Thursday, September 26, 2013

Play Me, I'm Yours is Page 1 news ...

"The 'Play Me I’m Yours' public art project comes to Boston
this week as Celebrity Series of Boston places 75 pianos around the city to
celebrate its 75th anniversary. The first pianos were installed
Wednesday, with the full project starting Friday and running through Oct. 14"

Find a piano, upload and image or a movie, read about Play Me, I'm Yours:

Check out our 75th Anniversary Season:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Not "just playing, but making things..." Vijay Iyer gets a MacArthur Grant


Pianist Vijay Iyer is on this year's list of MacArthur Fellows; rarified air, indeed. Howard Reich talked to Iyer regarding his award for the Chicago Tribune:

"'I'm really inspired by the composer-pianists of the last century,
particularly (Duke) Ellington and (Thelonious) Monk and people in that
lineage who aren't just playing, but they're making things,' says Iyer,
speaking by phone from his home in New York and adding such names as
piano innovators Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner and Bud Powell."

Read the full story.

If you live in Boston or Cambridge, you can see and hear Iyer with poet Robert Pinsky on March 14 at Sanders Theatre as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston's 75th Anniversary Season.

The 2013 MacArthur Fellows

Monday, September 23, 2013

Boston's Street Piano locations are online!

The pianos are not on the street, yet, but the listings are! A map of all the locations of all 75 pianos in the Street Pianos Boston Festival, plus artists and host info are available online at:

Another small step in a season filled with 75th anniversary activities - learn more at!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Check our our new YouTube channel!

Our new YouTube channel is up and running! In honor of our 75th Anniversary Season we are featuring special messages from Celebrity Series of Boston performers. Our first posting is from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle.

Celebrity Series of Boston on YouTube

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Play Me I'm Yours, the 1000th piano

In honor of our 75th anniversary, Celebrity Series of Boston is presenting Play Me, I'm Yours, the Boston street piano festival from September 27 to October 14. The event places 75 pianos on streets all over Boston for the public to play at any time.

Boston is not the first city to host Luke Jerram's remarkable project, but among the unique aspects of Boston's festival is that we will host the 1000th Play Me, I'm Yours piano. The video above shows, in just under 8 minutes, the handiwork of  Frank Casazza (Eyeformation) and Michael Crockett (Hazel Eyes Studio) as they turn a baby grand into a work of visual art. The 1000th piano will be available for the public to play on City Hall Plaza during the fesitval.

Street Pianos Boston

Play Me, I'm Yours Celebrity Series page

Celebrity Series of Boston

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wayne Shorter: Jazz means 'I dare you'

Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter

"The six years I was with Miles, we never talked about music. We never had a rehearsal. Jazz shouldn’t have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that’s required to sound like jazz. For me, the word 'jazz' means, 'I dare you.'" —Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter makes his Celebrity Series debut as part of the Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration (which will also feature John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Brian Blade, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Lawrence Fields, Linda Oh, and Joey Barron).

Tip of the cap to Jason Crane and Destinationout.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Videotaping Robert Battle at Citi Wang Theatre

Photo (2)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director, Robert Battle, was kind enough to tape some personal thoughts before tonight's performance on the Celebrity Series of Boston's 75th Anniversary.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Frederic Franklin (1914-2013)


The renowned dancer and ballet master Frederic Franklin died on May 4 at age 98.

Mr. Franklin made his Boston debut in November 1938 with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during the first season of the Celebrity Series of Boston. In addition to multiple Celebrity Series performances in Boston with Ballet Russe, his work was also seen by Bostonian's in Celebrity Series presentations of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The Guardian

PRI's The World

El Pais

The Washington Post

Los Angeles Times

Dance Heritage Coalition

Arts Fuse

Dance/USA Franklin Bio (video)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Bernstein Response


"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more
beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."  —Leonard Bernstein


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Masterclass with Spellbound dancers

Spellbound Dance Company dancers Maria Cosso (center) and Giacomo Todeschi (left) lead a masterclass at  Rindge & Latin High School in Cambridge on April 4, 2013. The class was part of Celebrity Series' Arts for All! program.


Complete 2013-14 season is now on sale at - take a look!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Barbara Cook in Vanity Fair


Broadway and cabaret star Barbara Cook did an interview with Vanity Fair's Patrick Monahan back in November. Here's a snippet:

"Is there a standard you feel differently about singing now than when you first heard it?

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”—I’ve heard that, of course, all my life. Then a few years ago, I heard Katharine McPhee [of American Idol and Smash]
do that on television, and I thought, You know, I think I can do
something with that. So I took my ideas to Lee [Musiker, Ms. Cook’s
musical director and pianist] and we worked it out together." Read the full interview.

Barbara Cook and John Pizzarelli return to the Celebrity Series and Symphony Hall on April 6. Good seats are still available! Get your tickets.


Complete season is now on sale at - take a look!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Musings on Van Cliburn, by Walter Pierce

Musings on Van Cliburn

He was a phenomenon. He was a larger
than life personality. He was a genuine American hero. He was a gifted pianist
who brought world attention to American classical music. He was the
quintessential Southern gentleman -- a tall Texan who conquered the hearts of
the Soviet and American public when both nations stared at each other grimly
across a political divide.

He was the first musician to receive a
New York ticker tape parade when he returned to the US following his winning
the prestigious International Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.

And yet, many musicians and critics felt
he never lived to fulfill the potential that lay before him.

He was a gracious, giving personality
who easily won the hearts of everyone he met.

He had his quirks: he hated being early for
his own concerts, preferring to arrive a few minutes past concert time, doff
his coat, stride on stage, sit down at the piano and begin playing the National
Anthem. When everyone resumed their seats, he began the concert.

I recall being invited with my mentor,
Aaron Richmond, by Van Ciburn's then American concert manager, William Judd of
Columbia Artists, to his apartment to hear a young pianist they had signed with
the hopes that we might book him in recital. This was in the period just before
he left for the Moscow competition. Little did I know what would follow in the
next few months.

Within a year or so, we were presenting
Van Cliburn in recital in Boston to an adoring public which filled every seat
in Symphony Hall with an overflow on the stage, while hundreds of would-be
ticket buyers were turned away.

I feel blessed indeed to have had the
opportunity to share in presenting Van Cliburn in recital in Boston on over a
dozen occasions.

Au revoir, Van -- we loved you dearly.


Walter Pierce was Executive Director of Celebrity Series of Boston from 1965 to 1996. The Celebrity Series presented Van Cliburn 8 times under his leadership.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Van Cliburn (1934-2013)

Pianist Van Cliburn in Tel Aviv, 1962

Pianist Van Cliburn has died at age 78. The Shreveport, Louisiana native's triumph at the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow made him a household name.

Van Cliburn made his Celebrity Series debut in 1960 and performed on the Series a total of 13 times - all in recital and all at Symphony Hall - most recently in 2001.

Numerous winners of The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition have also appeared on the Celebrity Series over the years, including Jose Feghali, Jon Nakamatsu, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Alexander Kobrin, Olga Kern, and Hoachen Zhang.

Coverage of Van Cliburn's death:

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

Los Angeles Times

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

BBC News

Chicago Tribune


Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in Moscow (1962)

Christie's Auction Interview (includes clip of 1958 competition)

On What's My Line?

At The Kennedy Center Honors (2001)

Playing Chopin Ballade No. 3


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Celebrity Series 2013-14 subscriptions on sale April 18, 2013

Subscriptions for our 2013-14 season (our 75th season) go on sale April 18, 2013. Some performances may be announced in advance of that date, but all performances begin subscription sales on April 18. Check this blog or for more details as they become available.

Complete season is now on sale at - take a look!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Karita Mattila recital is cancelled

Karita Mattila's concert, scheduled for this evening, has ben cancelled. Ticket holders please visit performance page for options.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Barenboim and Celebrity Series bring West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to Boston

“In 1999, Edward Said and myself formed the West-Eastern Divan
orchestra, composed of musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arab
countries; countries where the open ear has been too often replaced by
the unsheathed sword, to the detriment of all. Now, over 10 years later, we have hopefully achieved an
orchestra that is worthy of your ear. And one which shows that people
who listen to each other, both musically and in all other ways, can
achieve greater things.” – Daniel Barenboim

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra makes its Boston debut at Symphony Hall courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston on Sunday, January 27 at 3pm with an all-Beethoven program. Tickets and information.