Conductor of the Boston Pops
A Conversation with Keith Lockhart
In 1996 Lockhart and the Pops signed a four-year, six-album recording contract with RCA Victor, the orchestra’s original recording label, for which Arthur Fiedler made many popular recordings. Last fall, the Pops released their sixth album in this series, The Latin Album. Lockhart’s first five albums — Runnin’ Wild: The Boston Pops Play Glenn Miller, American Visions; The Celtic Album; Holiday Pops; A Splash of Pops — all have received critical and popular acclaim. The Celtic Album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the new classical crossover category. In March 2000, a compilation album called Encore!, featuring tracks from the previous five recordings, was released.
Born in 1959 in Poughkeepsie, New York, Keith Lockhart began to take piano lessons at the age of 7. He holds degrees from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied piano with John Noel Roberts, Gwendolyn Stevens, and Maria-Regina Seidlhofer of the Vienna Hochschule. His training as a conductor includes study with Istvan Jaray, Otto-Werner Mueller, Harold Farberman, and Werner Torkanowsky. He holds honorary doctorates from the Boston Conservatory, Northeastern University, and, most recently, his alma mater, Furman University.
While in Pittsburgh Lockhart served as director of Orchestral Activities at Carnegie Mellon and conductor of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. In 1988, while retaining those posts, he accepted an appointment as assistant conductor of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Akron Youth Symphony. In 1989 he became one of two Conducting Fellows of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. The following year, he moved to Cincinnati as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Beginning with the 1992-93 season, Lockhart served as associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, while also becoming music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, a title he held through the 1998-99 season. Since 1998 he has also been music director of the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City. In addition to his ongoing work with the Utah Symphony, other notable engagements this season include a debut with the Houston Symphony, a reengagement with the Vancouver Symphony, appearances with the New York Chamber Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic, and a return to the Colorado Symphony.
Prior to his Boston Pops debut in June 1993, Lockhart served as conductor on vocalist Mandy Patinkin’s tour and made his commercial recording debut on Christmas Songs, a Telarc release with Mel Tormé accompanied by the Cincinnati Sinfonietta. As a guest artist, Lockhart has conducted the major symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Singapore, Toronto, and Vancouver. In addition, he has led the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Other notable engagements include his first major opera production, Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, with the Washington, D.C., Opera and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s debut at Town Hall in New York City.
With his appointment to the position of Boston Pops Conductor at age of 35, Lockhart succeeded John Williams, who held that position from 1980 to 1993. He is only the third conductor to lead the orchestra since Arthur Fiedler began his tenure with the orchestra in 1930. Lockhart holds both the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor’s Chair and the Germeshausen Family Boston Symphony Youth Concerts Conductor’s Chair. As Youth Concerts conductor, Lockhart annually leads 15 educational concerts for schoolchildren and families from Boston and the surrounding communities. In addition, he serves as a godparent for the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale, Massachusetts, as part of the Boston Music Education Collaborative, a partnership of the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory, and WGBH Boston.
A Conversation with Keith Lockhart