2021-2022 Season

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Zander Leads BPO in Heaven-Storming Bruckner's Eighth

"Perhaps it was the 1892 score’s performance indications, but Zander seemed to have Mahler in mind as he created an unusually human Bruckner, channeling the composer who played fiddle for town dances, loved dancing himself, and fell in love more than once." -Jeffrey Gantz

Arts Fuse: Classical Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Bruckner's Symphony No. 8

"In the end, then, this was an epic performance of an epic piece. The night’s large, preternaturally attentive audience — there was nary a cough during any of the Symphony’s several luftpausen — intuited this. They rewarded the BPO’s effort with the rowdiest ovation I’ve heard at Symphony Hall since it reopened for concerts in September: rarely has the Eighth’s hard-won sense of perseverance and achievement seemed to fit a moment and resonate with the public so potently as it did on Friday." -Jonathan Blumhoffer

Boston Classical Review: Boston Philharmonic opens season with heaven-storming Bruckner

"Bold and beautiful, this season-opening performance proved a Bruckner experience to relish... Zander’s reading ultimately oriented this religiously charged music to the sublime." -Aaron Keebaugh

Arts Fuse: Classical Music Preview: Catching Up and Looking Ahead with Benjamin Zander on the BPO/BPYO season

"Benjamin Zander is ready to go. After being largely homebound since March 2020, the irrepressible founder and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic (BPO) and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestras (BPYO) can’t wait to return to the concert hall." -Jonathan Blumhoffer

Boston Globe: Back to the symphony, a deep dive into caves, and devices to keep you healthy on the go ...

The Big Interview at The Monocle 21: Interview with Benjamin Zander October 1, 2021

WBUR Fall Classical Music Guide

"Benjamin Zander, music director of the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, is surely the most charismatic classical musician in Boston. This year, we’ll find both orchestras at Symphony Hall. Both fall PBO concerts are prime Zander territory..." -Lloyd Scwartz

2019-2020 Season

Boston Classical Review: Debargue finds depth in Liszt with impressive Boston Philharmonic debut

"Zander’s probing interpretation drew attention to every bold contrast: the dark and mysterious opening theme striking a perfect balance with the incisive rhythms that followed; and the second theme exhibiting a charming sweep and grandeur before another bout of agitation. Zander steered the entire first movement decisively through its climactic peaks and releases." -Aaron Keebaugh

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Lucas Debargue and the Boston Philharmonic at Sanders Theatre 

"It’s hard to argue with the lineup of soloists Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) have brought to town this season. Their trend of finding and presenting some of the most striking artists of the day continued Thursday night at Sanders Theatre with the local debut of Lucas Debargue."-Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Boston Phil’s Brilliant Visegradian Happening

"Zander and the orchestra triumphed with the Dvořák’s Seventh. This treasure trove of Bohemian nationalist tunes, multiplied by Brahms-worthy orchestration, shone from every quarter, with horns and flutes particularly rewarding this listener’s ear and with all string sections providing even and robust support throughout." -Victor Khatutsky

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Debarguments and Debarcations with Lucas

Interview of pianist Lucas Debargue by Victor Khatutsky.

Boston Globe: Boston’s best classical music events for the busy winter season

"The gifted young French pianist Lucas Debargue is the keenly anticipated soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander’s baton, on a program that includes works by Kodaly and Dvorak (Feb 20-23, www.bostonphil.org)." -Jeremy Eichler

WBUR: Here's The Classical Music Events On Our Calendar This Winter

"Ben Zander is admired for having his Boston Philharmonic Orchestra bring to fresh life old warhorses. Their February concert includes Kodaly’s popular Dances of Galanta, Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with the fascinating young French pianist Lucas Debargue (Zander is also famous for bringing to Boston the most compelling instrumentalists), and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7. (Sanders Theatre and Jordan Hall; Feb. 20, 22 and 23) Zander also leads another orchestra, the astonishing Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Their spring concert is a wonderful pairing of two pieces that tell colorful and fantastical stories, Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” and Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” (Symphony Hall; March 12)" -Lloyd Schwartz

Arts Fuse: Top Classical Concerts and Recordings of 2019

Best Solo Performance

"For rapport between soloist and orchestra (and/or conductor), the fall of 2019 brought two mesmeric programs from the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. My favorite of those – by a hair – was Liza Ferschtmann’s account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in November. Augustin Hadelich played the same piece with the Boston Symphony in September. Then, it was beautifully done, but sterile: his interpretation took no risks; parts of it were even a bit sleepy. Ferschtmann, on the other hand, brought the music to life with a panache and vigor that should be a model for all violinists navigating these well-trod pages." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Critics’ Faves From Passing Year

"it rocked, it rolled, it unrolled, the ensemble ablaze. … More than once during the concert I wished I had brought my children and grandchildren." -David Moran

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic plays Beethoven and Rachmaninoff

"Ferschtman is a violinist with unimpeachable technique and a compelling stage presence. Her tone is silvery and pure. In Thursday’s performance, her playing was consistently poetic, whether in the Concerto’s delicate, exposed textures or in its hearty, rustic gestures." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Classical Review: Soloist, Boston Philharmonic offer an intimate take on Beethoven concerto

"Zander led the Boston Philharmonic in a delicate reading of the familiar concerto that yielded a fresh sense of poetic depth. Violinist Liza Ferschtman proved an equally sensitive soloist in her Boston debut." -Aaron Keebaugh

Boston Globe: The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

"BOSTON PHILHARMONIC The Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman makes her local debut with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto under the direction of Benjamin Zander, who also leads Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Nov. 14 and 17 in Sanders Theatre; Nov. 16 in Jordan Hall. 617-236-0999, www.bostonphil.org"-Jeremy Eichler

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic plays Mozart, Brahms, and Bartók

"Throughout, the ensemble and Deljavan exhibited a lively rapport, the pair responding to and bouncing off of one another with energy and delicacy. Afterwards, the pianist rewarded a lusty ovation with a pair of encores: the “Aria” from Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Frederic Chopin’s Mazurka op. 17 no. 4." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Zander Summons and Supports Deljavan

"The Philharmonic achieved rigorous success throughout under Zander’s direction and performed with outstanding verve in the colorful Bartok concerto."-Michael Johnson

The Boston Globe: For Boston Philharmonic, a satisfying start to the 2019-20 season

"Leading an orchestra with considerably more strings than Mozart was accustomed to, Zander gave admirable clarity to the opera buffa fugue sections and propulsion to the whole."-Jeffrey Gantz

Boston Classical Review: Pianist Deljavan makes Boston debut in triumphant Philharmonic season opener

"Sporting his trademark fingerless black gloves, Deljavan from the opening cadenza onward played with clarity, relentless charge and a generous ear." -Andrew Sammut

Boston Magazine: Things to Do This Weekend in Boston

Boston Globe: The Weekender: SpongeBob sings, Almodóvar returns, and Holzer takes over

"GET YOUR PHIL: If you haven’t experienced Benjamin Zander helming your experience of classical music, listen to his TED Talk on its “transformative power,” and then watch him lead the Boston Philharmonic through a program of Mozart (Overture to “The Magic Flute”), Brahms (Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring the spellbinding Italian pianist Alessandro Deljavan), and Bartok (Concerto for Orchestra) this weekend at Jordan Hall (on Saturday evening) and at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre (on Sunday afternoon). And get there early to hear Zander’s lucid and elucidating introduction to the program, which will be like getting fit with a fresh pair of ears. Find full program info and tickets here. (And hear former Globe chief critic Richard Dyer discuss the “incredible ear and imagination” of Deljavan here.)" -Michael Andor Brodeur

Boston Globe: The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

"BOSTON PHILHARMONIC Pianist Alessandro Deljavan makes his Boston debut with Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, under the baton of Benjamin Zander. Program also includes Mozart’s appealing overture to “The Magic Flute” and Bartók’s heady “Concerto for Orchestra.” Oct. 17-20. Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge (Oct. 17 and 20); Jordan Hall (Oct. 19). 617-236-0999, www.bostonphil.org" -Zoe Madonna

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPO Introduces Pianist in BPC2

Article by Richard Dyer about Alessandro Deljavan, soloist for the BPO's first concert of the season.

Wicked Local Cambridge: Local conductor receives lifetime achievement award in South Africa

Benjamin Zander feature.

The Jewish Advocate: Zander Feted in South Africa

Benjamin Zander feature.

Boston Magazine: Boston Philharmonic Conductor Benjamin Zander Wins South African Lifetime Achievement Award

Benjamin Zander feature.

WBUR: Fall Arts Guide: The Classical Music Events Not To Miss This Fall In Boston

"Zander is also the conductor of the phenomenal Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Their fall concert features the extraordinary young Boston violinist Stefan Jackiw in the irresistible Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, on a program that also includes Verdi’s stirring Overture to "La Forza del Destino" and, a Zander specialty, Mahler’s haunting (and haunted) Symphony No. 1." -Lloyd Schwartz

2018-2019 season: 40 Year Anniversary Season

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPO Couples Early-20th-Century Masters

"Zander, observing Mahler’s request to accelerate, got the exuberant humor of it, showing both the music and his orchestra at their best." -Jeffrey Gantz

Arts Fuse: Concert Music Review: The Boston Philharmonic plays Ives and Mahler

"This performance of Ives’ Third was the most welcome entry in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra’s celebratory season – a beautifully considered, powerfully rendered account of this too-neglected score. " -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Classical Review: Rare Ives and epic Mahler from Zander, Boston Philharmonic

"for Mahler enthusiasts, Boston has no better advocate than Zander." -Aaron Keebaugh

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Noted by the Conductor

Article by Benjamin Zander.

Benjamin Zander: The Mystery of Music is Still Alive at 80

Feature article on Benjamin Zander.

Associated Press: Can't stop won't stop: Famous conductor's show goes on

Feature article on Benjamin Zander.

Arts Fuse: Boston Philharmonic Plays Beethoven

"By any measure, this is an impressive orchestra, as technically accomplished as any number of professional ensembles, domestic and international." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Classical Review: Fast and gripping, Zander, Boston Philharmonic bring fresh spirit to familiar Beethoven

"From the outset, with the famous opening four-note theme, Zander’s touch carved out something entirely individual yet inevitably familiar given the material...The whisper of Zander and the Boston Philharmonic can be as exciting as their roar...This was the Boston Philharmonic at their biggest and most balanced, from timpanis down to piccolo. A packed house responded with a five-minute standing ovation, including whistles for each of the sections and multiple curtain calls for Zander." – Andrew Sammut

Wicked Local: Winter Arts Preview Here's the cure for cabin fever

"Long renowned for his groundbreaking interpretations of Beethoven, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra founder and conductor Benjamin Zander burnishes that legend with three all-Beethoven programs, Feb. 14 and 17 at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, and Feb. 16 at Jordan Hall in Boston. " -Nancy Olesin

WBUR Winter Preview: Here's What's On Tap In The Classical Music World This Winter

"Zander has a history of bringing old chestnuts to fresh life, especially when he uses Beethoven’s notoriously faster metronome markings" - Lloyd Schwartz, WBUR

Arts Fuse Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic plays Ginastera, Ravel, and Strauss

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Romping Promenade From BPO

"Every moment felt secure and right under Zander’s leadership...I commend Zander and the BPO (in its 40th year) on their exhilarating promenade through three mutually informing pieces which blended exhilaration and introspection to well-judged effect. Fun but demanding this must have been for the players!" – Lee Eisman

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic plays Ginastera, Ravel, and Strauss

"Throughout the concert, Zander’s direction combined attention to detail with grand, well-defined gestures...Zander also spoke about the music between pieces and conducted excerpts with the excitement of someone playing these works for the first time." – Andrew Sammut

Boston Classical Review: Zander, Boston Philharmonic celebrate with Ginastera, Ravel and Strauss

Boston Globe: With energy, emotion Boston Philharmonic follows Benjamin Zander's lead

"Zander and his orchestra strove for maximum impact. To that, it really feels like “his” orchestra. It’s tough to imagine what the Philharmonic would be without Zander, who celebrates both 40 years with the orchestra and 80 years on Earth this season. Not only does he know the music, he knows the musicians" –Zoe Madonna

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPO Opens 40th Season

Boston Classical Review: Boston Philharmonic puts focus back on the music in thrilling season opener

Celebrating 40 Years of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra


Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

2019-2020 season

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra plays Stravinsky and Berlioz

Jonathan Blumhofer reviews the BPYO's concert and live stream: "The BPYO was in particularly fine fettle in Berlioz’s harrowing “dramatic symphony.” Inspired by the composer’s obsession with the actress Harriett Smithson, the Symphonie famously depicts a love-addled artist on an opium trip that culminates with him murdering his beloved and being tormented by her (and a coven of witches) in hell.Thursday’s performance captured its ardent twists and turns vigorously. Tempos in the opening “Visions and Passions” were flexible, dynamics carefully balanced, and textures – even at the busy apex of the movement’s recapitulation – lucid."

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPYO Fantastique Stream Shows Possibilities

Vance R. Koven writes about the live stream of the BPYO concert and live stream in general.

WBUR: The Year In Boston's Classical Music Scene

"in the right hands even a group of talented kids can give us the best Mahler of the year." -Lloyd Schwartz

Arts Fuse: Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at Symphony Hall

"If there were an award for performances of standard fare played with fresh purpose and zest this fall, the Boston Philharmonic would have won it: their canonical October and November concerts teemed with energy, brilliance, color, and – above all – elemental life force...Of course, the common denominator between both groups is Benjamin Zander, who remains as spry, enthusiastic, and intellectually engaged a conductor as ever, even when he’s conducting pieces we’ve all heard countless times." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Jackiw and BPYO Cure Warhorseitis

"Hearing this contingent for the first time, and, believe or not, Zander for the first time, I can attest as a satisfied listener and critic that much of the execution reached completely professional levels" -Crawford Best

Boston Globe: Stefan Jackiw and Benjamin Zander return to the Mendelssohn Concerto, 20 years later

"Once again Zander had drawn out the very best from these young players, and a delighted crowd in Symphony Hall made its gratitude seen and heard." -Jeremy Eichler

Arts Desk: Classical CDs Weekly Review: Haydn, Mahler, Matthew Whiteside

"Wonderful, then, and I'd also give an unqualified thumbs up to another, very different live performance from Benjamin Zander’s implausibly well-drilled Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. More volatile and unpredictable, the players’ energy is totally convincing." -Graham Rickson

Brandeis Magazine: Art Beat

BPYO Tour to Brazil.

Arts Fuse: Arts Commentary: 2019-20 Classical Music Preview

Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra plays Strauss, Mendelssohn, and Mahler (November 24)

Boston’s best classical ensemble of 2019 (according to Boston Magazine – and I’m not about to argue with that assessment) returns to action with music by Mahler and Verdi framing a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The brilliant fiddler Stefan Jackiw is soloist in the latter. -Jonathan Blumhofer

Northeastern News: AUGUST 2019 IN PHOTOS

2018-2019 season

News@NorthEastern: ‘WE FELT LIKE ROCK STARS’

Article about the Northeastern students who performed in the BPYO for the Brazil Tour by Irvin Zhang.

Arts Fuse: Some Thoughts on the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s 2019 Brazilian Tour

About the BPYO Brazil Tour by Jonathan Blumhofer.

Boston Magazine: Best of Boston 2019

"Rising from the insuppressible enthusiasm of maestro Benjamin Zander—who founded the (senior) Boston Philharmonic Orchestra 40 years ago—this ensemble of fantastically talented 12- to 21-year-olds delivers exactly what you want from a night at the orchestra: to be blown away. Whether playing the notoriously difficult Mahler (one of the maestro’s specialties) or another canonical composer, they deliver youthful energy and just a touch of wonder." -Boston Magazine

Arts Fuse: Classical Music Review: The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Brazil, Part One

BPYO Brazil Tour Review by Jonathan Blumhofer.

Music Web International: Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 in A minor

Mahler 6 Album review by John Quinn.

Boston Musical Intelligencer: BPYO Rewards Grateful Community

"One could not hope for brighter, more attractive and hope-inspiring emissaries from the America we hold dear. They can serve with certainty to summon our better angels." -Lee Eisman

WQXR: Sarasota Young Voices & Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Radio feature of the BPYO.

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Zander & BPYO Ask What Love Tells Us

"there was no want of love in the orchestra’s playing, or in the interpretations of BPYO founder and conductor Benjamin Zander." -Jeffrey Gantz

ArtsFuse CD Reviews: François-Xavier Roth conducts Mahler 3 and Benjamin Zander conducts Mahler 9

"Surely, this is an orchestra that plays at a level rivalling top-flight ensembles. And, in Zander, they’ve got a dynamic conductor who’s both an inspiring teacher and experienced Mahlerian." -Jonathan Blumhofer

Music Web International: Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 in D major [84:05]

"This account of Mahler’s Ninth is a formidable achievement and all the more so when one considers that it is given by young musicians and that it is a live performance. It’s not just the technical accomplishment that has impressed me, however; it’s also the orchestra’s engagement with the music and their commitment. The performance is conducted superbly by Benjamin Zander and if his excellent booklet notes don’t convince you that he has thought deeply about the symphony then listening to his interpretation of it will do so. I can only say that each time I’ve listened to this performance I’ve been gripped by it from start to finish." -John Quinn

Textura: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 Live Album Review (Benjamin Zander, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra)

"If the idea of a youth orchestra tackling a work as deep and profound as Mahler's Symphony No. 9 appears incongruous, don't be deceived: under the unerring stewardship of Benjamin Zander (b. 1939), the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (founded by the conductor in 2012 and comprising 120 musicians ranging in age from twelve to twenty-one) delivers a mature performance that's not just credible but superb." – Ron Schepper

Arts Fuse: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra plays Britten, Schwantner, and Holst

"Benjamin Zander’s 80th birthday celebration this season has, so far, resulted in some fine and, last weekend, revelatory performances by his Boston Philharmonic and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO)." - Jonathan Blumhofer

Midwest Record: BPYO Album Review

"Playing with the kind of presence and passion you'd normally only expect from Euro versions of ensembles like this, the AFM needs to step up to make sure kids like this never have to take day jobs in order to keep the music alive. Just glorious." – Chris Spector

Art Music Lounge: BPYO Album Review "Benjamin Zander’s New Mahler Ninth"

"For all of you who thought that the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, when it was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, was just the berries as a young musical aggregation, you need to hear this recording. It’s really an impressive achievement." -Lynn Bayley

Arts Fuse: Best Performances of 2018: BPYO plays Ives May 7

There was an elegiac quality to the BPYO’s spring season finale: the program was both a commemoration of the end of World War 1 and a farewell to the ensemble’s graduating members. And its inclusion of Ives’ visionary The Unanswered Question served as a memorial for guest conductor John Heiss’s son, Frank, who had died unexpectedly a few weeks earlier. The latter, given the full spatial treatment – string aureoles emanating from the lobby in Sanders Theater framing a solo trumpet up in the balcony and a quartet of flutes onstage – was this packed year’s unforgettable moment. Full review here. -Jonathan Blumhofer

Boston Musical Intelligencer Concert Review: Thankful for the Russians, Zander & BPYO

"But listening to the overall enthusiasm and energy on display, I began to think that “Youth” in an orchestra’s name should be a positive." – Jeffrey Gantz

Arts Fuse Concert Review: Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at Symphony Hall

"Without question, this BPYO rendition of Shostakovich Ten was one of the most urgent and necessary of any symphonic score I’ve heard all year." – Jonathan Blumhofer

The Hub- League of American Orchestras: Grand Tours

Arts Fuse Fall Arts Preview -BPYO

"The BPYO is way more than just a youth orchestra: it’s a world-class ensemble that happens to be made up (mostly) of teenagers. They return to action for the new season the Sunday after Thanksgiving with Anna Federova playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2 and music director Zander conducting further works by Carl Maria von Weber and Dmitri Shostakovich."  -Jonathan Blumhofer

The Boston Musical Intelligencer -BPYO Tour to Europe


Visit the blog to get to know the music and musicians of the Boston Philharmonic