Symphony Hall Online Exhibits

Symphony-HallSymphony Hall Online Exhibits
An online companion to archival exhibits featured in Boston's Symphony Hall

At the start of each season, BSO Archives staff select documents, photographs, and artifacts from the Archives’ permanent collection for display in exhibit cases located throughout the orchestra and first balcony levels of Symphony Hall. The Symphony Hall Exhibit Program as it exists today was inaugurated in 2000 when the BSO celebrated Symphony Hall’s Centennial. Because Symphony Hall does not have a gallery or museum space, the decision was made to incorporate the displays into the hallways so that patrons visiting Symphony Hall would be able to discover different aspects of the BSO’s and Symphony Hall’s history as part of the concert-going experience. Each case is organized around a theme inspired by an anniversary, an artistic or programmatic emphasis, a significant event, the acquisition of a document or artifact by the Archives, or just for the fun of it!

In order to share the content of the exhibits with a wider audience—especially after the cancellation of the remainder of the BSO season and the entire Pops season—we are pleased to share with you virtually content from the 2019-2020 Symphony Hall exhibits.

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A Tour of Firsts: The 1960 BSO Australasian Tour

The BSO embarked on its first Far East tour on April 25, 1960, with Charles Munch. The orchestra performed 36 concerts in 26 cities over 55 days and traveled to Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.

1960 Australasian Tour Online Exhibit >


Reveries and Revelries: The 1978 BSO Japan Tour

The Boston Symphony Orchestra embarked on its first tour to Japan with Music Director Seiji Ozawa in February 1978. The tour spanned 20 days with 13 concerts in 9 cities, and included performances by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and pianist Rudolf Serkin, and a joint performance with the Toho Gakuen School of Music orchestra.

1978 Japan Tour Online Exhibit >


The BSO Goes to China: The 1979 BSO China Tour

In 1979, the BSO and Seiji Ozawa traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, becoming the first American orchestra to visit the People’s Republic of China following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China on January 1, 1979.

1979 China Tour Online Exhibit >


Paul Vinal Winter’s Portrait Bust of Serge Koussevitzky, ca. 1936

This exhibit case is inspired by a gift to the BSO Archives in 2018 of Paul Vinal Winters’ portrait bust of Serge Koussevitzky.

Koussevitzky Bust Online Exhibit >

Symphony Hall

Views of Symphony Hall

While the outward appearance of Symphony Hall has changed very little since its opening in 1900, there have been many changes to the surrounding streets, buildings, and businesses.

Views of Symphony Hall Online Exhibit >



Tickets Please! Buying Tickets to the BSO

In response to the high demand for BSO concert season tickets during the first two seasons, a portion of the seats on the floor and on the first balcony were sold via auction to the highest bidder prior to the beginning of the season.

Tickets Please! Online Exhibit >


Principal Cellists of the BSO

Since the BSO’s founding in 1881, fourteen cellists have held the seat of principal cello for the BSO.

Principal Cellists Online Exhibit >


Jesús Mariá Sanromá: The BSO’s First Pianist

A native of Puerto Rico, Jesús Mariá Sanromá came to Boston at age 14 to study piano with David Sequeira at the New England Conservatory of Music. He was appointed the BSO’s first official pianist (1923- 1939), responsible for playing the difficult piano parts in contemporary works being performed by the BSO during this era.

Jesús Mariá Sanromá Online Exhibit >


Violin Soloists at the BSO in the Early 20th Century

Inspired by the generous donation to the BSO Archives, learn more about the soloists who performed with the BSO in the early part of the 20th Century.

20th Century Violin Soloists Online Exhibit >


A Place for Community: Community Uses of Symphony Hall

Since its inaugural season, Symphony Hall has welcomed the Boston community as a place for education, entertainment, philanthropy, worship, and celebration.

Community Uses of Symphony Hall Online Exhibit >



The Road Less Traveled: Travelogues in Symphony Hall, 1900-1950

Travel lectures were a popular source of entertainment at Symphony Hall in the early 20th century. The engaging talks by amateur and professional travelers and explorers were often accompanied by colored lantern slides and moving images that transported the audience to far-flung destinations.

Travelogues Online Exhibit >