Boston Pops

Ben Roe Named Managing Director of Classical Services

Thursday, February 17, 2011
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Veteran public radio producer and manager Benjamin K. Roe has been named Managing Director of WGBH’s Classical Services. In this role, Roe will guide the overall strategy for 99.5 All Classical services, including programming, live performances and special events.

Roe joins WGBH after serving as the general manager of WDAV Radio in Davidson, North Carolina, since 2008, and his extensive experience with NPR dates back to 1982 with WUMB and WBUR in Boston, where he was one of the early producers of Car Talk. From there, he moved into NPR’s Cultural Programming division, serving in a variety of roles including Director of Music and Music Initiatives from 2002 to 2007.

Marita Rivero, WGBH Vice President and General Manager for Radio and Television said, “When we acquired 99.5 more than a year ago, our mission was to preserve and develop classical music in this region.  Ben will certainly be an asset to WGBH, as we strive to provide the best possible classical services and continue to enhance the listener experience.”

An accomplished producer, Roe earned a Grammy Award in 1998 for a recording of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem by the Washington Chorus and is also a recipient of the Chairman’s Medal from the National Endowment for the Arts, a George Foster Peabody and ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for NPR’s Performance Today and the National Medal of the Arts for NPR Cultural Programming.

Arts leaders around Boston applauded the appointment of Roe, including Marie-Hélène Bernard, Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society, who said, “Ben Roe brings a wealth of experience in radio broadcasting, true intelligence to programming and a passion for classical music.”

Rob Hayes, Assistant Vice President for External Affairs at the Berklee College of Music, said, "Ben Roe is one of the most astute broadcasters in the United States. He has a true, 20,000-foot view of the relationships between music, radio, and the web -- probably as good as there is -- and a legacy of seminal public radio programs he's helped to create. A city of smart people, with best-of-category producers of culture, just got a new friend and champion. I am thrilled that Ben is coming to WGBH.”

Gerald Slavet and Jennifer Hurley-Wales, co-CEOs of From the Top, said, “We have known Ben for years and are thrilled to see him come back to Boston. We worked closely with him when he was at NPR and his insight and advice have been most valuable over the years. We look forward to collaborating with him in his new capacity at 99.5, as we work together to keep the classical music scene vibrant here in Boston.”

And Mark Volpe, Boston Symphony Orchestra Managing Director, said, “WGBH is incredibly fortunate to have Ben Roe join the team at 99.5 All Classical. Many of us at the BSO have enjoyed working closely with Ben on such NPR broadcasts as the opening of Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Symphony Hall Centennial Celebration, and a James Levine-led performance of Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand - the maestro’s first concert as BSO music director. Ben’s creative spirit and unquestionable professionalism, along with his uncanny ability to find workable solutions to tough challenges, are just a few of his impressive qualities. We look forward to collaborating with Ben on the BSO’s broadcast presence on 99.5.”

Best of Holiday Pops!

Friday, December 17, 2010
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Holiday Pops! Member Discount

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
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As a thank you for our WGBH and WGBY members, take 20% off the ticket price for December 22, 2010 Holiday Pops concerts!

Experience the wonder of a Holiday Pops concert this season. For a few weeks in December, historic Symphony Hall is transformed into a magical place for all ages as the Boston Pops perform the most beloved holiday music. Join together with the millions of other New Englanders and Bostonians to continue your family's tradition or start a new one. Order your tickets now to ensure you'll be a part of it all.

December 22, 2010 4PM
December 22, 2010 8PM

To secure your discounted tickets, visit The Boston Pops.

Thousands Celebrate Fourth In Boston

By WGBH Staff & Wires   |   Tuesday, July 5, 2011
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Jul. 5, 2011

Fireworks shoot skyward behind the Hatch Shell during the Boston Pops 4th of July concert rehearsal in Boston on Sunday. (AP)


BOSTON — Hundreds of thousands of revelers with American flags and picnic coolers descended on the Esplanade in Boston on Monday for the annual fireworks show and Boston Pops concert.

About a half-million people attend the yearly event, which includes a traditional concert by the Boston Pops and a rendition of the "1812 Overture" during the start of the fireworks display over the Charles River.

People started staking out spots on the Esplanade early Monday, and police closed roads around the Esplanade and portions of Storrow Drive.

But Monday's display wasn't the end of sparks for the Charles: A fire broke out on a fireworks barge in the river Tuesday morning was quickly doused.

The fire was spotted at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday on the barge that fired off Boston's July Fourth fireworks Monday night.

The Boston Fire Department's harbor unit responded and quickly had the blaze under control within an hour.

There were no reports of injuries but the fire sent thick black smoke billowing across the river. There was no immediate word on the cause.

The festivities occurred alongside a violent weekend for Boston, with two people dead and at least nine injured by gunfire by the weekend's end.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Boston Pops Tap Own History For American Songbook Celebration

By Jared Bowen and Bob Seay   |   Monday, June 6, 2011
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June 6, 2011

Richard Rodgers, seen here with Lorenz Hart, is considered on of the seminal writers of the American Songbook.



BOSTON — The Boston Pops' 126th season is now underway, with a special focus on the American Songbook.

That's a phrase we've all heard — but what does it actually mean? The American Songbook encompasses a broad range of music, which some people say extends as far back as the 1800's and can go into somewhat contemporary times.

Singer and anthropologist Michael Feinstein says much of the American Songbook explores love and romance in clever, witty words and playful tunes.

"Most songs are songs of romance and love and the songs from the Golden Age, the '20s, '30s and 40s, were a panoply of extraordinary brilliant, clever expressions of romance. These songwriters were always trying to find different ways of expressing that oft-expressed emotion. And the wit and the humor still tickles people," Feinstein said.

And that's what conductor Keith Lockhart says he's really looking for — music that still tickles, that still resonates. Classics. 

"To, me the definition of classic is something that reaches somebody for whom it was not originally intended. Shakespeare’s plays for example are an incontrovertible example of that. But also the songs of Gershwin, the songs of Porter," Lockhart said. "Things that people now, who were not alive when either of those people died still sing, still understand, still love." 

The Boston Pops are especially well-equipped to explore this canon. The Pops is older than the songbook itself, and for decades it has literally given voice to the genre with performers like Rosemary Clooney.

Click the player above to hear WGBH's Bob Seay's full interview with Greater Boston's Jared Bowen on the Boston Pops' 126th season.

Pops Goes Motown!

Friday, June 3, 2011
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