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Concert for the City

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Join us for a special, free performance dedicated to the people of this great city we call home! Led by BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons and Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, Concert for the City will feature a diverse musical program meant to celebrate the City of Boston and strengthen our community through the shared experience of remarkable music. Doors open at 12:30pm for pre-concert activities.

Concert for the City is generously supported by the Li-Qiu Family Foundation

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Boston Pops Orchestra
Keith Lockhart, conductor
Charlotte Blake Alston, narrator
The Hon. Michelle Wu, Mayor of Boston, piano

Invocation: Anjalequa Leynneyah Verona Birkett, Boston 2022 Youth Poet Laureate
John WILLIAMS Fanfare for Fenway
Geroge Whitefield CHADWICK Jubilee
Florence PRICE “Juba Dance” from Symphony No. 1
Duke ELLINGTON Come Sunday
 Charlotte Blake Alston, narrator
Valerie COLEMAN Seven O’Clock Shout
Wolfgang MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K.467 (2nd movement, Andante)
 Michelle Wu, piano
Roberto SIERRA Fandangos
Chick COREA (Arr. Emilio SOLLA) Spain
Dropkick Murphys (Arr. Pat HOLLENBECK) Shipping Up to Boston

A crowd is giving a standing ovation

Performance Details

May 7, 2023, 2:00pm EDT

Pre-Concert Activities

Doors open at 12:30pm


Berklee Chinese Traditional Music Club
Juan Nieves, Puerto Rican cuatro soloist
with Carlos Fabré, bass and David Antonio Rosado, percussion
 (Presented in partnership with Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción)
BSO Instrument Playground

About the Music

Boston has been an artistically vibrant city since long before the Boston Symphony Orchestra came on the scene in 1881, followed in 1885 by the Boston Pops. Over the years, the ever-changing cultural landscape of Boston and the metro area has sustained, even elevated that vibrancy, adding gloriously to the variety of stimulating and uplifting artistic experiences available to our community. As grateful participants in the community, the BSO is delighted to welcome you to Symphony Hall for these performances celebrating Boston and dedicated to the people of this great city we call home.

We could never cover the immense range of musical styles that thrive here, we’re delighted to present music by composers most of whom had or have strong Boston connections and whose music shows off the stylistic flair of our terrific performers. Some are dyed-in-the-wool locals. Lowell-born George Whitefield Chadwick was a prominent Boston composer and teacher whose played frequently by the BSO during his lifetime. The musician and composer Chick Corea was born and raised in Chelsea, MA, across the Mystic River from Boston, and became a sideman with Miles Davis on the way to his legendary status in the jazz world. Corea joined Keith and the Pops in two different seasons and performed at Tanglewood several times, most recently for a 75th birthday tribute in 2016.

Other local connections: both the Little Rock, Arkansas-born Florence Price and the Louisville, Kentucky-born Valerie Coleman studied music locally. Price attended the New England Conservatory across Huntington Avenue in the early 1900s and studied composition with Chadwick. 100 years later, Valerie Coleman earned her degree just a mile or so away at Boston University.

The Dropkick Murphys are a powerhouse local institution. Their punked-out anthem (with lyrics by Woody Guthrie!) I’m Shipping Up to Boston featured as Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon’s entrance music during the Sox’ 2007 championship season. Another Fenway connection is Red Sox superfan John Williams’ Fanfare for Fenway, premiered by Boston Pops players led by the composer during Fenway’s 2012 centennial year. Williams—he of Star Wars and The Fabelmans fame—has deep BSO ties: he was conductor of the Boston Pops, 1980-93, to be succeeded by Keith Lockhart. Williams remains beloved member of the BSO family.

Although not a Boston native, one of Duke Ellington’s Boston connections was a performance at Symphony Hall of his groundbreaking Black, Brown, and Beige in January 1943. The Duke’s music was first played on our stage by the Pops under Arthur Fiedler in 1938.

Also on our program is Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra’s delightful Fandangos, a celebration of dance music performed by the BSO on several occasions. We are more than thrilled to have with us today Michelle Wu, Mayor of Boston, who showcases her love of music and the arts by performing the slow movement from Wolfgang Amadè Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. (Mozart never made it to Boston, but this music is well known from its use in a famous 1967 Swedish film, Elvira Madigan.)

We hope you have a great time today and that you take this opportunity to get to know us better!

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A view of the empty Symphony Hall, with the stage in the distance

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