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Press Releases

Boston Philharmonic Founder & Conductor Benjamin Zander receives the Kilyeni Medal of Honor

October 25, 2021 | By Ellen Gitelman

On Friday, October 15, at Boston's Symphony Hall, Benjamin Zander, the Boston Philharmonic's founder and conductor, received the Julio Kilyeni Medal of Honor from the Bruckner Society of America, prior to the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony. This is only the second time the award has been given to someone in Boston. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's Serge Koussevitsky is the only other recipient; he received it in 1934, when the award debuted. The medal has been awarded to other outstanding conductors, including Arturo Toscanini and Otto Klemperer, as well as more recent musicians, such as Daniel Barenboim, the recently late Bernard Haitink, and Herbert Blomstedt.

Zander received the award in recognition of his achievements as a conductor of Bruckner symphonies. In bestowing the award the Bruckner Society of America's board of directors said of the 82 year-old Zander, "Not only have your performances been musically compelling, but they have also brought Bruckner’s music to life for a wide range of audiences in the Boston area across many years. For this, the Bruckner community owes you both appreciation and gratitude. Your bold decision to help resume concert life in Boston in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with a performance of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony is particularly admirable in our eyes."


About the Boston Philharmonic

Founded by Benjamin Zander in 1979, the Boston Philharmonic is composed of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), and its robust series of Crescendo Education and Community Engagement programs. Its mission is to share the vibrancy of classical music with new and existing audiences, aspiring to expand the limits of possibility to reinvigorate the classical music experience for audiences and players alike.

As one of Boston’s premier orchestras and under the leadership of Maestro Benjamin Zander, the BPO features student, professional, and amateur musicians who perform inspiring renditions of celebrated masterworks in Boston’s most storied concert halls. The BPYO offers year-long, tuition-free orchestral and leadership training at the highest level for talented musicians between the ages of 12 and 21. The Crescendo Education and Community Engagement programs provide high quality music education for children who would otherwise not have access, often serving the most disadvantaged, at-risk, and under-resourced children in the city.


About Benjamin Zander

For more than 50 years, Benjamin Zander has occupied a unique place as a master teacher, a deeply insightful and probing interpreter, and a profound source of inspiration for audiences, as well as students, professional musicians, corporate leaders, politicians, and more. He has persistently engaged some of the most well-informed musical and public intellectuals in a quest for insight and understanding into the Western musical canon and the underlying religious, social, and political issues that inspired its creation.

For more than 25 years, Zander has also enjoyed a unique relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, recording a series of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies. High Fidelity named the recording of Mahler’s 6th as Best Classical Recording of 2002; the 3rd was awarded Critic’s Choice by the German Record Critics; and Mahler 9th and 2nd and Bruckner’s 5th recordings were all nominated for Grammy Awards.

Zander enjoys an international career as a leadership speaker, with several keynote speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at TED. His best-selling book, The Art of Possibility, co-authored with his former wife, and leading psychotherapist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into eighteen languages.





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