The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, established in 1903, is in many ways the quintessence of Boston Brahminism: elegant and refined, but perhaps a bit fusty.
Not exactly the sort of place, in other words, you’d expect to embrace podcasting. But starting this week, the museum will make 45-minute programs of its famed classical-music concerts available for free downloading and subscription, both from the museum’s site and from iTunes.
“Because of my age, I really didn’t know what an iPod or podcasting was,” confesses the museum’s music director Scott Nickrenz, who’s 69. “But there’s a very young staff here who started whispering in my ear and saying, ‘Scott, you really have to look into this.’ Once I saw the potential of podcasting, it became an obsession — and one of the most exciting things of my life.”
The podcasts, which will be presented thematically rather than chronologically, are gleaned from five years’ worth of performances in the museum’s Tapestry Room. “We record all of our concerts,” says Nickrenz. “The level of our recording is superb. Top professional quality. It’s archival, and we use it for radio.” The first batch of podcasts — new ones will be released on the first and the 15th of every month — will feature works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, among others.
“These are, of course, all dead composers, so they’re public domain,” Nickrenz says. “But very soon we’ll be making real steps forward toward getting cutting-edge music out there that we’re doing right now with our [concert] programming, marvelous modern music that I hope will draw a very young audience. I want to be one of the first to give these great performances away for free.”
On the Web
Gardner Museum Podcasts: //gardnermuseum.org/music/podcast/theconcert.asp