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

Kouss-ExhibitPaul 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 and the documentation that accompanied the gift. The items in the case seek to tell the story of how Winters came to meet Serge Koussevitzky (BSO Music Director, 1924-1949) through his acquaintance with BSO orchestra librarian Leslie Rogers and a BSO performance of John Alden Carpenter’s Skyscrapers, A Ballet of American Life, conducted by Serge Koussevitzky.

 

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

Kouss-Portrait

Portrait of Serge Koussevitzky, ca. 1940
BSO Music Director from 1924 to 1949.

Photograph by Lotte J. Neustein

Kouss-Bust-2

Portrait Bust of Serge Koussevitzky
Artist: Paul Vinal Winters (1906-1971)
Bronze-painted plaster portrait bust of BSO Music Director Serge Koussevitzky [1936]

This portrait bust was recently donated to the BSO by Mr. George Lee Humphrey, who inherited the piece from his father, George Norwood Humphrey, a member of the BSO’s viola section from 1934 to 1977. It is not known specifically how the elder Mr. Humphrey acquired the sculpture, possibly as a gift from Mr. and/or Mrs. Koussevitzky.

Gift of George Lee Humphrey, 2018

Winters-Scrapbook

Reproduction of Yearbook Entry for Paul Vinal Winters, 1929 (PDF)
Paul Vinal Winters attended the Massachusetts College of Art from 1925-1929, where he studied with painter Ernest L. Major and sculptor Cyrus Dallin. He worked his way through art school by playing gigs on his banjo (a Vega White Lady). He “hung out” with young artists and musicians in Boston in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s.

According to his daughter, Susan Winters Smith, Winters lived for a time in the same apartment building as BSO orchestra librarian Leslie Rogers, and was friendly with many BSO members. It was through this connection that he purportedly was hired to play the banjo part in at least one of the BSO’s 14 performances of Skyscrapers conducted by Koussevitzky between 1927 and 1939. When Koussevitzky learned that Winters was an artist as well as a musician, he asked the young man if he might like to sculpt him.

Letter from Paul Winters to Olga Koussevitzky, July 31, 1951 (PDF)
View the letter sent from sculptor Paul Winters to Olga Koussevitzky following the death of Serge Koussevitzky.

Reproduction courtesy Koussevitzky Collection, Library of Congress Music Division

Arthur Fiedler Esplanade Concerts Program, 1934 (PDF)
Paul Vinal Winters also modelled a sculpture of Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, an image of which was used for the Esplanade concert program cover in 1934.

Skyscrapers

BSO Orchestral Score of John Alden Carpenter's Skyscrapers (PDF)
A performance of John Alden Carpenter's Skyscrapers by Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO was the impetus behind the creation of Paul Vinal Winter's bust of Koussevitzky. This PDF contains the BSO orchestral score and banjo part used in BSO performances of the piece between the years 1927 and 1939.