The Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) is internationally acclaimed for its performances of Baroque and classical music. Based in Boston, H+H’s orchestra and chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners each year with a nine-concert subscription series at Symphony Hall and other leading venues, in addition to a robust program of intimate events in museums, schools, and community centers. Under the leadership of artistic director Harry Christophers, the ensemble embraces historically informed performance, bringing classical music to life with the same immediacy it had the day it was written. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H also provides engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education to thousands of children each year through in-school music instruction and the Vocal Arts Program that includes six youth choruses.
Founded in Boston in 1815, H+H is among the oldest continuously performing classical music ensembles in the United States; it is unique for its longevity, capacity for reinvention, and distinguished history of premieres. H+H began as a choral society founded by middle-class Bostonians who aspired to improve the quality of singing in their growing American city. They named the organization after two composers — Handel and Haydn — to represent both the old music of the 18th century and what was then the new music of the 19th century. In the first decades of its existence, H+H gave the American premieres of major works including Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s Creation (1819), and J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Since its founding, H+H has given more than 2,000 performances before a total audience exceeding 2.8 million.
In addition to its concerts and broadcast performances, H+H reaches a worldwide audience through ambitious recordings that include the critically-acclaimed release of Haydn’s The Creation, the best-selling Joy to the World: An American Christmas, and Handel’s Messiah, recorded live under Christophers’s direction.
Since his appointment as artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H), Harry Christophers and H+H have enjoyed an ambitious artistic journey including showcases of works that the organization has premiered in the United States since 1815 as well as broad education programming, community partnerships, concerts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Tanglewood, and a series of recordings on the CORO label.
Mr. Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the British choir and period-instrument ensemble The Sixteen, which he has directed throughout Europe, America, Australia, and Asia, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th- and 21st-century music. In 2000 he instituted The Choral Pilgrimage, a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury.
In October 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctor of music Degree from the University of Leicester. He is an honorary fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama, and he was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honors.