Georg Henschel


The First BSO Conductor

The Second Season 1882-1883

The Second Season 1882-1883

For the second season Higginson demanded that the musicians be on call exclusively from Wednesday to Saturday if they signed an annual contract, an extremely novel concept for the time. The result was the basis of what we consider a full time orchestra of today, an annual contract that had 26 Saturday night concerts in Boston, 6 Sanders Theatre concerts in Cambridge (now moved to Thursday nights) and 19 performances in the major surrounding cities, Salem, Worcester, Lowell, Fitchburg, New Bedford, Massachusetts; Newport and Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine.

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The Second Season - Cambridge Concerts 1882-1883

The Second Season - Cambridge Concerts 1882-1883

As true of the first season, no programs are known to survive for the Boston Symphony's second season of concerts at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. The Harvard Crimson listed all six programs, now performed on Thursday evenings at 7:45, instead of Wednesday evenings the season before.

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The Second Season - Touch Concerts 1882-1883

The Second Season - Touch Concerts 1882-1883

Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of the early Boston Symphony history is the extent of the performances outside of Boston. By the end of the 1895-96 season, less than 750 of the 1400 Boston Symphony concerts were given within the city limits. Much of the documentation of these tour concerts ranges from sketchy to nonexistent. Few programs survive from the first years of the orchestra's history, leaving us only contemporary newspaper accounts to tell us about the Boston Symphony's pioneering ventures. This itinerary was assembled by cross-referencing repertoire from the BSO performance card file. From there, the schedule, confirming what is mentioned in Mark De Wolfe Howe's book on the Boston Symphony's early years*, and a letter Georg Henschel wrote to Brahms, October 29th, 1882**, finally comes to the surface here.

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The Third Season 1883-1884

The Third Season 1883-1884

Georg Henschel's final season as conductor of the Boston Symphony built on the previous two. The season was shortened slightly, from 26 Saturday night concerts down to 24. They continued their appearances at Harvard, with 6 concerts at Sanders Theatre, and visited a dozen cities, returning to Portland, Maine; Providence & Newport, Rhode Island; Fitchburg, Worcester, Lynn, Lowell, New Bedford and Salem Massachusetts; and making first visits to Melrose, Wakefield, Fall River and Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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