Keith and the Boston Pops Through the Years
Boston Pops debut
Keith Lockhart makes his Boston Pops debut June 5-6, 1993, two years before he would become conductor of the Boston Pops. He returns for a second guest conducting appearance in May 1994.
Joining the Pops family
In February, 35-year-old Keith becomes the 20th Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. In May, his first Opening Night concert features guests Mandy Patinkin, Sylvia McNair, and Doc Severinsen.
For his first July Fourth concert, Keith and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra are joined by the Air Force Band of Liberty, the Pointer Sisters, and Mel Tormé.
Keith inaugurates a new Pops tradition — the December holiday tour.
Recording and Carnegie Hall debut
Keith and the Boston Pops Orchestra sign an exclusive recording contract with RCA Victor, the orchestra’s original recording label. They release Runnin’ Wild, which becomes a critical and popular success, catapulting to No. 1 on Billboard’s crossover chart in its first week of release.
Keith makes his Carnegie Hall debut, leading the Pops with special guest Jason Alexander.
Another album, breaking records, and touring in Korea
In June, RCA Victor releases the second Keith Lockhart/Boston Pops Orchestra album, American Visions, which features music evocative of great American landscapes.
The Holiday Pops season includes a record-breaking 33 concerts at Symphony Hall.
Keith leads his first overseas tour as Pops Conductor, which includes the Pops’ first-ever concert in Korea.
First commission, a Fourth of July anniversary, and Holiday Pops album
The Opening Night concert features the world premiere of Dan Welcher’s Spumante, the first work Keith commissioned for the Pops.
The 25th year of “Boston’s Fourth of July” event is celebrated on the Esplanade, attracting a record crowd of half a million people.
Holiday Pops, the first Keith Lockhart/Boston Pops Orchestra album of holiday music, is released on RCA Victor.
First Grammy nomination
Pops history is made as The Celtic Album earns the orchestra its first Grammy nomination (Best Classical Crossover).
The Latin Album, Symphony Hall's centennial, a new millennium, and a free concert
Recording sessions are held for a new CD, The Latin Album, which is released in September and goes on to be nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Keith and John Williams join in conducting the Symphony Hall Centennial Concert with special guests The Chieftains and Mandy Patinkin.
The Boston Pops enters the new millennium firmly positioned as “America’s Orchestra,” its popularity soaring under Keith's direction.
Keith closes his fifth season as Pops Conductor with a free concert in Franklin Park.
A star-studded anniversary
The Boston Pops Orchestra celebrates the 100th anniversary of Pops concerts at Symphony Hall with performances featuring Harry Connick, Jr., Martin Short, Chick Corea, Terence Blanchard Quintet, Jane Monheit, Paul Winter and The Earth Band, Béla Fleck, and Don McLean. Cyndi Lauper joins the Pops on the Esplanade, July 3 and 4.
Super Bowl, musical tributes, a Richard Rodgers album, and an award for "Evening at Pops"
Keith leads the Pops in “America The Beautiful” with Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony during the pregame show of the Super Bowl.
The Boston Pops spring season includes tributes to Richard Rodgers — celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth — and Harry Ellis Dickson, celebrating his 15th year as Associate Conductor Laureate.
My Favorite Things–A Richard Rodgers Celebration CD is released, featuring country superstars Martina McBride and Collin Raye.
The “Fiddlers Three” episode of "Evening at Pops" receives the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' Deems Taylor Award in the Television Broadcast Category. The award recognizes outstanding print, broadcast, and new media coverage of music.
July Fourth broadcast and "Boston Pops: Unplugged"
The July Fourth Esplanade Concert is broadcast for the first time on a major TV network, CBS. The show is hosted by Harry Smith from CBS's "Early Show" with guest artist LeAnn Rimes.
WBZ-TV airs “Boston Pops: Unplugged,” a behind-the-scenes look at the Pops featuring archival footage, interviews, and a backstage tour of Symphony Hall led by Keith.
Keith's 10th season, "NFL Opening Kickoff," PopSearch, and a new holiday album
The Boston Pops celebrates Keith’s 10th season as conductor with concerts featuring Art Garfunkel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Natalie Merchant, among others.
Keith and the Boston Pops join ABC’s “NFL Opening Kickoff” to celebrate the first game of the season, performing at Gillette Stadium during the one-hour pregame special.
The Boston Pops national talent competition, PopSearch, is launched and Tracy Silva, a mother of two from Taunton, Massachusetts, beats out more than 700 contestants for a chance to perform with the Boston Pops on July 4 on the Charles River Esplanade. Tracy goes on to perform with the Pops two more times, in addition to performing at Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots games, the Democratic National Convention, and as the opening act for Broadway star Maureen McGovern.
The Boston Pops releases Sleigh Ride, its first self-produced album.
A patriotic recording and EdgeFest
The Pops releases the CD America, a collection of beloved patriotic favorites featuring Yolanda Adams, Arlo Guthrie, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough narrates a musical rendition of the Gettysburg Address.
The Pops launches EdgeFest, an innovative series that pairs the Pops in concerts with artists from the indie music world. The first Edge concert features special guest Guster.
Giving music to local students and late night appearances
The Boston Pops joins with Fidelity Investments and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to surprise Boston area students with $100,000 of musical instruments for their schools.
Members of the Boston Pops appear with EdgeFest artists Guster on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" and with My Morning Jacket on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Movie and Broadway music
The Pops launches its first internet TV program in tandem with the release of its CD Oscar and Tony.
WGBH releases "Broadway’s Best at Pops," a compilation of memorable moments from 35 years of "Evening at Pops" featuring conductors Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart and guests including Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Bernadette Peters, Ray Bolger, Kristin Chenoweth, Pearl Bailey, Tommy Tune, Gregory Hines, Bonnie and John Raitt, and many other Broadway luminaries.
High School Sing-Off and a special Symphony Hall recording
The Boston Pops holds its High School Sing-Off and winner Katie Mayhew, a 16-year-old student from Martha’s Vineyard, joins the Pops on stage for the July Fourth performance on the Charles River Esplanade.
Trumpeter Chris Botti records Live in Boston at Symphony Hall with Keith and the Boston Pops joined by special guests Sting, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, John Mayer, Yo-Yo Ma, and Katharine McPhee. The concert airs on PBS stations nationally and the CD and DVD of the concert are released by Sony.
A Red Sox tribute, Fidelity Young Artists Competition, Buzz Aldrin, and a favorite holiday recording
The Red Sox Album, released on Opening Day at Fenway Park, reaches #5 on Billboard’s crossover chart.
The Fidelity Young Artists Competition offers Boston-area high school students the chance to perform at Symphony Hall. The winners join the Boston Pops and Keith in performances during the Spring Pops season.
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin joins the Pops to narrate a special rendition of Gustav Holst’s The Planets in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and the 50th anniversary of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Aeronautics and Astronautics Program.
The Boston Pops releases its innovative and infectious new arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as a digital download, sharing the wildly popular piece with a broader audience.
The Pops turns 125, remembering the Kennedy brothers, and Toby Keith joins the July 4 celebration
The Boston Pops Orchestra marks its 125th anniversary as Keith salutes his illustrious predecessors, Arthur Fiedler (Conductor 1930-1979) and John Williams (Conductor 1980-1993, now Conductor Laureate), and on Opening Night, welcomes guests Idina Menzel and Doc Severinsen (who holds the distinction of having performed with Fiedler, Williams, and Lockhart).
The world premiere of the Pops commission The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers (music by Peter Boyer, narration by Lynn Ahrens) brings silver screen stars Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones to the Symphony Hall stage.
A documentary entitled "America’s Orchestra: Celebrating 125 Years of the Boston Pops" airs on PBS.
Country singer Toby Keith joins Keith Lockhart and the Pops for the July 4 concert on the Esplanade.
A season full of outstanding guests
Spring Pops guests include Linda Eder, Kenny Loggins, and Ricky Skaggs.
Martina McBride, Norm Lewis, and Michael Chiklis are the special guests for July 4.
Steve Martin and Jennifer Hudson come to town, and two gala concerts
Steve Martin makes his Boston Pops and symphonic debut performing “An Evening of Bluegrass and Comedy” with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Jennifer Hudson is the special guest for the July 4 concert.
At Tanglewood, Keith participates in two gala concerts, marking Tanglewood’s 75th anniversary and John Williams’ 80th birthday.
Music from the silver screen and exciting guest artists
"Lights, Camera, Action!" is the season’s theme, with music from the movies — ranging from Hollywood’s Golden Age to today’s blockbusters — featured in many programs.
Season guests include Vince Gill, Matthew Morrison, and Megan Hilty.
Pops concerts at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood include “A Jerry Garcia Celebration” with Warren Haynes and “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook.”
Showcasing the best of the Pops, thrilling debuts, Berklee Night, and a meaningful holiday piece
With a season-spanning theme of “The Very Best of the Boston Pops,” many concerts showcase the extensive collection of arrangements in the Pops library, as well as the light classical selections that have been central to the Pops repertoire from the beginning.
Cirque de la Symphonie and Billy Porter make their Boston Pops debuts.
For “Berklee Night,” Keith and the Pops are joined by student performers from the school and by alumna Melissa Etheridge, who performs for the first time with a symphonic ensemble.
Megan Hilty and the Beach Boys are the featured guests for the July 4 concert on the Esplanade.
Josh Groban joins Keith and the Pops to close the 2014 Tanglewood season.
To mark the 100th anniversary of World War I, “A Soldier’s Carol: The Christmas Truce of 1914” is performed throughout the Holiday Pops season.
Keith's 20th season, "By Popular Demand" concerts, a British program, and a special holiday concert
The 130th Boston Pops season marks Keith’s 20th anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor and opens with returning special guest Bernadette Peters.
During performances of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” throughout the season, audiences are treated to an entertaining flashback: footage of Keith’s Boston Pops debut, when he led that work as part of the “Salute to Symphony” concert on February 6, 1995.
Keith and the Pops perform a number of “By Popular Demand” concerts throughout the season that offer concertgoers a chance to vote, live during the concert, for their favorite piece of music through their phones to help program the entire second half of the concert they’re attending. Audiences voted for their favorites in such categories as “Favorite John Williams Movie Theme,” “Favorite Iconic Rock Ballad,” and even “Favorite Bugs Bunny Moment.”
A British-themed program features a tribute to the Beatles and a performance of Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” with a new script written and delivered by humorist John Hodgman.
Actor Robert Morse and singer Sara Evans are special guests for A Company Christmas at Pops and a holiday concert taped for subsequent broadcast on PBS.
Broadway stars perform with the Pops, a favorite film's anniversary, and another fun-filled July 4
Season guests include Seth MacFarlane, Sutton Foster, and Mandy Patinkin. The songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter, and others are showcased in “The Golden Age of Broadway.”
For a 25th-anniversary screening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Keith leads the Pops in the iconic John Williams score.
Guests for the July 4 concert on CBS include country stars Little Big Town and pop sensations Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas.
Celebrating John Williams, Pops debuts, a new era for July 4, and a rock opera at Tanglewood
Throughout the season, Keith and the Pops salute John Williams in his 85th birthday year, and the world premiere of "Jaws" with live orchestra is screened with the Pops playing the Williams soundtrack.
Released at the beginning of the 2017 spring season, the Keith Lockhart/Boston Pops Orchestra recording entitled Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams is a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, some of which can be considered rarities.
Queen Latifah and Leslie Odom, Jr., make their Boston Pops debuts.
Opening a new chapter in its history, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade is produced for the first time by the Pops organization itself, supported by Bloomberg and Eaton Vance. Melissa Etheridge, Andy Grammer, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Brian Stokes Mitchell are the special guests for this first self-produced telecast.
At Tanglewood, Pete Townshend, Billy Idol, and Alfie Boe join Keith and the Pops to perform The Who’s Classic Quadrophenia in concert.
Remembering Leonard Bernstein, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular turns 45, and a memorable gala
“Celebrating Leonard Bernstein: 100 Years of an American Icon” is the season theme. Bernstein Centennial tribute concerts feature selections from On the Town, Candide, Wonderful Town, and West Side Story.
The Pops are joined by an all-star cast for semi-staged performances of Bernstein’s On the Town, including Brandon Victor Dixon, Andy Karl, Megan Lawrence, Laura Osnes, Georgina Pazcoguin, Christian Dante White, Marc Kudisch, and Andrea Martin.
The 45th anniversary of the July 4 Esplanade concert features Rhiannon Giddens, Rachel Platten, Indigo Girls, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and a special appearance for the Bernstein Centennial by Rita Moreno (Anita in the film version of West Side Story).
Keith takes part in the Bernstein Centennial Celebration gala at Tanglewood, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in “Kaddish 2” from Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, with Nadine Sierra as soloist.
A celebration of the '60s, a mini-festival, sensory-friendly concerts, Amanda Gorman, and a tour milestone
The Spring Pops season programming salutes the year 1969 and the 50th anniversaries of the Apollo 11 moon landing and Woodstock. Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer James Beckel’s new work, From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond, is presented with a film, and live narration is provided by current and former NASA astronauts and engineers.
Singer/songwriter/storyteller Arlo Guthrie, who performed at the original Woodstock festival, returns to the Boston Pops stage for “Arlo Guthrie: [Still] (A)Live from Woodstock.”
MacArthur Genius Grant-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens makes her Symphony Hall debut with a four-concert mini-festival.
Keith leads the BSO’s first-ever sensory-friendly concerts — one in the Pops spring season, another during Holiday Pops — designed for those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities.
Returning Pops guests Queen Latifah and Arlo Guthrie join Keith and the orchestra for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade, along with poet Amanda Gorman, before she performed at President Joe Biden's inauguration and became the first National Youth Poet Laureate.
Keith surpasses a milestone, topping 2,000 concerts with the Boston Pops.
The Pops' first virtual performances
With live performances halted by the pandemic, Keith and the Pops offer Boston Pops at Home, a special eight-week series including classic Pops recordings, as well as “Conversations with Keith,” featuring guests such as Rhiannon Giddens, Peter Fiedler, Broadway team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and Pops Principal Horn Gus Sebring.
The Boston Pops 2020 Holiday Celebration is released on the BSO’s new streaming platform, BSO NOW, bringing the festive spirit of a Holiday Pops concert to online viewers far and wide.
First BSO NOW livestream, a unique Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition, and a return to live music
In February, Keith and the Pops perform "Boston Pops in Love," the first-ever livestreamed concert offered on BSO NOW, joined by dancers from Boston-based troupes Lakaï Dance Theatre, Hybridmotion, and Subject:Matter.
The Boston Pops 2021 Spring Celebration streaming season includes mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile and the winners of the 2021 Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition; Keith and Thile offer guidance to these “Stars of Tomorrow.”
Keith and the Boston Pops play at Tanglewood on July 4, performing the first in-person concert the BSO had given since March 2020 and opening a summer season of live music making.