The following audio recording brought the horror home to me yet again. The BSO just released this recording and these photos taken in Symphony Hall on that dreadful day. I am passing along the BSO’s press announcement today including full transcript, photos, and recording to you now in a spirit of remembrance.
On Friday, November 22, 1963, at the end of the first half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra concert that was recorded by WGBH Radio in Boston, Erich Leinsdorf, BSO Music Director 1962-69, broke the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to a packed Symphony Hall audience. Gasps and screams of shock are heard from the audience after the announcement was made from the stage. What was to have been a regular concert during the eighty-third season of the BSO became a tribute to the President of the United States as press reports came in over the wires confirming the assassination. In a change to the original program that day, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by Mr. Leinsdorf, played the “Funeral March” from Beethoven’s Third Symphony, “Eroica” (Italian for “heroic”) as a memorial to the President, who was born three miles away from Symphony Hall.
Erich Leinsdorf’s statement to the audience on November 22, 1963 (from the link above):
“Ladies and gentlemen we have a press report over the wires. We hope that it is unconfirmed, but we have to doubt it. The President of the United States has been the victim of an assassination. We will play the funeral march from Beethoven’s Third Symphony.”