The Boston Symphony Orchestra, in its 133rd year, is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the United States and one of the most renowned orchestras in the world. Founded in 1881 by Henry Lee Higginson, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist from Boston, the orchestra was built upon German musical traditions that Higginson loved when he was a student in Vienna. The German influence was so strong, that out of the fifteen music directors that the BSO has had, seven of them were born in German speaking countries. Even Symphony Hall, where the orchestra performs, was modeled after the second Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, Germany. Symphony Hall was not the first home to the orchestra though...originally, the orchestra played in the old Boston Music Hall, now the Orpheum Theatre.
This Saturday the BSO will welcome Latvian born, Andris Nelsons, as its newest music director. Nelsons is the BSO's 15th music director and at age 35, the youngest in over 100 years.
On November 22, 1963, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was just beginning their Friday afternoon concert when BSO's music director, Erich Leinsdorf, broke the news to the audience that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Leinsdorf, swiftly had the orchestra play the funeral march from Beethoven's Third Symphony. The recording is moving.