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Muck’s successors, Henri Rabaud (1918–19) and Pierre Monteux (1920–24), presided over a transitional period. In 1920 more than 30 players who wished to affiliate with the Boston Musicians' Protective Association, the local union of the American Federation of Musicians, went on strike and were replaced by musicians of Monteux’s choice. (The Boston SO was the last important American orchestra to join the union, in 1942.) The glamorous Sergey Koussevitzky (1924–49) influentially championed the music of Copland and such other postwar Americans as Barber, Bernstein, Hanson, Harris, Piston and Schuman. It was under Koussevitzky that the orchestra took over the Berkshire Music Festival, acquired Tanglewood and in 1940 opened the Berkshire Music Center (renamed the Tanglewood Music Center in 1985; see Tanglewood). In the meantime, in 1929 Arthur Fiedler, a member of the orchestra since 1915, organized the Esplanade Concerts as free, outdoor programmes of symphonic and light music in the band shell on the banks of the Charles River. In ...


Leonard Burkat

revised by Pamela Fox

Early public performances of music were organized in private homes, coffee houses and religious meeting houses. A law of 1750, re-enacted in 1785, prohibited theatrical entertainments of all kinds, but it was commonly circumvented by billing such events as ‘lectures’ or ‘readings’. In 1792 the New Exhibition Room was opened for ‘lectures, moral and entertaining’ with a ‘gallery of portraits, songs, feats of tumbling, and ballet pantomine’ but it was promptly closed in 1793.

Public demand brought swift change, and in 1793, the Boston Theatre, designed by Charles Bulfinch to be one of the grandest in the USA, was opened. It was often called the Federal Street Theatre, especially after the Haymarket Theatre opened in 1796, and spoken drama and ballad opera were popular on both stages. Graupner later had a concert room in the same building as his home and shop. His Philharmonic concerts took place in Pythian Hall and later the Pantheon. The Handel and Haydn Society’s early performances were given in churches such as Stone Chapel and then Boylston Hall. From ...