Benjamin Wenzelberg, age 18, has been chosen to conduct the Boston Pops in a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide at a concert to take place on Thursday, June 7, 8-10 p.m., at Symphony Hall. Four finalists—from an initial field of 41 applicants—conducted the Pops in Bernstein’s iconic score during during the Pops rehearsal of Wednesday morning, June 6. Assessing their performances were Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, BSO Artistic Administrator Anthony Fogg, and members of the Boston Pops, ultimately selecting Mr. Wenzelberg to lead the overture in tonight’s performance in front of a live audience.
Benjamin Wenzelberg—a multi-talented conductor, composer, countertenor, pianist, and US Presidential Scholar in the Arts—is a rising sophomore at Harvard University, class of 2021. The competition was held as part of the Boston Pops celebrations of Bernstein’s centennial, and recalls Bernstein’s professional conducting debut, when he won a Boston Herald contest to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the esplanade, sharing the podium with the great Arthur Fiedler.