Caught in the Act

Lockhart Delivers Again With This Year's Pops

By Jared Bowen

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May 17, 2012


Conductor Keith Lockhart talks about the season with Jared Bowen, and renowned photographer Joseph Sohm discusses Visions of America — a project that sets his photographs of Americana to music on the Pops stage.

BOSTON — Time flies, and as we enter the 127th season of the Boston Pops, we realize it has been 18 years since conductor Keith Lockhart took over. There are no signs of wariness though. This Pops season kicked off with a rousing start.
 
A petit performer with monumental talent and appeal, Bernadette Peters opened the Boston Pops season, dishing out compliments in rehearsals, saying “such a spectacular orchestra. Really, really one of the best.”
 
Peters, who returns to perform with the Pops this July at Tanglewood, told reporters her ties to the orchestra are long and poignant.
 
“I remember watching them on television when Arthur Fiedler was the conductor. And when I came to sing for the first time was actually the first engagement I did after my mother passed away,” Peters said.
 
Its Pops tradition to populate its season with the best of the belters from Broadway and beyond, an irresistible invitation Peters says.
 
“You’re part of the orchestra when they’re on stage. You’re in the orchestra. You hear, it’s like lying under a piano and listening and really getting the whole feeling of the piano. But you’re in the orchestra,” Peters exclaimed.
 
“The challenge of what we do at the Pops is always versatility,” said Pops conductor Keith Lockhart. “It’s turning on a dime and becoming different things and working with wildly different collaborators.”
 
In a rather robust season, Lockhart has convened a host of headliners: John Williams returns for his annual movie nights, Patti Austin performs, comedian/banjo aficionado Steve Martin makes his Pops debut, as do the Dropkick Murphys in a salute to Fenway Park.
 
“It will be a lot of fun and will certainly add a manic energy that isn’t always there at Symphony Hall,” Lockhart said. “I think it will be one of the most memorable moments, I hope in a good way.”
 
The thread for the season, though, harkens to the Pops’ roots in Americana. Nearly all of this season’s concerts will feature music accompanying the photography of Joseph Sohm in a multimedia project entitled “Visions of America.”
 
“These wonderful pictures, literally tens of thousands of pictures he took over a 30-year span of time that really go as far as any catalog of work can to defining what this country is, how wildly diverse it is and its inhabitants are. We never need an excuse to play the great American music, but in this case, it’s given us something for us to hang our hat on,” said Lockhart.

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About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 

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