Entertainment » Music

Boston Pops Announce Diverse Programming for 2019 Spring Season

Thursday Feb 21, 2019

Eclectic is the best word to describe The 2019 Boston Pops' Spring season, which runs from May 8 to June 15 at Symphony Hall. From appearances by Broadway luminaries (Bernadette Peters, Leslie Odom, Jr.) to a series of innovative programs by Grammy and MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner Rhiannon Giddens, the new season, which features ten programs conducted by the orchestra's conductor Keith Lockhart (in his 24th season), promises a mix of tradition and innovation.

"What I love most about planning each Boston Pops spring season is the challenge of introducing new artists and musical themes while also focusing on the great musical traditions that our wonderful audiences have come to cherish and expect each year. I think we've found that perfect balance for the 2019 season," said Lockhart.

Opening Night at Pops and the entire 2019 Boston Pops season are sponsored by Fidelity Investments.


Opening Night — Wednesday, May 8 — heralds the much-anticipated Boston Pops return of Bernadette Peters, legendary star of stage and screen. Amongst the impressive line-up that follows include special appearances by comedienne Jane Lynch, travel guru Rick Steves, and Grammy and MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner Rhiannon Giddens who will curate and perform in an electrifying four-concert survey of American Roots music. These special debuts take place alongside concerts showcasing returning popular artists and classic Boston Pops programming, including appearances by Arlo Guthrie, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Cirque de la Symphonie, as well as a film presentation in conjunction with a concert performance of "Star Wars: A New Hope," the 1977 blockbuster that features one of John Williams' most iconic scores and the return of the Boston Pops' Gospel Night spectacular.

The 134th Boston Pops season — encompassing a wide spectrum of concerts that showcase a remarkable breadth and versatility of musical genres for which "America's Orchestra" is universally recognized — takes place in the festive atmosphere of world-famous Symphony Hall, where patrons can sit at cabaret-style tables and order food and drink with family and friends during performances. Tickets to the 2019 Boston Pops season go on sale Monday, February 25, at 888-266-1200 or at the Boston Pops website.

The season-opening concert on May 8 with Bernadette Peters is followed that weekend by a special film presentation of the original "Star Wars: A New Hope" (1977) with John Williams' Academy Award®-winning score, performed in full by Lockhart and the Boston Pops. There will be four performances, including a Saturday family matinee (5/10, 11 & 14).


A celebration a half-century in the making, Summer of '69 commemorates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with musical icon, songwriter, storyteller, and singer Arlo Guthrie (5/15 & 16). Guthrie takes audiences back to a year of unprecedented scientific exploration, social change, and creative ferment. The orchestra and Maestro Lockhart will pay tribute to two of 1969's pioneering albums: the Beatles' "Abbey Road" and the Who's rock opera "Tommy." The program also remembers the Apollo 11 moon landing with "From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond," a new multimedia work by Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer James Beckel.

Singer, violinist, and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens, who made her highly acclaimed Boston Pops debut during the 2018 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, returns with her band for a week-long Pops residency, Redefining American Music. For the first two evenings, Giddens joins the Pops for a genre-busting evening of music from her critically acclaimed albums, fusing influences from roots, jazz, blues, country, gospel, and Celtic music (6/22 & 23). The next two nights she curates a program that spotlights overlooked African American musicians. Broadway vocalist Darius de Haas and pianist Lara Downes join Giddens and the Pops for music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Billy Strayhorn, Eubie Blake, Florence Price, Hazel Scott, and more (6/24 & 25).

"When we were introduced to Rhiannon Giddens at the 2018 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, we were blown away by her extraordinary and wide-ranging talent," explains Lockhart. "Now this Grammy and MacArthur 'Genius Grant' winner makes her Symphony Hall debut in a major way — presenting a four-day mini-festival. It is truly a dream come true for me and the Pops to dedicate this amount of time to an artist we so deeply believe in, and whose gifts are so abundant."


Families with young children have numerous offerings to choose from during the 2019 Boston Pops season. Once Upon a Time... takes listeners on a variety of odysseys; both Saturday matinees (5/25 and 6/1) include selections by musical storytellers John Williams and Aaron Copland, as well as Lemony Snicket's "The Composer Is Dead!," a contemporary whodunit that has quickly become a children's classic. The performance on June 1 is a Boston Pops first: a sensory-friendly concert designed for patrons with autism-spectrum disorders or other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. For this abridged, 70-minute Once Upon a Time... program, Symphony Hall will be a welcoming space offering lower volume and lighting levels, relaxed house rules, minimal crowds to allow for movement, available noise-reduction headphones, designated quiet room and support spaces, modified food concessions, and staff and credentialed autism therapist volunteers trained to be responsive to families' needs.

The family-friendly programming continues with Maestro Lockhart conducting John Williams Film Night Tribute, popular scores by the Boston Pops Conductor Laureate performed live to film excerpts (5/29-30). Following successful past Pops engagements, Cirque de la Symphonie also returns with a unique, multifaceted show of aerial acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, and dancers all sharing the stage with the Boston Pops (6/8).


Additional highlights of the 2019 Boston Pops season include special performances by the highly acclaimed star of "Hamilton," Leslie Odom, Jr. (6/5 & 6), who returns to the Pops for a centenary tribute to Nat King Cole and sings many of his own favorite Broadway songs; three-time Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning comedienne Jane Lynch ("Glee" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") making her Pops debut with hilarious renditions of hits from Broadway, the Great American Songbook, and more (6/11 & 12); and travel expert Rick Steves serving as cultural and historical guide for a European tour of music by Grieg, Smetana, J. Strauss, Berlioz, Wagner, and Verdi, accompanied by a video montage curated by Steves (6/12, 13, & 14). To close the season, returning conductor Charles Floyd leads the 27th annual Gospel Night performance, featuring gospel legend Dottie Peoples and the Boston Pops Gospel Choir paying special respect to the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, and her 1972 landmark album "Amazing Grace" (6/15).

Tickets to the 2019 Boston Pops season go on sale Monday, February 25 and are available at 888-266-1200 or at the Boston Pops website. For the May 11 & 25 and June 8 matinee concerts, there is a 50% discount for young patrons ages 17 and under. Additional initiatives include a 15% discount for groups of 25 or more. Details about the 2019 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be announced later this spring.


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