When Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians are not on stage at Symphony Hall, half of them are across the street at NEC, teaching the next generation of orchestra players.
NEC students routinely follow up a lesson or practice session by crossing the street to hear their teacher perform in Symphony Hall, week after week, at little or no ticket cost.
The NEC-BSO connection dates back to 1881, when Henry Higginson called upon 19 members of the NEC faculty to serve as section leaders in his newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The connection persists—today, half of the BSO is composed of NEC faculty and alumni, including a number of recent graduates.
NEC students benefit from this extraordinary connection in a variety of ways:
Each year during spring semester, NEC celebrates its BSO brass faculty and their students at our annual Brass Bash concert, as well as at the Preparatory School's all-day brass workshop and ongoing Brass Masters series.
BSO veterans routinely coach NEC orchestra sectionals, coach chamber music, and teach string orchestral repertoire classes.
Guest artists performing on BSO concerts frequently give masterclasses at NEC during their time in Boston, under the auspices of NEC's Richard P. and Claire W. Morse Visiting Artist Fund.
Through selection by competition, NEC Preparatory and College students have been concerto soloists in Boston Pops spring concerts in Symphony Hall each year for many years. Preparatory students frequently perform in the BSO's fall Family Concerts.
Since the 1990s, BSO assistant conductors have been frequent guests at NEC, leading concerts by student orchestras. NEC orchestras have also been invited on several occasions to be part of the BSO's assistant conductor audition process, serving as one of the orchestras for applicants. BSO guest conductors have also visited NEC for impromptu reading sessions. NEC's orchestral conducting students also conduct portions of Boston Pops concerts.
Since 2013, NEC has taken part in the BSO "Insights" series, a program of concerts that provide supplementary content to enrich the understanding of listeners attending a featured BSO program. NEC is also working with the BSO to present Prelude concerts that precede the premieres of new works by the BSO. Somewhat whimsically titled "Do You Hear What I Hear?," the programs are curated by the BSO composers, who are asked to choose music that has been an important influence on them.