BSO NOW -- Conductors

PROVIDED BY BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

From left, BSO conductors Seiji Ozawa, William Steinberg, Colin Davis.

The BSO Now concert streaming platform — bso.org/now — launches the first of four archival programs Thursday at noon, 

All four programs — featuring artists who enjoyed especially close relationships with the orchestra — were originally produced and distributed by Boston public broadcaster WGBH for the Evening at Symphony television series. Longtime WCRB announcer Brian McCreath will serve as host for these archival BSO NOW streams.

Thursday's opening program — originally recorded on April 26, 1975 — features Seiji Ozawa, who was just two years into his tenure as BSO music director (1973–2002), leading the BSO and New England Conservatory Chorus in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," with soprano soloist Susan Davenny Wyner and contralto soloist Maureen Forrester.

This historic performance was the first of more than 40 occasions on which Ozawa conducted the BSO in Mahler’s Second, which he also recorded in the 1980s as part of a complete Mahler symphony cycle for the Philips label.

The piece became one of the orchestra’s signature works with Ozawa. In this performance, Ozawa conducts the entire piece with no score.  

The next BSO NOW archival stream, launching on March 4, features William Steinberg (BSO music director, 1969–72) conducting "Mercury" from Holst’s The Planets (originally recorded Oct. 7, 1969) and Elgar’s Symphony No. 2 (originally recorded Oct. 6, 1970). Steinberg recorded the complete  "The Planets" with the BSO for Deutsche Grammophon.

On April 1, BSO NOW will release an archival concert stream featuring Colin Davis (BSO principal guest conductor, 1972–84) leading the orchestra in "Siegfried’s Rhine Journey" from Wagner’s "Götterdämmerung" (originally recorded April 3, 1976); Sibelius’ Symphony No. 6 (originally recorded Nov. 29, 1975); and Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture, from "In London Town" (originally recorded Jan. 7, 1978). Davis’ relationship with the Boston Symphony spanned more than four decades. He made many recordings with the BSO — including a complete set of Sibelius symphonies and selected tone poems released on the Philips label. He was a regular presence at Tanglewood as well.

The final BSO NOW archival release of the orchestra’s 2020–21 online season launches on April 8. Recorded Oct. 25, 1978, this Ozawa-led program includes excerpts from Acts 2 and 3 of Tchaikovsky's ballet, "Swan Lake." The performance features a number of musicians who are still in the BSO, as well as signature players from the past, among them wind principals Harold Wright and Sherman Walt, harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, and string players Joseph Silverstein, Harry Ellis Dickson, Jules Eskin, and Mary Lou Speaker.

Jeffrey Borak can be reached at jborak@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6212