Affectionately known as “America’s Orchestra,” the Boston Pops is the most recorded and arguably the most beloved orchestra in the country, beginning with the establishment of the modern-era Pops by Arthur Fiedler and continuing through the innovations introduced by John Williams and the new-millennium Pops spearheaded by Keith Lockhart. Its remarkable history began with its founding in 1885. Fours years earlier, in 1881, Civil War veteran Henry Lee Higginson founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra, calling its establishment “the dream of my life.” From the start he intended to present, in the warmer months, concerts of light classics and the popular music of the day. From a practical perspective, Higginson realized that these “lighter” performances would provide year-round employment for his musicians. In May 1885—a little more than a month before the inaugural “Promenade Concert”—German-born conductor Adolf Neuendorff, under the aegis of the BSO, conducted a series of “Popular Concerts” in the Boston Music Hall, where the audience sat in typical concert seating and no refreshments were served. On July 11, 1885, Neuendorff—who became the first conductor of the Pops, before that name was officially adopted—led the first official “Promenade Concert,” distinguished from “Popular Concerts” by virtue of seating (tables and chairs instead of auditorium-style rows), program format (three parts divided by two intermissions, during which patrons could promenade around the concert hall), and the availability of food and beverages. For the rest of the 19th century, although formally called “Promenade Concerts,” they continued to be referred to informally as “Popular,” which eventually became shortened to “Pops,” the name officially adopted in 1900. The following year the orchestra performed for the first time in its new home, Symphony Hall. Not only is this performance space acoustically outstanding, it was also designed, at Higginson’s insistence, so that the rows of floor seats for Boston Symphony concerts could be replaced by tables and chairs for Pops concerts. To this day, patrons sitting at the cabaret-style tables can enjoy food and drink, along with the kind of musical entertainment only the Boston Pops can provide.
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Includes all guest artists. No fireworks.
GATES OPEN AT APPROXIMATELY 5PM
8:00PM: Concert begins
10:00PM: Concert ends
WEDNESDAY, JULY 4
Concert & Fireworks
GATES OPEN AT 9AM
8:00PM: Concert begins
10:30PM: Fireworks begin
11:00PM: Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular ends