Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1881 by Henry Lee Higginson, who was its director and financial backer until 1918. The orchestra performed at the Old Boston Music Hall for nearly 20 years until the 2,625-seat Symphony Hall was built in 1900; its concerts continue to be held there. The Boston Symphony's conductors have included Sir George Henschel (1881–84), Arthur Nikisch (1889–93), Karl Muck (1906–08; 1912–18), Pierre Monteux (1919–24), Serge Koussevitzky (1924–49), Charles Münch (1949–62), Erich Leinsdorf (1962–69), William Steinberg (1969–72), Seiji Ozawa (1973–2002), and James Levine (2004–11). One of America's oldest orchestras, it has summer activities that include the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Boston Pops Concerts. The Pops orchestra, which began with "Promenade" concerts in 1885 and has had its present title since 1900, has been conducted by Arthur Fiedler (1930–79), John Williams (1980–93), and Keith Lockhart (1995–).
See studies by M. A. De Wolfe Howe (1931); H. E. Dickson (1969); J. Baker-Carr (1977); C. A. Vigeland (1991).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.