More than 10,000 Join Handel and Haydn Society For Premiere of Tracy K. Smith’s “Ode to Joy” As Part of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9

(Boston) The Handel and Haydn Society premiered former US Poet Laureate and Massachusetts native Tracy K. Smith’s “Ode to Joy” as part of its performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Friday, August 27 at the Department of  Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Hatch Memorial Shell. Officials with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation estimate more than 10,000 people attended the concert, which was led by acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop. The H+H Orchestra and Chorus were joined by Susanna Phillips, soprano, Taylor Raven, mezzo-soprano, Issachah Savage, tenor, Dashon Burton, bass-baritone, and members of H+H’s Youth Choruses.


The new “Ode to Joy” text was commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of Alsop’s Global Ode to Joy Project. The Carnegie Hall performance was canceled due to COVID-19, making the performance in Boston the American premiere of the new text. Smith was on hand at the Boston performance and read the new text before the concert began.

In addition to the concert on August 27th, the Handel and Haydn Society’s 2021–22 Season Performances will include:

Vivaldi The Four Seasons, October 8 + 10, 2021 at Symphony Hall
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, November 5 + 7, 2021 at Symphony Hall
Handel Messiah, November 26 + 27 + 28, 2021 at Symphony Hall
Bach Christmas, December 3, 2021, at St. Cecilia Parish + December 5, 2021, at First Church Cambridge
Beethoven Symphony No. 7, January 7 + 9, 2022 at Symphony Hall
Haydn + Mozart, January 28 + 30, 2022 at Symphony Hall
Bach + Vivaldi Gloria, April 1 + 3, 2022 at Symphony Hall
Haydn The Creation, April 29 + May 1, 2022, at Symphony Hall

Subscription packages are now available with great savings and may be purchased by calling 617-266-3605 or visiting Subscribers will receive the benefit of access to H+H’s digital streaming season. Single tickets will go on sale in August 2021.

About the Handel and Haydn Society

Boston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society is dedicated to performing Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been captivating audiences for 207 consecutive seasons (the most of any performing arts organization in the United States) speaking to its singular success at converting new audiences to this extraordinary music, generation after generation. Today, H+H’s Orchestra and Chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a nine-week subscription series at Boston Symphony Hall and other leading venues. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H supports seven youth choirs of singers in grades 2-12 and provides thousands of complimentary tickets to students and communities throughout Boston, ensuring the joy of music is accessible to all. H+H’s numerous free community concerts include an annual commemoration of the original 1863 Emancipation Proclamation concert on December 31. The artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society is Harry Christophers. Under Christophers’s leadership, H+H has released 15 CDs on the Coro label and has toured nationally and internationally. In all these ways, H+H fulfills its mission to inspire the intellect, touch the heart, elevate the soul, and connect us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.


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