BSO In Residence

BSO in Residence"BSO In Residence"
A paradigm for building creative collaborations between an orchestra and its surrounding communities. 

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The orchestra celebrated the launch of its first "BSO In Residence" program during the free Franklin Park concert on October 1, 2017, featuring the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, and BSO Youth and Family Concerts Conductor Thomas Wilkins. BSO in Residence expands the orchestra’s reach beyond the walls of Symphony Hall, collaborating directly with Greater Boston neighborhoods to learn about their cultural offerings and how the BSO might best share what it has to offer in return.   

The first "BSO In Residence" collaboration, which launched in 2017, is now taking place in Boston’s Jamaica Plain  for an initial three-year period. Developed from a year-long strategic planning process in consultation with community leaders, the program features performances, demonstrations, educational activities, and events that connect with Jamaica Plain's cultural strengths, vision, and resources.

Quote from Thomas Wilkins, BSO Youth and Family Concerts Conductor

"I am thrilled to lead the Boston Symphony's first 'BSO In Residence' initiative to build deep and meaningful relationships with the people who live in Jamaica Plain, and bring the BSO's music beyond the walls of Symphony Hall and out into the greater community.  'BSO In Residence' is an ambitious program with the goal of presenting exciting events and performances that connect people with classical music, alongside the rich cultural offerings of their unique neighborhoods.  All of us at the BSO believe that we must share this amazing music that touches so many of us with those who may not otherwise be able to experience it. I am grateful that the orchestra is committed to devoting all the resources necessary to this innovative and important program.   It is the right thing to do."

Quote from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

"The Boston Symphony Orchestra has an impressive history of offering exceptional performances and programs that people from all over the world have enjoyed for many years.  I commend the Orchestra on their new BSO In Residence program that will bring the wonders and world-class talent of the Boston Symphony Orchestra directly to the people and neighborhoods of Boston."

Quote from Jamaica Plain Community Leader: Femke Rosenbaum

"This partnership has brought together representatives from a wide variety of public, private, and non-profit organizations in JP, as well as artists and music lovers. The BSO offers many resources and has already implemented ideas that have come from the group, such as a trip to Tanglewood and Pop Up concerts at JP events. Together with the BSO, we hope to enrich the cultural life of our whole community, in the streets, at halls and centers, in the schools, during events, and more.  Join us for the the entertainment, the surprise, the adventure, and the learning.  What fun!"

"BSO in Residence'' Program Reflects Findings of City's "Boston Creates" Cultural Plan

"BSO in Residence" directly reflects the findings of Mayor Walsh's "Boston Creates" cultural plan, which highlighted the depth and diversity of Boston's cultural richness and the need to celebrate the unique cultural heritage and artistic strengths of Boston's many surrounding communities. In addition, the Mayor's plan uncovered significant challenges concerning arts access, including feedback from participants who expressed feeling uncomfortable visiting Boston's major arts organizations, while at the same time also expressing a genuine desire for greater access points to these mainstream cultural institutions. 

Though the BSO's many community-building initiatives-primarily focused on bringing people to Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, or presenting concerts in community venues-have worked towards creating access to the BSO for many people, they have not, until now, addressed the specific needs and interests of Boston's unique neighborhoods. In an effort to better serve Boston neighborhoods that have been less engaged with the BSO's many activities, the "BSO In Residence" program will work with partnering communities to develop program activities that reflect the artistic and cultural diversity of their neighborhoods and find new ways to make them feel welcome at Symphony Hall and the orchestra's summer home, Tanglewood in western Massachusetts.

By broadening the BSO's experience of its partnering communities' artistic resources, and at the same time creating new opportunities for those communities to take part in the orchestra's many offerings, the BSO hopes to help advance an ongoing atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation for the incredibly rich, vibrant, and multifaceted artistic offerings available far and wide throughout Boston.   

Community Application and Program Planning Processes for "BSO in Residence"

As the result of a comprehensive application process that drew the interest of six neighborhood districts, the BSO decided to launch "BSO In Residence" in collaboration with Jamaica Plain as its first partner community. The BSO has been working closely with Jamaica Plain's neighborhood arts center Spontaneous Celebrations, and founder Femke Rosenbaum, whose mission has been to spark community engagement and social equality through the arts for over forty years. The center's work to establish deep ties across the Jamaica Plain community-including relationships with bilingual neighborhood schools and a variety of multicultural arts organizations-played a key role in the choice of JP as the first "BSO In Residence" community, as it was determined that these community ties would provide a solid foundation upon which to build a centralized, strategic, and inclusive program. The application and site visit process further demonstrated that the program would have a great potential to serve the diverse community of Jamaica Plain.

In addition to Spontaneous Celebrations, organizations that have been involved in the planning process include A Far Cry, BalletRox, Boston Public Library-Connolly and JP branches, Curley School, Eliot School, The Arboretum, Hernandez School, La Piñata, Margarita Muñiz Academy, Spanish Immersion Program, Curtis Hall Community Center, and JP Centre/South Main Streets, among others. Contact for more information.

Support for "BSO in Residence"

The "BSO In Residence" is supported by the Futures Fund, a grant program of the League of American Orchestras which supports orchestras that are making significant investments in organizational learning and innovation; the League will also play a part in program evaluation so that results can be shared as a learning tool across the field. Additional support comes from the Boston Foundation, Yawkey Foundation, The Willow Tree Fund, Sean Rush and Carol C. McMullen, and Drs. James and Eleanor Herzog.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council, and administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.