Boston - Music and Dance
The Wang Center for the Performing Arts or the Citi Performing Arts Center is comprised of two theatres : the Wang Theatre and the Schubert Theatre, both located in the Theatre District, and is a partner of the Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Celebrity Series, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.
The Wang and Schubert theatres receive dance, theatre, music, and opera companies from all over the world.
The Wang Theatre
Originally called the Metropolitan Theatre, it was restored at the beginning of the 1990s thanks to a generous donation by Dr. An Wang, and is able to accommodate over 3600 spectators.
Considered the “little princess” of the Theatre District, the Shubert Theatre is known for its dark, elegant interior, and hosts many local community arts organizations.
The Cutler Majestic Theatre is situated at the heart of Boston’s historic Theatre District. Constructed in 1903 for theatre production and later for vaudeville acts, it is of a « Beaux-Arts » style and its décor is both classic and rococo. Now belonging to Emerson College, it is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, its programming is very diverse, including opera, dance, theatre, musicals, Emerson student performances, and televised shows.
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- Hatch Shell
The Hatch Shell is an outdoor auditorium constructed in 1941 and located between Beacon Hill and the Charles River. Its interior is composed entirely of wood and reflects the art deco style.
For Bostonians, the Hatch Shell is best known for hosting the annual Fourth of July Boston Pops concert, a celebration accompanied by fireworks on the Charles River. Open from the end of April to the end of October, the Hatch Shell presents classical music, blues, jazz, and rock concerts.
Constructed in the 1920s, the Opera House was dedicated originally to Vaudeville and cinema. Today, they host popular Broadway musicals, new and alternative musicians, the Boston Ballet, and various other musical performers.
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- Memorial Hall
Inspired by the Sheldonian Theatre of Oxford, England, the Sanders Theatre is known for both its architecture and its acoustics.
As a member of the League of Historic American Theatres, it has a capacity of 1,166 seats, and the 180° configuration of the auditorium offers an extraordinary proximity to the stage.
Situated on the Harvard campus, the Saunders Theatre presents numerous musical ensembles such as the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Christmas Revels, the Masterworks Chorale, and the Boston Baroque.
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- Symphony Hall
Considered one of the best music halls in the world, Symphony Hall is the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops.
One of the first auditoriums to be scientifically designed by acoustic principals, the sound in the Boston Symphony Hall is incomparable, making it the perfect venue for orchestral music.
Considered one of the best dance companies in the United States, the Boston Ballet presents both classic and contemporary works, attracting an audience from all over New England. The Boston Ballet’s Center for Dance Education strives to bring new levels of excellence to ballet and to make dance accessible to all.
The Boston Ballet is also well-known for the longevity of its performances of Tchaïkovski’s The Nutcracker, which for 41 years has given over 300 children from the Boston Ballet School the chance to perform on stage with the Boston Ballet Orchestra at the famous Opera House.
Boston Baroque is an orchestra of period instruments and a chamber music chorus that specializes in Baroque and Classical music. Each year, Boston Baroque presents such major works as King Arthur by Purcell, Messie by Handel Gloria by Vivaldi, usually at Jordan Hall or the Sanders Theatre.
Four of their recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards under the category of « Best Performance for a Choral Work ».
The BCMS is an ensemble dedicated exclusively to chamber music, from baroque to contemporary. Today, its members demonstrate a perfect mastery as well as a sense of freedom, both of which could only be gained through years of playing together.
The BCMS is frequently invited to play with the biggest names in chamber music throughout the United States and abroad. In Boston, the BCMS performs at Jordan Hall, at the Sanders Theatre, and at the First Church in Cambridge.
Founded in 1976, the Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) is recognized for its artistically excellent productions of a diverse repertoire that entertain and inspire audiences and feature emerging opera talent.
The main productions at the Citi Performing Arts Center and the Shubert Theatre are broadcast live on WGBH radio and the traveling productions of fully staged, one-hour English version of popular opera for school children and families reach some 200,000 people a year.
The BMOP is an orchestra that specializes in contemporary music, presenting 20th century works and world premieres.
It is also known for its monthly “Club Concerts” which are small ensembles to accompany dinner or cocktail hour.
A semi-professional orchestra led by Benjamin Zander, the Boston Philharmonic is well known for its pre-concert talks which reflect on the context of each work and the musical ideas and structure of each piece that is performed. The Boston Philharmonic performs at Jordan Hall and at the Sanders Theatre.
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- Boston Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1881 by Henri Lee Higginson, the BSO has been directed from the beginning by the biggest names in classical music. Located in Symphony Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is currently conducted by James Levine, after having been led by two French conductors, Pierre Monteux and Charles Munch.
This orchestra has gained international renown for its French musical repertoire, as well as its support of contemporary music.
The BSO performs during the summer at Tanglewood.
The idea behind the Boston Pops Orchestra was to present Bostonians with a « lighter » type of musical experience. The “little brother” of the BSO, the Boston Pops sets itself apart with its pop music repertoire and its popularization of classical music.
In 1979, John Williams took over as conductor, adding two famous works of his own composition to its repertoire: the themes to Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Directed today by Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops performs throughout the year at Symphony Hall and throughout the city, as well as on television.
The mission of the Handel and Haydn Society is to perform Baroque and Classical music for chorus and period-instrument orchestra at the highest level of artistic achievement.
Founded as a choral society in 1815 by a group of Boston merchants, Handel and Haydn is among the oldest continuously performing arts organizations in the country. From its earliest years, the Society established a tradition of innovation, performing the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah in 1818, Haydn’s Creation in 1819, Verdi’s Requiem in 1878, and Bach’s B Minor Mass in 1887. The Society began performing Handel’s Messiah annually in 1854.
Throughout its history the Handel and Haydn Society has brought the world’s most beautiful music and its greatest artists to local audiences, performing the works of Handel, Monteverdi, and Bach, as well as Mozart and Beethoven. The Society’s critically acclaimed Chorus and Period Orchestra perform in such venues as Symphony Hall, NEC’s Jordan Hall, and the Shubert Theatre and hosts such prestigious artists as Placido Domingo and Dawn Upshaw.
The city of Boston is very well known for its excellence in music education, due to the numerous highly reputable conservatories and schools of music that enable many young musicians to start solo careers or enter into orchestras, bands, operatic workshops or other types of careers in opera.
Each establishment creates its own programming, and while the majority of the performances are student concerts and recitals, there are also prominent performances with guest artists. Most of the recitals are free, or offer a reduced price for students.
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Considered the best school of modern music in the world, Berklee attracts both American and international students. Founded in 1945, it is today, with 3800 students, the biggest private music school in the United States.
Berklee prepares its students for professional music careers, but also offers courses in composition, music education, and has recently started offering courses in business and music industry management.
The Berklee Performance Center is very well known in Boston for the quality and diversity of its programming, hosting orchestras, quartets, bands, and solo artists. The Berklee Performance Center also hosts student performances, with genres ranging from jazz, groove, rock, pop, country, to R&B and folk.
Founded at the same time as the New England Conservatory, the Boston Conservatory is located in the Fenway and offers courses in music, dance, theatre, and music education. This conservatory is especially known for its classes in musicals, attracting students from all over the United States who hope to perform one day on Broadway
Each year the Boston Conservatory presents more than 200 performances, concerts, ballets, and operas in various auditoria and in its own theatre.
The College of Fine Arts of Boston University is divided into the School of Music, the School of Visual Arts, and the School of Theatre.
The School of Music, created in the 1870s, prepares its students for careers in music and music education, as well as research in musicology and ethnomusicology.
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- Boston University Theatre
The School of Music makes a point of encouraging its students to perform on stage, either solo or with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonic Chorus or at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Students of the Boston University School of Music are generally considered the best of Boston. The operatic productions at the School of Music often rival those of professional companies, and are appreciated for their artistic qualities, and excellent stage and costume design.
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- Longy School of Music
Situated in Harvard Square in Cambridge, the Longy School of Music offers courses to American and international students and is the only school of music in Boston to design its curriculum to follow that of French conservatories. The student performances take place in the Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall.
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- Jordan Hall
One of the oldest conservatories in the United States, the NEC is well known for the quality of its instruction as well as the beauty of its venues.
The magnificent Jordan Hall, with its 1019 seats, is the home of the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. For music lovers in Boston, Jordan Hall is very highly regarded and well-known.
The NEC offers courses in instruments, song, composition, musicology, and improvisation to over 700 students.
Poulenc, Rachmaninoff, Gould, Menuhin, Rostropovich, Britten, Callas, Pavarotti, Boulez, Abbado...countless celebrity artists and stars have taken part in the Boston Celebrities Series !. However, the Boston Celebrity Series is also known for helping young up-and-coming artists gain exposure, having launched the careers of now critically-acclaimed artists such as Yo Yo Ma and Cecilia Bartoli.
The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is universally recognized as a leader in the field of early music. Since its founding in 1980 by leading practitioners of historical performance in the United States and abroad, BEMF has promoted early music through a variety of diverse programs and activities, including an annual concert series that brings the early music’s brightest stars to the Boston concert stage, and the biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London).
Most recently, BEMF initiated a project to record some of its groundbreaking work in the field of Baroque opera. BEMF has released two recordings thus far-Conradi’s Ariadne and Lully’s Thésée-each of which earned a Grammy Nomination for Best Opera Recording. The third CD featuring Lully’s Psyché was in May 2008. Through its programs BEMF has earned its place as North America’s premier presenting organization for conservators and performers of music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods and has secured Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe).
The Beehive is a club-restaurant and artist café in Boston. It takes its name from « la Ruche », the famous artist workshop in the Montparnasse section of Paris, and former home of artists and poets such as Léger, Chagall, and Cendrars.
Taking its inspiration from La Ruche, the Beehive seeks to embrace a mixing of cultures. Located in the Boston Center for the Arts, the Beehive presents an eclectic mix of talented jazz and cabaret musicians who perform throughout the week, making this a truly unique Boston venue.
A favorite spot for Berklee students, Cafe 939 (Boylston Street) is a place that mixes musical genres and opens its doors to international artists as well as student musicians, who play before a crowd of both expert and amateur music enthusiasts who gather together to enjoy the diverse sounds.
One of the best-reputed jazz clubs in New England, the Regattabar reflects well the diversity of Cambridge, demonstrated by its artists as well as its clientele. Each year this bar organizes a Jazz festival that hosts the best names in Jazz music today. The Regattabar is located in the Charles Hotel.
The Scullers Jazz Club presents jazz lovers with the best and biggest musicians of the genre, but also hosts Blues, Soul, R&B, Cabaret, and World Music artists from all over the world. Artists include: Harry Connick, Jr., Chris Botti, Jamie Cullam, David Sanborn, Michael Bublé, Arturo Sandoval, Tony Bennett, and Wynton Marsalis, to name a few. This famous jazz club offers a magnificent view of the Boston city skyline and the Charles River.