Boston Festival Orchestra and Boston Athenæum to Offer  Unique Chamber Music Series

Boston (January 19, 2023) – Deep in the pandemic, when the concert halls were shuttered, the Boston Festival Orchestra now and then used the Boston Athenæum as a practice space, and their music filled the building.  A friendship began, and from that, an artistic collaboration. 

Now, in an innovative multidisciplinary artistic collaboration, the Boston Festival Orchestra (BFO) and the Boston Athenæum have formed a partnership to reflect on special Athenæum exhibitions through the lens of chamber music.

With three 2023 chamber music concerts in the intimate setting of the Athenæum’s Henry Long Room, the BFO will perform compelling and relevant repertoire that blends the familiar with the unknown, according to BFO conductor Alyssa Wang. “The concerts will span many time periods, cultures and mediums, prodding us to ask questions such as: Who is art for? In what ways can we use art to connect with our heritage? In what ways can we use art to reconcile with the past?” she said.

 Each chamber music concert will reflect on a specific Athenæum exhibition:

  • February 9Materialia Lumina, the BFO pairs new and old works of classical music with stunning selections of artists’ books showcased in the Athenæum’s current gallery exhibition, Materialia Lumina / Luminous Books.  
  • April 8 – Performing previously hidden and game-changing voices in classical music, the BFO reflects on the ramifications of an exclusionary past and reconsiders the constructs of race, gender, and class. The music is inspired by Re-Reading Special Collections, a new Athenæum initiative to reinterpret and recontextualize works of art from its permanent collection. 
  • June 22A Place I Never Knew explores a series of photographs by local photographer Tira Khan., The BFO will use music to reflect bridges among Khan’s Indian, American, British heritages. 

Departing from tradition, the concerts will include opportunities for audience participation. Concert-goers will be able to walk through the featured exhibits and converse with artists during the receptions following the concerts. 

“For many audience members, these events may serve as the first introduction to the Boston Athenæum or the Boston Festival Orchestra,” said Boston Athenæum director Leah Rosovsky. “We hope that by mixing communities we strengthen the entire arts and culture community of Greater Boston.”

Concert Schedule

All three concerts are in the Henry Long Room at the Athenæum, 10 ½ Beacon St., Boston.

  • Thursday February 9 at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday April 8 at 3 p.m.
  • Thursday June 22 at 6 p.m.

The concerts are free to BFO subscribers, Athenæum members and the general public, but registration is required at: