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The Boston Pops Announces its First-Ever All-Virtual Spring Pops Season

Programming features jazz to classic pop, big band, musical theater and more, as well as a legendary archival video performance by Ella Fitzgerald.

The Boston Pops Announces its First-Ever All-Virtual Spring Pops Season

For the first time in its 136-year history, the one-and-only Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart, is presenting its spring season completely online, bringing the style and energy cherished by audiences at its live concerts at Symphony Hall to an online season filled with a wide-ranging spectrum of musical offerings. From jazz to classic pop, big band, musical theater, and favorites from the Great American Songbook-as well as a legendary archival video performance by Ella Fitzgerald and a concert stream of rare and iconic gems from the film scores of our very own John Williams-the 2021 Boston Pops concert streams promise to recreate the magic and fun of a Pops performance for fans everywhere.

Given the positive reception of previously released digital streams-for the 2020 holiday season and Valentine's Day 2021-Keith and the Pops are eager to continue connecting with audiences online until restrictions on performing for a live audience are eased. Beginning on May 6, the first of six weekly concert streams will be distributed through the streaming platform BSO NOW, with the initial launch dates roughly corresponding to the span of the traditional spring Boston Pops season. All spring Pops 2021 content launches on Thursdays at noon, at www.bso.org/now and remains available for 30 days beyond its original release date. The 2021 Tanglewood season will proceed with a six-week schedule of live concerts with audiences, from July 9 through August 16, including two John Williams-themed Boston Pops concerts on July 23 and August 13; click here for more information about the 2021 Tanglewood season.

The BSO NOW concert streaming platform launched in November 2020 and was created in response to the live performance hiatus in place since March 2020, due to the restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the Boston Pops will present six concert streams, releasing each Thursday at noon through June 10 at www.bso.org/now. They consist of newly recorded performance streams, led by Maestro Lockhart, and iconic concert videos from the orchestra's archival treasure trove.

Statement from Keith Lockhart, the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor

"The Boston Pops and I are delighted to present our first-ever online spring season-a celebration of artists and music genres that play an essential role in this country's rich and wide-ranging spectrum of musical styles.

"For our four newly recorded concert streams launching this spring, we are thrilled to begin with a program that shines a spotlight on music written by and about women in honor of Mother's Day, with classic songs of Carole King and ABBA appearing on the same program as music of Bach, Lerner and Loewe, Clara Schumann, and William Grant Still.

"A hallmark of the Boston Pops is a commitment to programming that is both inspirational and entertaining, and these qualities are on full display in a concert stream dedicated to poignant melodies and legendary themes from the film scores of John Williams. We will also take a special look at the roots of jazz through programming that champions such geniuses of the multi-faceted genre as Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Scott Joplin. You'll hear two piano pieces that define their era: Joplin's 'Maple Leaf Rag' from the turn of the century, which I will play, and James P. Johnson's 'anthem' of the 1920s, 'The Charleston,' performed by David Coleman. Putting a significant focus on some of Boston's most talented young musicians, the Boston Pops is thrilled to give these students a chance to hone their skills by sharing the stage with the amazingly versatile musician, mandolinist Chris Thile.

"Reprises of a legendary Boston Pops program-Ella Fitzgerald singing under the direction of Arthur Fiedler-and a popular concert stream from last February, Boston Pops in Love, will round out the season with awe-inspiring performances from the distant and recent past.

"Though it's disappointing not to be able to perform live this spring for devoted patrons at Symphony Hall, the time is soon coming when we will be able to invite audiences back to concerts, starting with two Pops performances to take place this summer at Tanglewood.

"Until then, we sincerely hope that music lovers near and far will enjoy our concert streams with family and friends and experience the comfort and inspiration that music can bring us, especially during these ongoing challenging times. Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with those suffering the effects of the pandemic and with all the caregivers."

Now celebrating his 27th year with the Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart is the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor; click here for a recent biography. John Williams is the George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate. The director for the newly recorded portions of the BSO NOW series is Habib Azar; click here for a recent biography.

The 2021 Boston Pops online season opens on Mother's Day with the Pops and Keith Lockhart celebrating music by and about women. Available on Thursday, May 6, beginning at noon, The Boston Pops Celebrates Mother's Day: Honoring Women includes Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 3, the Main Theme from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, and works by Maurice Ravel, Rachel Bruerville, and William Grant Still that depict the love and care mothers give. Along with symphonic renditions of classic pop music by Carole King and ABBA, the concert will also feature a special performance of the first movement of Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto with Tanya Gabrielian, and the final movement from J.S. Bach's Double Concerto, played by Boston Pops violinist Ala Jojatu and her daughter, violinist Maria Jojatu.

The festive spirit continues May 13 with A Tribute to John Williams, which honors the legendary film composer and Boston Pops Conductor Laureate. Led by Maestro Lockhart, the concert stream includes the orchestra performing the breadth of Williams' music-from iconic (Star Wars, the Olympic Fanfare and Theme, the rousing Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark) to rarities ("Stargazers" from E.T.), accompanied by exclusive, intimate interviews with Williams telling the stories behind his music and career.

The concert stream for June 3, An Evening with Chris Thile and the Stars of Tomorrow, features Lockhart and the Pops as they host the 11th annual Fidelity Investmentsa?? Young Artists Competitiona?? concert.a??The winners of this year's competition, chosen by audition from high school students throughout the Commonwealth, join the Pops for a special concert, showcasing the talent and commitment of gifted young people, made even more impressive given the challenges they have faced this past year. This year's winners are violinist Ella Kim, Weston High School - Weston; trumpeter Cameron Shave, TEC Academy - Bridgewater; vocalist Lianna Paglia, Natick High School - Natick, and pianist Katherine Liu, Wellesley High School - Wellesley. Multiple Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile alsoa??joins the orchestra for his Boston Pops debut. A child prodigy himself, mandolinist Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, Live from Here) is one of today's great musical innovators; as an instrumentalist, composer, and vocalist, he transcends genres to create a new American music.a??The Boston Pops will add to the celebration with audience favorites drawn from Pops recordings of the last 25 years, including Runnin' Wild and the Grammy-nominated Celtic Albuma??anda??Latin Album.a??

The season's newly recorded offerings conclude on June 10 with The Roots of Jazz: American Voices. Keith Lockhart and the Pops trace the development of jazz from its New Orleans roots to the music of Black American innovators like Scott Joplin and "Father of the Blues" W.C. Handy. Pianist David Coleman also joins Keith Lockhart for a special performance of James P. Johnson's "The Charleston" and an exploration of the stride master's influence on American music. Further along in the program, the Pops will highlight the music of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, three great American musicians who were instrumental in bringing jazz to a worldwide audience, and pay tribute to modern jazz pioneer Dave Brubeck as the musical world celebrates the centennial of his birth.

Originally presented as a BSO NOW livestream on February 12, 2021 (the first livestream in BSO NOW history), this encore presentation of Boston Pops in Love, a performance of music and dance on themes of romance, is available again as a concert stream on May 13. The concert features performances from three exciting Boston-based dance companies: dancers from Hybridmotion perform a pandemic-inspired tango, choreographed by Jun Kuribayashi and Mia Dalglish, to Gade's "Jalousie"; Lakaï Dance Theatre with choreography by its artistic director, McKersin, performs to selections from Bizet's Carmen and de Falla's El Amor brujo; and dancers from Subject:Matter bring their style, inspired by the history and tradition of tap in Boston, to the music of Fats Waller, with choreography by Ian Berg. Boston Arts Academy's Melody in Motion Ensemble features in a virtual choral performance, with director Molly Jo Rivelli and an instrumental ensemble of BAA faculty. Other highlights of this wide-ranging program include Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," Puccini's "Che gelida manina" (from La Bohème), and Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, as well as love themes from the scores of John Williams; a medley of romantic songs by Gershwin; and an archival performance accompanied by a new film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett.

for the first time in decades Exquisite Ella, a treasure from the Symphony Hall archives. Originally presented in June 1976 as part of GBH's Evening with Pops, the performance features the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in her prime. From the moment she appeared on stage at Symphony Hall-to a standing ovation no less-she continued to hold the Pops audience in the palm of her hand with exquisitely sung interpretations of tunes by Gershwin, Porter, and Ellington. Arthur Fiedler and the Pops accompany Fitzgerald following their performance of a boisterous medley from Guys and Dolls.


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