Orchestras remember JFK, 50 years after his death

Posted on: November 15, 2013

As the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination approaches, orchestras around the country are commemorating the date. James Inverne’s Monday (11/11) article in Time magazine carries an interview with William Shisler, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s librarian in 1963 and today, and includes a YouTube video that has been widely circulated. The video wraps in fifteen minutes of audio from WGBH’s radio broadcast from the BSO’s afternoon concert on November 22, 1963, at which Music Director Erich Leinsdorf delivered the news of Kennedy’s assassination to the audience and altered the program to include the funeral march of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. Among orchestras marking the anniversary this month are the Dallas Symphony, Utah Symphony, and Austin Symphony. Jaap van Zweden will lead the Dallas Symphony’s world premiere of Conrad Tao’s The World Is Very Different Now on November 21. At the DSO website, musicians of the orchestra share their memories of where they were that day. The Utah Symphony’s “Remembering JFK” concerts on November 22 and 23, led by Thierry Fischer, will include Stravinsky’s Elegy For JFK and Peter Lieberson’s Remembering JFK (An American Elegy). Earlier this month, the Austin Symphony in Texas honored JFK with two performances of the Verdi Requiem led by Music Director Peter Bay at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, with vocal soloists and the 170-member Chorus Austin. Fort Worth Opera and American Lyric Theater are also collaborating on a new opera by David T. Little, JFK, with the world premiere set for Fort Worth Opera on April 16, 2016. 

Posted November 15, 2013