Boston Symphony Adds First-Ever Female Brass Player

The Boston Symphony Orchestra kicks-off the season on Sept. 30, as it welcomes the first-ever female to the horn section, in addition to other musicians.

For 131 years, the has never had a female member in its brass section. Until now. 

Rachel Childers, who lives conveniently close to Symphony Hall, will be playing second French horn when the BSO season kicks off on Sept. 30.

She comes to the BSO from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and said it’s an amazing honor to be the first ever woman in the brass section.

“It’s only because of the people who came before me and allowed for things like this to happen,” Childers said. “I’m in a very lucky position here. It’s a pretty cool thing.”

But she was also rather shocked to hear the news.

“It seemed that the barrier should’ve been broken awhile ago, but it makes a little sense because there isn’t a lot of turnover here,” Childers said. “The gentleman who had the position before me retired, which is the case for most of the open positions here.”

In addition to Childers’ debut with the symphony, the BSO will also welcome second flute Clint Foreman and violinist Ala Jojatu.

Opening Night

The BSO opening night is on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will have the dual role of conductor and soloist in an all-Mozart program, which will include Violin Concertos No. 3 and No. 5.

Before the music starts up, there will also be a cocktail reception for all concert attendees at 5 p.m. Held in various rooms, allowing patrons to explore the historic space of Symphony Hall, the reception will include white wine, sparkling water, and hors d’oeuvres.

The performance will be followed by a Viennese-themed dinner for symphony leaders, donors, musicians and benefactor gala ticket holders.  Boston Gourmet will be serving Borscht, Goulash, and Spatzlle, among other delicacies, and the gala is expected to raise over $1,000,000 for the BSO.

The BSO season goes until May, and Childers said there will be several different styles of leadership this year.

"Without James Levine this year as the music director, we will have a different guest conductor each week. This means the audience can have a different experience each week," Childers said. "It will be challenging, working with a brand-new person all the time, but it will be fun and I think the audience will love it."

In December, the BSO will be playing at the San Francisco Symphony, as a part of the west coast symphony's 100th anniversary. The San Francisco Symphony invited all the big names, like Chicago and New York, for the celebration. Childers said she's looking forward to returning to her old stomping ground.

"That’s really exciting for me since I used to be there," said Childers, who's played in the San Diego Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Marin Symphony, and Fresno Philharmonic.

But before the BSO heads out to the west coast, Childers said she can’t wait to get on stage and perform in front of the Boston audience.

“I don’t know what the audience’s reactions are yet," she said, "so that’s something to definitely look forward to."

Call 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, purchase online, or visit the box office at 301 Mass. Ave.

  • $75 to $250 for Opening Night; includes pre-concert reception.
  • $30 - $120 for rest of the season. Be on the lookout for special deals throughout the year, including rush tickets and discounts for students.


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