Tickets & Events

Opening Night at Pops

Boston Pops

Symphony Hall - Boston, MA View Map

Celebrate the Opening Night of the Spring Pops season with Bernadette Peters, conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. Also on the program will be a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond by composer James Beckel featuring special guest narrator NASA Astronaut Sunita L Williams (Captain, U.S. Navy, Ret.)

Featured Performers

Keith Lockhart, conductor
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Having celebrated his twentieth anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor in 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's thirteen-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the legendary Arthur Fiedler, who as at the helm of the orchestra for nearly fifty years. During his tenure, Keith Lockhart has significantly expanded Pops programming, focused on national annual touring, and participated in major media events. He has solidified the orchestra's place in the fabric of the New England community and has led the Boston Pops in countless performance situations. The list of more than 250 guest artists with whom he has collaborated is a virtual "who's who" of performers and pop culture icons.

Keith Lockhart, who occupies the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor chair, has conducted more than 1,900 Boston Pops concerts, most of which have taken place during the orchestra's spring and holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall. Mr. Lockhart has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood, 43 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made 79 television shows and participated in such high-profile sporting events as Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA finals, the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony, and the Red Sox Opening Day game at Fenway Park in 2009. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular draws a live audience of over half a million to the Charles River Esplanade and millions more who view it on television or live webcast. Last year, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and Bloomberg exclusive media partner, the Pops organization presented its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television and all its media outlets. Both companies made initial three-year commitments to the event in 2017.

Mr. Lockhart has led eight albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label, including two-The Celtic Album and The Latin Album-that earned Grammy nominations. Recent releases on Boston Pops Recordings include The Red Sox Album, A Boston Pops Christmas-Live from Symphony Hall, and The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, which was a Boston Pops commission premiered in 2010 during the orchestra's 125th season. Released at the beginning of the 2017 Pops season, Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams features Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, some of which can be considered rarities.

Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on musical theater, attracting such leading Broadway artists as Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, and Billy Porter to the Pops stage. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians, including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and area high school students. He introduced the PopSearch talent competition and the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, featuring prominent jazz and indie artists performing with the Pops. He is dedicated to building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which contains over five thousand arrangements.

With a renewed commitment to bring the Boston Pops into the Boston community and to important civic events, Keith Lockhart and the Pops have appeared at gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the annual tree lighting in Boston's Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics games; and the memorial service for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. He has led free concerts in such major public spaces as Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season brings members of the Pops to play for patients at Children's Hospital.

Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly from the stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops experience apart from a traditional orchestra concert-an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of all ages.

Having just completed an eight-year tenure as principal conductor, Keith Lockhart is now chief guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London, which he led in the June 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II; he is also artistic director of the Brevard Music Center summer institute and festival in North Carolina. Prior to his BBC appointment, he spent eleven years as music director of the Utah Symphony, which he led at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major symphonic ensemble in North America, as well as many prestigious orchestras in Asia and Europe. Prior to coming to Boston, he was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Keith Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.

Keith Lockhart, conductor Bernadette Peters
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Throughout her illustrious career, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, film, and television, in concert, and on recordings. Best known for her stage work, Ms. Peters recently starred on Broadway as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the hit musical Hello, Dolly! She also enjoys a career that boasts an impressive list of television credits, including Amazon Prime’s highly popular Mozart in the Jungle, which won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy or Musical series. She also appears in the CBS All-Access series The Good Fight, a spin-off of the network’s popular series The Good Wife. One of Broadway’s most critically acclaimed performers, Ms. Peters has garnered numerous accolades, including three Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, three Emmy and four Grammy Award nominations, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Other recent theater credits include City Center’s Encores! Production A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim and orchestrations by Wynton Marsalis, and on Broadway, Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Follies. Ms. Peters received both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Song and Dance. She also won a Tony Award for her performance in Annie Get Your Gun. She received Tony nominations for her outstanding performances in Sam Mendes’s critically acclaimed revival of Gypsy, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, the Jerry Herman/Gower Champion ode to the movies Mack and Mabel, and the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green musical On the Town. In addition to these honors, Ms. Peters earned a Drama Desk nomination for her unforgettable portrayal of the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Other television credits include NBC-TV’s Smash and ABC-TV’s Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty, to name a few. In addition to starring in the Lifetime TV movie Living Proof, Ms. Peters has lit up the silver screen in 17 films throughout her distinguished career. She received a Golden Globe Award for her memorable performance in Pennies from Heaven. Other film credits include The Jerk, The Longest Yard, Silent Movie, Annie, Pink Cadillac, Slaves of New York, Woody Allen’s Alice, Impromptu, It Runs in the Family, and Coming Up Roses. She has recorded six solo albums, including the Grammy-nominated I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; Sondheim, Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall; and Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein, in addition to numerous original Broadway cast recordings. Ms. Peters devotes her time and talents to numerous events that benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Her “pet project” Broadway Barks, co-founded with Mary Tyler Moore, is an annual, star-studded dog and cat adoption event that benefits shelter animals in the New York City area. She is a New York Times bestselling author who has penned three children’s books: Broadway Barks, Stella Is a Star, and Stella and Charlie: Friends Forever. All of her proceeds from the sale of these books benefit Broadway Barks. She resides in New York with her rescue dogs, Charlie and Rosalia. Ms. Peters has performed with the Boston Pops on numerous occasions. Her most recent appearances with “America’s Orchestra” were in May and July 2015 at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, respectively, and on a tour of the Midwest in 2017.

Bernadette Peters
Sunita Williams, (Captain, U.S. Navy, Ret.) NASA Astronaut
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Sunita L. Williams is a NASA astronaut and a veteran of the U.S. Navy whose career is distinguished by remarkable feats and firsts. In 1987 Capt. Williams received her commission as an Ensign in the Navy, beginning a tenure in which she served in various aviation-engineering capacities, logging more than 3,000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft. In 1995, she was assigned to the USS Saipan as the aircraft handler and assistant air boss. Capt. Williams was deployed onboard the USS Saipan when she was selected by NASA for the astronaut program in 1998. Following a period of training and evaluation, she worked in Moscow with the Russian Space Agency on contributions to the International Space Station and with the first Expedition crew. Following the return of Expedition 1, Capt. Williams worked in the robotics branch on the station’s robotic arm and the follow-on Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. She is a veteran of two space missions, Expeditions 14/15 and 32/33, and is currently training for her third long-duration mission to the International Space Station. In 2007, aboard the station, Sunita Williams became the first person to run a marathon in space: registered as a runner in the Boston Marathon, she covered the distance in 4 hours and 24 minutes while hurtling around Earth at roughly 5 miles per second.

Sunita Williams, (Captain, U.S. Navy, Ret.) NASA Astronaut James Beckel, composer
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James Beckel, composer of From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond, was born in Marion, Ohio. A very active composer and arranger, Mr. Beckel has had his original works performed by professional orchestras across the country and recorded by ensembles such as the Indianapolis Brass Ensemble, the Houston Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony, as well as Greg Hustis and members of the Dallas Symphony, who recorded Mr. Beckel’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Glass Bead Game: Concerto for Horn and Orchestra. Mr. Beckel has written a number of successful patriotic works that have been performed by the United States Coast Guard Band and the Air Force Band of Flight. A member of the music faculty at DePauw University, Mr. Beckel was the principal trombonist with the Indiana Symphony from 1969 to his retirement in 2018.

James Beckel, composer