Restructured Pops series has fewer but better programs


Like singers Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett? Or the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein? Or Hal Linden, The Canadian Brass, Artie Shaw Orchestra or the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra doing pops?

That's what the BSO is serving up next season at increased prices in a restructured 1991-92 Pops schedule with eight separate "higher quality" artists instead of 16 of varied quality as this year.

Other changes are a new Thursday series and only one Saturday series instead of two. But the Sunday series stays at five concerts and the total number of concerts remains at 27.

Scheduled next season are: Mathis, Oct. 3,4,5 and 6; Bennett, Oct. 24, 25 and 26; Cole Porter's 100th Anniversary Celebration with the BSO Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1; Gershwin, Broadway and the BSO Jan. 2,3 and 4.

Also, The Artie Shaw Orchestra led by Dick Johnson Jan. 23, 24 and 25; the Canadian Brass March 12, 13, 14 and 15; David Zinman leading a Pops program for the first time with the BSO playing Bernstein April 23, 24, 25 and 26; and Hal Linden May 15, 16 and 17.

Prices are $15 to $43 instead of this year's $11 to $37. Thursday, Friday and Saturday series will cost $15-$29 with $40 boxes. The Saturday series will cost $16-$33 with $43 boxes.

"It is extremely difficult to book 16 varied, high quality Pops programs each year," BSO executive director John Gidwitz explained. "By consolidating the Pops [from 16] into eight programs, we are able to attract more top-line soloists and offer high quality concerts.

"People want quality artists but they also don't want too much repetition year after year," Gidwitz added. Mathis, Bennett and the Artie Shaw group will make their Pops debuts. The Canadian Brass was here about four years ago.

Gidwitz said "a major study was done of the desires of our Pops subscribers, and this restructuring is a response to their preferences." He said the BSO is paying about the same for the eight acts as it did for 16 this year. Although the concerts will be consolidated from 16 to eight weeks, any one series this year had at most eight concerts.

Next season, the Thursday series will have all but the Cole Porter and Hal Linden. The Friday and Saturday Pops programs will each have all eight shows. The Sunday series will have all but Tony Bennett, Gershwin and Artie Shaw.

Each subscriber to the current discontinued Saturday A Series was being personally telephoned by a BSO representative. Other subscribers are being sent letters.

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