SHOTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5

ShostakovichShostakovich's Symphony No. 5
BSO Concertmaster Richard Burgin led the BSO in its first performances of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony on January 20 and 21, 1939 at Symphony Hall.  These performances were the first performances in Boston.  

Following the first performances, BSO music director Serge Koussevitzky programmed the Fifth Symphony frequently, leading the BSO in a total of 36 performances between 1940 and 1948 in Boston, at Tanglewood, and as part of the BSO's frequent out-of-town concerts.   In all, Richard Burgin conducted the work 24 times between 1939 and 1967. 

Other conductors to lead the BSO in performances of the fifth symphony include, Leopold Stokowski, Charles Mackerras, James dePreist, Mstivslav Rostropovich, Neemi Jarvi, Mariss Jansons, Seiji Ozawa, Jens Georg Bachman, Daniele Gatti, Michael TilsonThomas, Stéphane Denève, and Andris Nelsons. 

One of the BSO's most memorable performances by the BSO was conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich at Tanglewood on August 9, 1975.  By sheer coincidence, It was during this concert that news of Shostakovich's passing reached Tanglewood concertgoers, and a moment of silence was held in honor of the late composer. 

CLICK HERE to view the BSO's performance history of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in HENRY, the BSO's Performance History Database!

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ShostakovichFeatured Documents and Photographs
Click the links below to view the full documents.

Program for January 20, 21, 1939 performances at Symphony Hall (PDF)

Reviews of first performances, January 1939 (PDF)

Program for Serge Koussevitzky's first performances , October 18-22, 1940 (PDF)

Reviews of SK's first performances, October 1940 (PDF)

Program August 9, 1975 performance at Tanglewood conducted by Mstislav Rostroprovich (PDF)

Documents relating to the announcement of Shostakovich's death made at Tanglewood (PDF)

Reviews of August 9, 1975 performance at Tanglewood (PDF)

 

 

Shostakovich No.5
Richard Burgin conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra, undated (Photographer unknown)

Featured Media Files
Watch/listen to related media in the BSO Media Center. 

Watch/Listen to Related Media Now

Including:

Telecast of BSO performance of Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Sanders Theater, Harvard University, November 21, 1961, conducted by Richard Burgin

Audio from the August 9, 1975 Announcement of the Death of Shostakovich 

Audio from the August 9, 1975 performance of Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, with Rostropovich conducting (excerpt only)

Mstislav Rostropovich and Seiji Ozawa recall the announcement, made at
Tanglewood, of Shostakovich's death, August 1975.

 

Featured Photographs

Koussevitzky conducts rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938 Serge Koussevitzky leads the BSO in rehearsal, 1938 (Photograph by Tucker)
 
Koussevitzky conducts rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938
Formal portrait of the BSO and Serge Koussevitzky, ca. 1940 (Photograph by Paul Davis)
 
Koussevitzky conducts rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938
Richard Burgin leads the BSO in a rehearsal, undated (Photograph by Fred Fehl) 
Seiji Ozawa and Dmitri Shostakovich
With his arm around Rostropovich, Seiji Ozawa announces news of Shostakovich's death at intermission during the August 9, 1975 concert at Tanglewood (Photograph by Heinz Weissenstein, Whitestone Photo)
Koussevitzky conducts rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938
Rostropovich kisses Shostakovich 5th score at the end of the BSO performance, August 9, 1975 (Photograph by Heinz Weissenstein, Whitestone Photo) 
Koussevitzky conducts rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938
Flowers placed on score to Shostakovich's 5th Symphony following the BSO performance conducted by Rostropovich, August 9, 1975 (Photograph by Heihnz Weissenstein, Whitestone Photo)