepherd
    Performer:  Robert Sheena
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $11.99
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  • 5.
    Gil Shaham: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4836334 Release Date: 04/05/2019   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Aaron Copland,  André Previn,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Gil Shaham,  André Previn,  Jian Wang,  Göran Söllscher  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Pierre Boulez,  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $97.99
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  • 6.
    Busoni: Piano Concerto / Gerstein, Oramo, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Myrios Classics   Catalog: 24 Release Date: 03/15/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  Kirill Gerstein
    Conductor:  Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus Men
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  • 7.
    Under Stalin's Shadow - Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 / Nelsons, Boston Symphony
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002967402 Release Date: 02/22/2019   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    State of the Art: The Story of Deutsche Grammophon [1 Vinyl & 1 Book]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4835817 Release Date: 01/18/2019   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Alfredo Catalani,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov,  Anna Netrebko,  Lang Lang,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  James Levine,  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    LP: $106.49
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  • 9.
    Bernstein at 100: A Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 747608 Release Date: 12/07/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Gustav Mahler,  John Williams,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Midori,  Nadine Sierra,  Kian Soltani,  Tony Yazbeck  ... 
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Keith Lockhart,  Michael Tilson Thomas  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus Women,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 10.
    Bernstein at 100: A Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood / Various [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 747704 Release Date: 12/07/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Gustav Mahler,  John Williams,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Midori,  Nadine Sierra,  Kian Soltani,  Tony Yazbeck  ... 
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Keith Lockhart,  Michael Tilson Thomas  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus Women,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 11.
    Mstislav Rostropovich - The Indomitable Bow
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110583 Release Date: 12/07/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Mstislav Rostropovich - The Indomitable Bow [Blu-ray]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 82 Release Date: 12/07/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Alexander Brailowsky plays Chopin: Complete RCA Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985499992 Release Date: 09/21/2018   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Alexander Brailowsky
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $36.99
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  • 14.
    Vivaldi: The Four Seasons / Silverstein, Ozawa, Boston Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: TEL00004 Release Date: 09/14/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Joseph Silverstein
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 15.
    Seiji Ozawa & Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4835496 Release Date: 09/07/2018   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach,  Ambroise Thomas,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Jules Eskin,  Everett Firth,  Simon Preston  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus
    CD: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11 / Nelsons, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002859502 Release Date: 07/06/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $28.49
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  • 17.
    Ireland: Piano Concerto & Cello Sonata - Casella: Triple Concerto
    Label: First Hand Records   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 05/04/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Ireland,  Alfredo Casella
    Performer:  Annarosa Taddei,  Antonio Sala,  John Ireland,  Arturo Bonucci  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfredo Casella,  Serge Koussevitzky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 18.
    Holst: The Planets - Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra / Steinberg, Boston Symphony [CD + Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4798669 Release Date: 04/06/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $35.49
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  • 19.
    Sviatoslav Richter plays Schumann & Brahms
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 17067 Release Date: 03/23/2018   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Max Reger
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Nina Dorliac,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Alexander Gauk,  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Charles Munch,  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 20.
    Holst: The Planets / Steinberg, Boston Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4798518 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
    LP: $34.99
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 / Kubelik
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186249 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $15.99
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  • 22.
    Boston Symphony Orchestra: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797718 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 57
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Zukofsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Teresa Berganza  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  William Steinberg,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Chamber Players
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    CD: $262.49
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  • 23.
    Piano Masters
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002732802 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov,  Evgeny Kissin,  Krystian Zimerman,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    Live Performances: Three First Releases / Kapell
    Label: Jsp Records   Catalog: 684 Release Date: 09/22/2017  
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  William Kapell
    Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard Burgin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $18.99
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  • 25.
    Leonard Bernstein, Vol. 1
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 743008 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Claude Debussy,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Hans Sotin,  Judith Blegen,  Claes-Hakan Ahnsjo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Keith Lockhart,  John Williams,  Stefan Asbury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    DVD: $48.99
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