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Boston Landmarks Orchestra returns to the Esplanade

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Boston Landmarks Orchestra returns to the Esplanade
Landmarks Orchestra on the Esplanade PHOTO: Courtesy of Landmarks Orchestra

Boston Landmarks Orchestra will once again float free melodies down the Esplanade during the 20th season at the DCR Memorial Hatch Shell. Every Wednesday evening through Sept. 1, a new concert will be performed, spanning the range from Beethoven and Bach to Duke Ellington and Sousa.

Christopher Wilkins PHOTO: Michael Dwyer

This series marks the first live and free professional symphony concerts in Boston since the pandemic began. Under the direction of Christopher Wilkins, the orchestra aims to bring a diverse mix of music and culture to the waterfront venue.

The Esplanade run was preceded by several community concerts at Bethel AME Church and Arlington Street Church, as well as at Mozart Park in Jamaica Plain. These concerts further emphasize the series’ mission to make world-class music accessible to communities all over Boston.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s roots will be in American music this season, highlighting how diverse voices have converged here to create some of the most memorable musical scores in the canon. On Aug. 4, audiences will be taken on a journey through the Black experience in America, traveling on the sheet music of spirituals, blues, R&B, jazz and the Harlem Renaissance. On Aug. 25, the powerful sounds of composer Omar Thomas’ “Come Sunday” will waft across the park. The composition illustrates the central role of the Hammond organ in the Black church.

PHOTO: Michael Dwyer

Notes from Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela also will make appearances, as well as classics like Beethoven’s ground-shaking “Symphony No. 5.”

This year’s offerings go above and beyond beautiful musical performances. On Aug. 11, choreographer Peter DiMuro, artistic director of Peter DiMuro / Public Displays of Motion (PDM), brings his piece “Postcards From the Front” to the stage as part of the “Music & Healing” performance. This moving multimedia piece pairs footage of workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with movement responses from PDM collaborators. Each “postcard” offers words of wisdom from invited guests, medical workers, teachers, bartenders and others who have been affected significantly by the pandemic.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Landmarks Orchestra

During the final concert on Sept. 1, audiences can enjoy a world premiere of a commissioned piece, “A Walk in Her Shoes” by composer and Berklee College of Music professor Francine Trester. The performance explores the stories of powerful female figures on Boston’s Women’s Heritage Trail.

Music Director Wilkins says, “We can’t wait for our season to start. It will be a mix of well-loved classics and the kind of discoveries that help us aspire to be a voice for the whole community.”

arts, Boston Esplanade, Landmarks Orchestra, music
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