About the Handel and Haydn Society
Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society performs Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been captivating audiences for 206 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.
H+H performed the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah in its first concert in 1815, gave the American premiere in 1818, and ever since has been both a musical and a civic leader in the Boston community. During the Civil War, H+H gave numerous concerts in support of the Union Army (H+H member Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) and on January 1, 1863, H+H performed at the Grand Jubilee Concert celebrating the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years later, H+H performed at the memorial service for Abraham Lincoln.
Today, H+H’s Orchestra and Chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a nine-week subscription series at 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 of every year, in collaboration with the Museum of African American History.
The artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society is Harry Christophers, who is also founding artistic director of The Sixteen in London. 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 all of us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.