Charles Ansbacher founded the Landmarks Orchestra in 2001 as an extension of his desire to make the arts a significant park of people’s lives whether they are rich or poor, educated or not.
In an interview given to the Lowell Sun, Ansbacher described Landmarks Orchestra as “a new orchestra that gets its name because, in general, we try to perform at landmark locations… That is our main mission: to bring historical music to historical places.”
Hatch Shell Series Begins
Landmarks Orchestra began a nine-week concert series at the DCR’s Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade. Once this happened, our audience grew quickly.
The city of Cambridge honored Charles Ansbacher for his core principal that art must be a part of people’s lives by naming a promontory after him at Fresh Pond. The Esplanade Associate and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy also honored him for bringing music to significant settings and raising awareness of the importance of open space in society.
Breaking Down Barriers
Creation of our Breaking Down Barriers Accessibility initiative that provided more accessibility services such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters at each concert, reserved seating for patrons with limited mobility and text to speech programs for Blind and sight impaired patrons.
New Music Director
Christopher Wilkins was named as the new music director after the passing of Charles Ansbacher in 2010.
'I Have a Dream' Commission
Commemorating the 50th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the program included pieced that represented themes in King’s speech. Landmarks wanted to provide an ASL translation of the speech. Since there were none that existed, Landmarks commissioned the very first one to be made, with the blessing of the King estate. The translation was performed at the Hatch Shell concert on August 28, 2013.
'Deep River' Concert
Landmarks and One City Choir performed a concert titled, “Deep River,” referencing the famous spiritual. The program contained only music written by Black Americans with one of the highlights including selections from the musical, Show Boat, which has been long criticized for promoting harmful Black stereotypes. Landmarks held a panel at WBUR’s CitySpace titled, “Who Should Sing Ol’ Man River?” which invited panelists and audience members to look at how race has been portrayed in musical theatre and the concert stage over the years and how race relations continue to be an undercurrent of American music in present times.
Landmarks & COVID
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all of Landmarks programs were made to go virtual, including a series called “Interludes” which featured unique stories and beautiful music to bring comfort, solace and joy in a period of great uncertainty.
Return to Live Music
Celebrating Landmarks 20th season, and after over a year with virtual programming, the 2021 season opened with an uplifting in-person performance titled “Lift Ev’ry Voice” performed July 16, 2021 at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain and July 18, 2021 at Arlington Street Church.
2021 & Beyond
We have had an amazing two decades of bringing great music to a lot of Boston neighborhoods and landmarks. We couldn’t have had these past twenty years of success without your support. Thank you and keep on the lookout for more concerts in the near future!