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Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951)

Koussevitzky as Founder of the BSO's Commissioning Legacy

Prior to the appointment of Serge Koussevitzky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra had never paid a composer to create new works. While past conductors had maintained close relationships with composers (such as Henschel with Brahms), it was Koussevitzky who established the orchestra’s commissioning legacy, a tradition that continues today. Always a champion of new music, Koussevitzky persuaded the BSO's Board of Trustees to commission several works from prominent composers of the day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra in 1931.

Program for the premiere of Edward Burlingame Hill’s Ode for the 50th Anniversary of the B.S.O., Poem by Hillyer

The Ode was commissioned to celebrate the BSO’s 50th anniversary season and was the first of the new commissions to be performed, premiering during the second week of concerts on October 17th, 1930.