BLO Brings Free Orchestral Music to the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on The Esplanade Now Through August

Special to the Sun

Boston Landmarks Orchestra (BLO), under the direction of Music Director Christopher Wilkins, is gearing up to offer another season of enchanting musical experiences under the stars in Boston. From the iconic DCR Hatch Memorial Shell to Boston neighborhood venues, the ensemble brings the joy of live orchestral music to audiences of all ages. With a diverse lineup that highlights community, inclusivity, and accessibility, these free concerts promise to be a source of delight and inspiration for all who attend. Landmarks Orchestra invites everyone to join us for an unforgettable summer filled with beautiful music and shared moments of connection.

Music Director Christopher Wilkins says, “It’s always a happy occasion to have the orchestra back together again. There’s nothing like making music on a beautiful summer evening along the banks of the Charles. Our special aim is to connect with people of all backgrounds, Bostonians from a variety of cultural traditions.”

Board Chair Emmett G. Price III adds, “We are tremendously grateful and excited for this substantial commitment from our long-standing partner, Free For All Concert Fund, in bringing exceptional LIVE music to Boston’s historic Hatch Shell. Free for All has signaled our value and our importance to the arts and culture fabric of Greater Boston and we are hopeful that others will join the cause and aid us in accomplishing our courageous and timely mission.”

Regarding the Free for All Concert Fund’s major grant to Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Chair of the Free for All Concert Fund board, said “Free for All is proud to support the great work of Boston Landmarks Orchestra as it continues to advance the legacy of our mutual founder, the late Maestro Charles Ansbacher. This two-year grant of up to $1.275M allows Landmarks to pursue our shared mission of bringing great music to all the people of Boston for free. We look forward to another memorable summer of beautiful music on the Esplanade.”

2024 Summer Concerts and Events

ASL interpreters will be present at many performances; see the website for current details.

Community Block Party

Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm ET | Hatch Shell

Join Landmarks Orchestra for a day of family fun! Free snacks will be provided; we hope to see you there!

Activities include:

String instrument try-out with Johnson Strings

Maestro Zone

Face painting


Performances by:

Four Strings Academy


Gershwin & Williams: American Icons

Wednesday, July 24, 7pm ET | Hatch Shell

Our 2024 Esplanade season begins with a spotlight on two of America’s most beloved composers: George Gershwin and John Williams. From the timely Olympic Fanfare to themes from Jaws, E.T.—and a little Star Wars as an encore—the program also includes Jessie Montgomery’s Freedom Songs, based on spirituals, and the vibrant Second Symphony by Boston composer Randall Thompson. Come at 6:30 for a special prelude concert by students of the Four Strings Academy.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, conductor

Joelle Lamarre, soprano

George Gershwin Girl Crazy Overture

Jessie Montgomery Freedom Songs

Randall Thompson Symphony No. 2​

John Williams

    Olympic Fanfare and Theme

    The Cowboys Overture

    Music from Jaws

    “Viktor’s Tale” from The Terminal, Rane Moore, clarinet

    “Flying Theme” from E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial​      ​

Brahms & Dvořák: Songs without Words

Saturday, August 3, 7pm ET | Hatch Shell

The orchestra “sings” in two melodious staples of the symphonic repertoire: Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture and Dvořák’s popular Symphony No. 8. Julia Perry’s Three Spirituals receive their first public performance, while Joel Hoffman’s moving Self-Portrait with Gebirtig features our Principal Cellist, Aron Zelkowicz, as soloist. Alfvén’s bubbly Midsummer Vigil make this the perfect program for a midsummer Saturday evening.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, conductor

Aron Zelkowicz, cello

Johannes Brahms Academic Festival Overture

Hugo Alfvén Midsummer Vigil (Swedish Rhapsody No. 1)​

Joel Hoffman Self-Portrait with Gebirtig, Aron Zelkowicz, cello

Julia Perry Three Spirituals (first public performance)​

Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 8​

Chamber Music:
The Rivers School Conservatory

Saturday, August 10, 7pm ET | Hatch Shell

The Rivers School Conservatory performs an evening of chamber music at the Hatch Shell.

For the full season of performances, program notes, and more, visit

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