Established by Aaron Richmond in 1938, the Celebrity Series of Boston has evolved into New England's major presenting organization with over 100 performance and outreach activities annually.
From its inception the Celebrity Series became a mainstay of Boston's cultural life with performances by Ignace Jan Paderewski, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifitz, Lily Pons, Francois Poulenc, the Trapp Family Singers, Isaac Stern, Andres Segovia, Marian Anderson, Martha Graham and Company, Yehudi Menuhin, Glenn Gould, Burl Ives, Rudolf Serkin, Van Cliburn, Maria Callas, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Bolshoi Ballet, Maurice Chevalier, the Joffrey Ballet, the Israel Philharmonic, Ravi Shankar, Olivier Messiaen, Marilyn Horne, Dizzy Gillespie, Victor Borge, Beverly Sills, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Jacqueline du Pre, Twyla Tharp Dance and Luciano Pavarotti.
Each season from October to May, the Celebrity Series presents more than 50 multi-cultural and international artists and performing ensembles to audiences in the greater Boston area. By utilizing a number of different performance venues throughout the Boston area, each year the Celebrity Series presents programs of classical music, modern and classical dance, jazz, folk, world music, family music and multi-media performances.
Organizationally, the Celebrity Series has operated under a number of umbrellas. In 1953-54, it affiliated with Boston University and took the name, the Boston University Celebrity Series. In 1984, the Celebrity Series changed affiliations and moved its operations under the auspices of the Wang Center for the Performing Arts (now Citi Performing Arts center) a not-for-profit institution. Then, in 1989, the Celebrity Series incorporated as an independent, non-profit institution with its own Board of Directors and an annual budget of over $3 million (now between $6 million and $7 million). After 18 years of operating with the title sponsorship support of Bank of Boston, BankBoston, FleetBoston Financial, and Bank of America, the Celebrity Series began the 2007-2008 season operating under its incorporated name, Celebrity Series of Boston.