In 1881, Henry Higginson called upon 19 members of the New England Conservatory faculty to serve as section leaders in his new Boston Symphony Orchestra. The connection persists—today half of the BSO is composed of Conservatory faculty and alumni, including a number of recent graduates. 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.
Each year during spring semester, NEC celebrates its BSO brass faculty and their students at a Brass Bash concert and 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. NEC ensembles routinely perform in Symphony Hall open house events. NEC's orchestral conducting students also conduct portions of Boston Pops 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.
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. More on this.
NEC representation in the BSO
Bonnie Bewick, NEC Preparatory faculty
Jason Horowitz '93, '96 A.D., NEC College and Preparatory faculty
Sophie Wang, ’18 M.M. ’20 G.D.
Haldan Martinson '97 M.M.
Julianne Lee '07 G.D., ’08 M.M., NEC Preparatory and Continuing Education faculty
Valeria Vilker Kuchment, NEC College and Preparatory faculty
Glen Cherry '95
Jung-Eun (Jenny) Ahn ’11 M.M.
Rebecca Gitter, NEC College faculty
Rachel Fagerburg, ‘81
Daniel Getz, ’11, NEC Preparatory faculty
Mary Ferrello ’13 M.M.
Steven O. Laraia, ’13, ’15 M.M.
Cynthia Meyers, piccolo, NEC College faculty
Andrew Sandwick, NEC College faculty
Mike Roylance, BSO Principal, NEC College faculty
Jessica Zhou, BSO Principal, NEC College faculty
Past BSO members with NEC affiliation
This is a partial list that will grow based on additional research.
Kelly Barr, violin, NEC Preparatory faculty
Marylou Speaker Churchill '67, violin, former NEC College and Preparatory faculty
Harry Ellis Dickson '29 DP, '30 DP, '87 hon. D.M., violin
Max Hobart, violin, NEC Preparatory faculty
Louis Krasner, violin, former NEC faculty
George Norwood Humphrey '29, viola
Eugene Lehner, viola, former NEC faculty
Jules Eskin, principal cello, former NEC faculty
Ronald Feldman, cello, NEC College faculty
Carol Procter '63, '65 M.M., cello
Fenwick Smith, flute, former NEC College faculty
Scott Andrews '94, clarinet
Matthew Ruggiero, assistant principal bassoon, former NEC faculty
Peter Chapman, trumpet, former NEC College faculty
Steve Emery, trumpet, NEC College faculty
Gerard Goguen '51 DP, trumpet, former NEC faculty
Charles Schlueter, trumpet, NEC College faculty
Roger Voisin '30, '91 hon. D.M., principal trumpet, former NEC faculty
Ronald Barron, principal trombone, former NEC College faculty
Norman Bolter '77, trombone, NEC College faculty
William Gibson, principal trombone, former NEC faculty
Douglas Yeo, bass trombone, former NEC College faculty