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The New Year with John Harbison and the BSO

As we ring in the new year here in Boston, festive fireworks and optimistic resolutions aren’t the only things on everyone’s mind. As an active member of the arts community, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the coming of 2012 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as your host.

While any weekend at Symphony Hall will satisfy your need for spectacular symphonic performances in a historic space, there’s one upcoming selection that concert-goers really shouldn’t miss. From January 12th–17th the BSO will host a program including works by Weber, Beethoven and Strauss. But, the unexpected star of this lineup is a work by prolific American composer John Harbison—the world premier of his 6th Symphony, to be exact.


photo courtesy of

According to his official Schirmer biography, Harbison “[cites] his important influences as the Bach Cantatas, Stravinski and jazz.” And, having seen a Boston premier of one of his earlier symphonies back in 2010, I can vouch for these charateristics. In fact, his symphony was performed alongside one of my favorite Mahler Symphony (No. 2) and it still remained a key fixture of that night. That’s really saying something. Harbison has returned to premier his 6th Symphony, and this time you’ll be among the first to hear it in the world. Harbison’s contemporary qualities mixed with jazz-influenced arrangements will make anyone into a true fan.

The symphony will be led by conductor David Zinman and it will feature mezzo-soprano soloist Paula Murrihy. This performance will cap off the BSO’s 2-year tribute to the composer’s symphonies, so it would really be a shame to miss it. So this year, make your goal to check out more BSO concerts and start it off with right a world premier of a world-class piece.