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Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951)

Koussevitzky as Festival Organizer: Celebrating Beethoven at Symphony Hall

Inscribed into the proscenium itself, Beethoven has been a foundational part of Symphony Hall since its completion in 1900. Though he had already spent two seasons promoting works by living composers, nevertheless, Koussevitzky decided to organize a festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Beethoven's death in March 1927. The festival featured a week of performances and a lecture, and included a Saturday evening broadcast throughout New England, during the second season in which BSO concerts were broadcast live from Symphony Hall.

Invitation to purchase tickets to the events of the Beethoven Centenary Festival, with details of the proscenium and Beethoven medallion that frame Symphony Hall stage

Promotional flyer and advance invitation for the Beethoven Centenary Festival, March 1927

Though in-person tickets to the Saturday evening performance on March 26, 1927, were limited to subscribers only, the concert was broadcast over WBZ, giving audiences throughout New England the opportunity to hear Beethoven’s sixth and seventh symphonies exactly 100 years after the composer’s death.