Each year, the Museum of Fine Arts hosts a special series called Concerts in the Courtyard. It offers ticketholders the chance to see artists live in an untraditional setting with a beautiful backdrop. The sound setup is warm and lush. The seating capacity is limited. But the ticket prices, remarkably, don’t hit the top of the scale. Typically, a nonmember can snag a ticket for $30 while MFA members can get them for cheaper.
“We’re a unique venue, with being set right in the middle of a large museum—where on the other side of the four walls hangs artwork from every time period and location imaginable,” says Kristen Hoskins, the curator of lectures, courses, and concerts at the MFA. “There really is no other place in the city like it.”
The concert series is a long-running tradition that the MFA prides itself on and one that music lovers look forward to each year. Joanna Newsom, Seu Jorge, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and more have graced its vegified stage, making it a summer institution in the city of Boston. Add the fact that the Calderwood Courtyard holds 367 people, plus it seats another 59 in the Bravo Restaurant Balcony Terrace, and it establishes itself as a gorgeous, memorable venue.
As impressive as that is, none of this would matter if the music choices were subpar, but now that the 2017 lineup is out, we can officially declare it Swoon-Worthy™. Over the next three months, the MFA will host Blick Bassy, Tank and the Bangas, Las Cafeteras, Ruby Rose Fox, Banda Magda, Patty Larkin, Debo Band, and Traveller.
“In booking the series, I was thinking a lot about the political state of the world and how music is such a strong reflection of our times and can transcend boundaries and borders,” says Hoskins. “I wanted to showcase music from around the globe, in hopes that we can all have a better understanding of each other. Each of the individual artists really resonated with me and my hope is always that it will resonate with audiences as well!”
That much is apparent. It’s an articulately crafted lineup, and spacing out the shows allows listeners the chance to digest each performance properly.
This is Kristen Hoskins’ first season as the curator of lectures, courses, and concerts, but she’s already invested in every single show. It’s hard to imagine how anyone couldn’t be, especially after snagging Tank and the Bangas, this year’s winner of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert competition. “I’m super excited,” she says. “They have really blown up over the past six month and have made a lasting impression on concertgoers. They surely won’t be playing 400-seat venues for very much longer!” Just look at the concert series’ past booked acts. Hoskins isn’t kidding.
CONCERTS IN THE COURTYARD. JULY THROUGH SEPT. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, 465 HUNTINGTON AVE., BOSTON. 7:30PM/ALL AGES/$24-30. MFA.ORG