Happy Birthday to Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams!!!
About the Boston Pops
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 and continuing through the innovations introduced by John Williams and the new-millennium Pops spearheaded by Keith Lockhart. With the 125th anniversary season in 2010, the Boston Pops reached a landmark moment in a remarkable history that began with its founding in 1885. Four years earlier, in 1881, Civil War veteran Henry Lee Higginson founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra, calling its establishment “the dream of my life.” From the start he intended to present, in the warmer months, concerts of light classics and the popular music of the day. From a practical perspective, Higginson realized that these “lighter” performances would provide year-round employment for his musicians. The “Promenade Concerts,” as they were originally called, were soon informally known as “Popular Concerts,” which eventually became shortened to “Pops,” the name officially adopted in 1900. The following year the orchestra performed for the first time in its new home, Symphony Hall. Not only is this performance space acoustically outstanding, it was also designed, at Higginson’s insistence, so that the rows of seats for Boston Symphony concerts could be replaced by tables and chairs for Pops concerts.
Some people may not realize that there were seventeen Pops conductors, beginning with the German Adolf Neuendorff, who preceded Arthur Fiedler (1930-1979), the first American-born musician to lead the orchestra. When John Williams (1980-1993) succeeded Arthur Fiedler, he was the most highly acclaimed composer in Hollywood, and today, with 47 Academy Award nominations, he is the most-nominated living person in Academy history. In response to the ever-diversifying trends in music, Keith Lockhart (1995-present) has taken the Pops in new directions, creating programs that reach out to a broader and younger audience by presenting artists—both established performers and rising stars—from virtually every corner of the entertainment world, all the while maintaining the Pops’ appeal to its core audience.
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