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Boston Symphony Orchestra Presents Award To American Composer, John Harbison

American Composer, John Harbison, has become one of the most prominent composers affiliated with the BSO in its history. His Symphony No. 1 was one of several works commissioned by the orchestra to celebrate its centennial; it was premiered in March 1984 by the BSO under Seiji Ozawa and subsequently recorded.

All told, the BSO has commissioned or co-commissioned nine Harbison works, including three concertos, the Requiem (for the Symphony Hall centennial), the First, Fifth, and Sixth symphonies, and, most recently, Koussevitzky Said: for chorus and orchestra, composed as a concert-opener for the BSO’s traditional season-ending performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Tanglewood and premiered in August 2012.

“I am very happy to receive the Mark M. Horblit “Merit Award”, which confirms my long and very productive relationship with the Boston Symphony—its players, administration, board, and listeners,” said John Harbison. “I am especially grateful at this time to recall the support and confidence of James Levine, who gave me so many opportunities to explore, with this great orchestra, in Boston and at Tanglewood, my vision and lively hope for orchestral music, which I trust will always represent one of the greatest arenas for adventurous musical thought and emotion.”

The Mark M. Horblit “Merit Award” was created in 1947 by the late Boston attorney Mark M. Horblit to, in his own words, “foster and promote the writing of symphonic compositions by composers resident in the United States…in recognition of meritorious work in that field.” Mr. Harbison is the 22nd recipient of the award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000. A formal award ceremony with Mr. Harbision will take place during the fall in Boston.

In connection with the BSO’s presentation of the Horblit Award to John Harbision, the orchestra will release the composer’s six symphonies as digital downloads in mp3 and hi-def stereo formats, which will available at

John Harbison’s six symphonies will be packaged as albums of two symphonies (Symphonies 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6, respectively) available for $8.99 (mp3) or $9.99 (hi-def stereo). Individual symphonies can be purchased from $4.25 to $6.99, and individual movements can be purchased from $0.89 to $3.59, depending on format and duration. they will be available on Amazon and iTunes at a later date.

“We’re delighted to present John Harbison with the Horblit Award, and we couldn’t think of a better time to do so than in connection with Tanglewood’s upcoming performances of one of his seminal works, The Great Gatsby,” said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe. “John’s long-standing relationship with the BSO and Tanglewood is something we all treasure, so it’s especially gratifying to be able to honor his distinguished contributions to the Boston Symphony and the greater American music landscape with the 22nd presentation of the Horblit Award.”

The BSO’s season at Tanglewood opened in Early July with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leading an all-Tchaikovsky program featuring violin virtuoso Joshua Bell in his 25th consecutive year performing at Tanglewood, and closes at the End of August with the welcome return of BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink for the season finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Boston Symphony Orchestra's Next Season: Tickets are now available for the next Boston Symphony Orchestra Season, which will welcome many talented artists. The BSO Season includes three thrilling dramatic masterpieces—Britten’s War Requiem, under the direction of Charles Dutoit; Strauss’s Salome, with BSO Music Director Designate Andris Nelsons; and Golijov’s St. Mark Passion, led by Robert Spano—as well as a complete cycle of the five Beethoven Piano Concertos with master interpreter Yefim Bronfman and conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, plus the world and American premieres of commissioned works by Marc Neikrug, Justin Dello Joio, Bernard Rands, and Mark Anthony Turnage, all as part of a season featuring beloved large-scale masterworks and the most accomplished performers of our time.

The BSO will also present two “Insights” series that give us a glimpse into the worlds behind the creation of the Beethoven piano concertos and Britten’s War Requiem; and presentations of the classic film West Side Story with the BSO performing Leonard Bernstein’s iconic score under the direction of David Newman. And this is just the beginning of the spectacular musical performances to come!

By Melody Schubert

Getting There:

For detailed information about the Tanglewood season, including how to purchase tickets visit  You can also call the SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, or purchase tickets at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA.

Single tickets for the next season are on sale now, and can be purchased by phone at 888-266-757, on the web at, or at the Symphony Hall box office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue.

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