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BSO Premieres 'Koussevitzky Said'10:13
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John Harbison, who is shown following a final dress rehearsal Friday, Dec. 17, 1999, wrote the music and libretto for the opera "The Great Gatsby." (AP/Kathy Willens)
John Harbison, who is shown following a final dress rehearsal Friday, Dec. 17, 1999, wrote the music and libretto for the opera "The Great Gatsby." (AP/Kathy Willens)

Tanglewood is currently celebrating its 75th season, and as part of the celebration, this Sunday the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Choir will premiere a special piece it commissioned by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison entitled "Koussevitzky Said."

Harbison was given a few parameters — the piece should be six minutes, and use the same orchestration as Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony," which would immediately follow.

Harbison decided to go back to Tanglewood's foundation, and to Serge Koussevitzky, music director for the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949, who founded the Tanglewood summer school for young musicians now known as the Tanglewood Music Center.

Koussevitzky had already made a name for himself when he came to the U.S. to lead the BSO in 1924. Writing about his arrival, the New York Times called him "one of the most daring orchestral leaders of the age."

Guest:

  • John Harbison, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and professor of music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

More:

Watch a brief biography of Harbison that the BSO put together in 2010:

This segment aired on August 24, 2012.

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