The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts that specializes in playing light classical and popular music.
The Boston Pops was founded in 1885 as a second, popular identity of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), founded four years earlier. Consisting primarily of musicians from the BSO, although generally not the first-chair players, the orchestra performs a Spring season of popular music and a holiday program in December, the BSO schedule on break at those times. For the Pops, the seating on the floor of Symphony Hall is reconfigured from auditorium seating to banquet/cafe seating. In addition the Pops also plays an annual concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade every Fourth of July. Their performance of Stars and Stripes Forever is famous for the dropping of the American Flag that occurs as the song enters its final moments. Identified with its long-time director Arthur Fiedler, in the past the orchestra has recorded extensively, made frequent tours, and appeared regularly on television. The Pops Spring and Holiday seasons allowed the BSO to become one of the first American orchestras to provide year-round employment for its musicians.
The current Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra is Keith Lockhart.