Next to Boston Symphony Orchestra & Symphony Hall

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The first home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was the Old Boston Music Hall which was threatened in 1893 by a city road-building/rapid transit project. That summer, the Orchestra's founder, Major Henry Lee Higginson, organized a corporation to finance a new and permanent home for the orchestra. Symphony Hall opened on October 15, 1900, with an inaugural gala led by music director Wilhelm Gericke. The architects, McKim, Mead & White of New York, engaged Wallace Clement Sabine, a young assistant professor of physics at Harvard, as their acoustical consultant, and Symphony Hall became the first auditorium designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustical principles.

Symphony Hall is widely regarded as one of the two or three finest concert halls in the world. The walls of the stage slope inward to help focus the sound. The side balconies are shallow so as not to trap any of the sound, and the recesses of the coffered ceiling, along with the statue-filled niches along the three sides, help to distribute the sound throughout the hall. The 16 replicas of Greek and Roman statues are related in some way to music, art, or literature. They were placed in the niches as part of an appreciation of the frequently quoted words, "Boston, the Athens of America," written by Bostonian William Tudor in the early 19th century. The Symphony Hall organ, an Aeolian Skinner designed by G. Donald Harrison and installed in 1949, is considered one of the finest concert hall organs in the world.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra

Leadership:

  • James Levine, Music Director
  • Bernard Haitink, Conductor Emeritus
  • Seiji Ozawa, Music Director Laureate
  • Keith Lockhart, Conductor, Boston Pops
  • John Williams, Laureate Conductor, Boston Pops

Administrative Leadership:

  • Ed Linde, Chairman of Boston Symphony Orchestra Trustees
  • Mark Volpe, Managing Director, Eunice and Julian Cohen Managing Directorship

Founder:

  • Henry Lee Higginson

Inaugural Concert:

  • October 22, 1881, in old Boston Music Hall

Music Directors:

  • Georg Henschel (1881-84)
  • Wilhelm Gericke (1884-89; 1898-1906)
  • Arthur Nikisch (1889-93)
  • Emil Paur (1893-98)
  • Karl Muck (1906-08; 1912-18)
  • Max Fiedler (1908-12)
  • Henri Rabaud (1918-19)
  • Pierre Monteux (1919-24)
  • Serge Koussevitzky (1924-49)
  • Charles Munch (1949-62)
  • Erich Leinsdorf (1962-69)
  • William Steinberg (1969-72)
  • Seiji Ozawa (Music Adviser, 1972-73; Music Director, 1973-2002)
  • James Levine (2004-Present)

Present Home:

  • Symphony Hall, opened October 15, 1900