The Boston Ballet Orchestra is the second largest musical organization in Boston. Under the direction of its music director, Jonathan McPhee, the orchestra has received critical acclaim for its musical activities within the Boston Ballet.
The orchestra has explored many outreach activities including lecture demonstrations of ballet music, how music partners dance, and how ballet music is composed.
For more than 40 years, this orchestra has specialized in ballet repertoire, which includes some of the most popular music of all time. It seemed natural for the Orchestra to expand its scope to include popular concert performances. In fact, one of the founding conductors for the orchestra was the great Pops conductor, Arthur Fiedler. Since 1996 the orchestra has played many "pops" concerts for visiting conventions in Boston. In September of 1997 it performed a concert of ballet "hits" for an audience of 4,000 in Copley Square while Maestro McPhee shared points of interest about this music's traditions and history, as well as some humorous anecdotes. Rooted in the ballet traditions that inspired this music, the Boston Ballet Orchestra and its maestro, Jonathan McPhee, bring to this repertoire an authenticity and excitement that reflects its theatrical origins.
During the 1992 Season, WGBH Public Radio broadcast a live Boston Ballet Orchestra performance of Mendelssohn's ballet Midsummer Night's Dream. This was the first broadcast of its kind where a ballet performance was aired live without the visual simulcast - a tribute to the musical quality of the Orchestra. In 1995, the orchestra released its first CD of The Nutcracker. It is now the best selling Nutcracker recording having sold over 70,000 copies. This CD has been featured on WCRB and WGBH, and by American and Delta Airlines on their on-board entertainment.
One of the most versatile orchestras in Boston, the Boston Ballet Orchestra performs a wide range of ballet repertoire as well as holiday Pops concerts in a variety of venues in Boston. It has also recorded more CDs than any other ballet orchestra in America with 4 releases to its credit.
Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet Orchestra in George Balanchine's Coppélia, choreography by George Balanchine, courtesy of The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Ernesto Galan