Music at the Gardner

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 Sunday afternoons. Experience the music you know and love, as if for the first time!

Visitors enjoy a Weekend Concert Series performance. Photo by Nic Lehoux.
Visitors enjoy a Weekend Concert Series performance. Photo by Nic Lehoux.

Listen From Home

The Museum’s rich musical program is also available to listeners across the globe through concert videos, audio recordings, and a free classical music podcast.

Music Series

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. 

Learn More about Witness

Castle of our Skins performing in the Dutch Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2021

Castle of our Skins performing in the Dutch Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2021
Courtesy of Bearwalk Cinema

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.

Performers in Calderwood Hall. Photo by Nic Lehoux.
Performers in Calderwood Hall. Photo by Nic Lehoux.

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. 

Music at the Gardner is supported by Nora McNeely Hurley / Manitou Fund. Hemenway & Barnes LLP is the lead corporate sponsor of the Weekend Concert Series. The Museum thanks its generous concert donors: The Coogan Concert in memory of Peter Weston Coogan; Fitzpatrick Family Concert; James Lawrence Memorial Concert; Alford P. Rudnick Memorial Concert; David Scudder in memory of his wife, Marie Louise Scudder; 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 the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.