Music has been an integral part of the Gardner experience ever since the Museum opened in 1903 with a celebration that featured a performance by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Sunday afternoon concert series dates back to 1927 and continues to this day as the longest running museum music program in America.
Today, the Gardner Museum honors this musical legacy by welcoming world-renowned musicians and exciting emerging artists to perform classical masterpieces, contemporary pieces, and everything in between.
Weekend Concert Series
The Weekend Concert Series features classical masterpieces, performed by celebrated icons and rising stars on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Experience the music you know and love, as if for the first time!
Witness: Spirituals and the Classical Music Tradition
This series of free, digital programs explores the ways some Black American composers have found inspiration in the rich tradition of spirituals.
Thursdays Live is our new music series highlighting a mix of R&B, soul, spoken word, and hip-hop music featuring local and nationally renowned artists. Experience their talents up close and personal in the Museum’s Calderwood Hall.
The Gardner’s “sonic cube” is a unique and intimate performance venue. Calderwood Hall holds 300 people, and the cubic design allows 80% of those seats to be front row. Three levels of glass-fronted balconies are one row deep and the performance “stage” is on the floor surrounded by two rows of seats. This unique design allows for an intimate connection between performer and audience and provides excellent acoustics. The space was a collaboration between the Gardner’s former Abrams Curator of Music, Scott Nickrenz, award-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano, and Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota.
Abrams Curator of Music
In January 2018, George Steel became the new Abrams Curator of Music, leading the Museum's renowned music program. Steel previously served as the Museum’s Visiting Curator of Performing Arts, beginning in March 2017, designing invigorating, multi-disciplinary programming ranging from chamber music to dance, cabaret, theater, spoken word, poetry readings, Renaissance polyphony, and jazz pop-up events. In his expanded role, he is now responsible for all music programming and increased performing arts activity. His aim is to create and produce performances across genres to animate the Museum's historic and contemporary spaces, and to deepen the public's connection to the collection and exhibitions. Steel's work builds on Isabella Stewart Gardner's legacy and her vision of the Museum as a hotbed for creativity in all forms.
Hemenway & Barnes LLP is the lead corporate sponsor of the Weekend Concert Series. The Museum thanks its generous concert donors: Fitzpatrick Family Concert; James Lawrence Memorial Concert; Alford P. Rudnick Memorial Concert; Marie Louise and David Scudder Concert; Wendy Shattuck Young Artist Concert; and Willona Sinclair Memorial Concert. The piano is dedicated as the Alex d'Arbeloff Steinway. The harpsichord was generously donated by Dr. Robert Barstow in memory of Marion Huse, and its care is endowed in memory of Dr. Barstow by The Barstow Fund. Music at the Gardner is also supported in part by New Music USA and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.