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This Day in Boston History
October 22nd, 1881
BSO Plays its First Concert
Lee Higginson's unprecedented one-million-dollar grant established the
Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since its debut on this day in 1881, the BSO
has established itself as one of the great orchestras of the world.
In order to give orchestra members summer employment, and to recapture
the ambience of the Bilse Orchestra's beer-hall concerts in Berlin where
Higginson had been a music student, Higginson established a second BSO
season in the spring, played by a reduced orchestra. The "Pops,"
as it became known remains, essentially, the Boston Symphony Orchestra
minus its first chair players.