FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the question to get an answer!
When was the Boston Pops name coined?
Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra first performed a summer program of light music in a café-style setting on July 11, 1885, under the direction of Adolf Neuendorff. The event was known as a Promenade Concert. The term "Pops" was first officially used during the 1900 season; the term "Boston Pops Orchestra" was first used in July 1935 for the ensemble's debut recording sessions under Arthur Fiedler.
Are the musicians from the Boston Pops the same as the BSO?
The Boston Pops Orchestra consists of the members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), minus 11 of the principals who tour as the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
What is the format of the concerts?
The Boston Pops introduced a three-part program format that has been widely imitated: an opening section of light classical music, a middle section featuring a classical or popular soloist, and a conclusion featuring music such as Broadway show tunes, film music, hits from the big band era, and patriotic favorites.
When is the next "Evening at Pops" broadcast?
Sorry, but the program is no longer in production. Hopefully, there are some TV stations with some reruns.
Who were the major conductors for the "Evening at Pops" TV broadcasts?
Arthur Fiedler, was Pops Conductor from 1930 until his death in 1979. The PBS series "Evening at Pops" was launched in 1970 and made Fiedler a national icon. John Williams, who was appointed Conductor of the Pops in January 1980, maintained the popularity of the "Evening at Pops" telecasts. Since stepping down in 1993, John Williams has held the title of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor. Keith Lockhart, appointed in February 1995, made 38 new programs for "Evening at Pops."
What is the "The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra"?
The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra consists of freelance musicians from Boston, organized by the management of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, performs in Symphony Hall from mid-June through early-July, plays free outdoor concerts at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade during July (including the annual Fourth of July celebration), tours regularly throughout the United States, and performs Holiday Pops concerts and a New Year's Eve gala.
On which TV stations were broadcasted "Evening at Pops"?
Evening at Pops, a co-production of WGBH-TV in Boston and the BSO, has been broadcast nationally on PBS since 1969 and attracts a cumulative audience of nearly 40 million viewers each season.
And on which stations the July 4th celebrations?
The annual Fourth of July concert from the Charles River Esplanade has been broadcast nationally on television since 1990, first on A&E Television (1990-2002) and starting in 2003 on CBS Television as the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. Live local radio broadcasts of the Boston Pops began in 1952; weekly broadcasts of Pops concerts were syndicated nationally from 1962 until 1992.
Has the Boston Pops orchestra ever being on a tour?
Yes, the Boston Pops and Boston Pops Esplanade orchestras have performed in 43 of the contiguous United States, plus Hawaii and the District of Columbia. During John Williams' tenure, the orchestra performed in concerts at the White House and the Lincoln Memorial as part of the Pops' centennial celebration in 1985, and the BPEO performed at the Statue of Liberty on the occasion of the monument's rededication in 1986. Mr. Williams also undertook three tours of Japan. Since his appointment in February 1995, Keith Lockhart has led the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on 33 tours of the United States, and made two Carnegie Hall appearances with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Mr. Lockhart made his first overseas tour with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra to Japan and Korea in June 1997, and returned to Asia in July 2001, 2002, and 2003 for concerts in Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul.
Where I can find "Evening at Pops" videos?
The only official DVD that I'm aware of, is "Broadway's Best at Pops." As for individual broadcasts you must look for collectors and see what you can find. Of course, some might be available at YouTube. Tip. Some John Williams' fans are also Boston Pops collectors.
Which are some of the works commissioned/premiered by the Boston Pops?
Compositions commissioned and premiered by the Boston Pops include The Neville Feast by Christopher Rouse (2003), Convergence: Concerto for Pops Orchestra by Christopher Brubeck (2001), With Voices Raised by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, creators of the hit Broadway musical Ragtime (1999), Spumante by Dan Welcher (Keith Lockhart’s first commission as Boston Pops Conductor, 1998), Promenade Overture by John Corigliano (a Boston Symphony Orchestra Centennial Commission); Ragomania: A Classic Festival Overture by William Bolcom; 1712 Overture by P.D.Q. Bach (a Boston Pops Centennial Research Commission, with introductory remarks by Professor Peter Schickele); An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise by Peter Maxwell Davies (a Boston Pops Centennial Commission); Overture to a Pops Concert by Henry Mancini (a Boston Pops Centennial Commission); Boston Overture by William Thomas McKinley; freeflight by Joseph Schwantner; Vintage Renaissance by William Kraft; and Interplay by Christopher Brubeck (commissioned for the Evening at Pops "Fiddlers Three" broadcast, winner of an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, 2002). World premieres composed by John Williams that have been performed at Boston Pops concerts are The Cowboys Overture, The Reivers, Jubilee 350 Fanfare, Pops on the March (to Arthur Fiedler), Olympic Fanfare and Theme (commissioned by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee), Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (soloist Chester Schmitz), Liberty Fanfare (commissioned by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.), "Hymn to New England," from New England Time Capsule (composed for the Mugar Omni Theater at the Museum of Science), We're Lookin’ Good! (composed for the Special Olympics in celebration of the 1987 International Summer Games), Celebrate Discovery! (written for the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus), and Summon the Heroes (written for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics). In 2010, the Pops will perform the world premiere of Williams's Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, with Pops' principal violist Cathy Basrak as soloist.
Which are some of the artists who performed at the concerts?
Among the soloists who have appeared with the Boston Pops are Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Kathleen Battle, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Big & Rich, Mariah Carey, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Kristin Chenoweth, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Linda Eder, Roberta Flack, James Galway, Crystal Gayle, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Josh Groban, Thomas Hampson, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Nathan Lane, k.d. lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Barry Manilow, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, John Mayer, Martina McBride, Audra McDonald, Reba McEntire, Don McLean, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Aaron Neville, Jessye Norman, Elaine Paige, Mandy Patinkin, Penn & Teller, Itzhak Perlman, Oscar Peterson, John Pizzarelli, The Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Rawls, LeAnn Rimes, Max Roach, Professor Peter Schickele, Doc Severinsen, Isaac Stern, Sting, Jubilant Sykes, James Taylor, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mel Tormé, Stephen Tyler, Dawn Upshaw, Shirley Verrett, Frederica von Stade, Hayley Westenra, Vanessa Williams, and Trisha Yearwood.