Wow – What a year at H+H!

Dear Friend of the Handel and Haydn Society,

Thank you for being a part of the H+H story this past year. Everyone here deeply appreciates your presence at our concerts, your applause, and your support. As memorable as this year was, and as extraordinary as the performances of our H+H orchestra and chorus were, none of it would have happened without you.

As I look back on our 2018-19 Season (our 204th – the most of any arts organization on the continent), a number of performances stand out in my memory. But what’s most exciting are the many ways H+H’s connection to music lovers in Boston and beyond is growing stronger.

  • Our ticket sales were up 16% this year (34% over the last two seasons) and most of our subscription concerts are now filled to capacity.
  • Individual contributions were up 18%, showing that a growing community of supporters recognizes it takes more than ticket sales alone to support excellence, education, and engagement.
  • H+H made two highly acclaimed appearances in New York City, performing at the Met Museum’s Temple of Dendur and at the Morgan Library. Two more appearances are to come in December, including our return to Lincoln Center for the first time since 1995.
  • Student enrollment in our Youth Chorus program, which now comprises seven ensembles, was up 14% this season.
  • We expanded our free community performances, adding a South End presentation of our popular Roxbury-based Every Voice program, as well as a program of music by black composers in collaboration with Castle of our Skins – all in addition to our annual Emancipation Proclamation commemoration at Trinity Church, presented in collaboration with the Museum of African American History.
  • Also this year, Harry Christophers announced that his remarkable tenure as our Artistic Director will end with the 2020-21 Season. Bidding farewell to Harry is going to be difficult, given all he has accomplished here. The good news is that over the next two seasons you, our audience, will see our phenomenal H+H musicians perform with many of the very best conductors of Baroque and Classical music in the world. It will be an exciting two years for us as we celebrate Harry’s brilliant leadership and chart the course for our next era of artistic growth.
  • And then, of course, there was Ronan Mattin’s “Wow.” Little did I know this story would put H+H on Entertainment Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, CBC Radio and TV, and more than 900 other media outlets, reaching more than 70 million people worldwide. Many reporters have asked me why this story captivated so many people, and I have to confess I still really don’t know. Perhaps it was the genuine, authentic, wondrous, uninhibited expression Ronan gave to a feeling I frankly have at H+H concerts all the time, and I’m sure you do as well.

I wish you a wonderful summer enjoying all that New England has to offer us this time of year, and I look forward to seeing you at Symphony Hall at our season-opening concerts October 4 and 6.

With gratitude,


David Snead
President and CEO

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