Bill Cosel: What goes around…

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What goes around, goes around, goes around / Comes all the way back around?

Bill Cosel

Bill Cosel

50 years ago, August 1962: As a BU Scholar newbie at WGBH, my first production experience was camera at Tanglewood when Charles Munch gave his farewell concert as Music Director of the BSO, performing Beethoven’s Ninth.

Nervous and thrilled,  I’ll admit that experience played a seminal part in my decision to spend my life working for Public Television.

Now, fifty years later, I’ve been asked to direct a Tanglewood 75th Anniversary program on July 14, 2012, for Great Performances, WNET, to be seen early August on PBS.

Soloists include YoYo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Anne- Sophie Mutter, James Taylor, Peter Serkin.

What a rush, 50 years later.

Bill Cosel's last Evening at Pops

Final Evening at Pops taping at Symphony Hall after a 35-year run on PBS, June 10, 2004. Standing and blocking Kristin Chenoweth (born July 24, 1968) with choreographer Kathleen Marshall.

Tanglewood stage with chorus

Typical Tanglewood stage with chorus


  1. Joan Summerfield Gray on August 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I watched the 75th Tanglewood anniversary show and when the credits appeared and I saw your name, Bill, I was delighted and thought, how fitting!! Congrats! I also have wonderful memories of my time at ‘GBH when there were few of us and everybody knew everybody else. I’d only been there 2 weeks when I was informed there would be an auction. My first reaction was WHY? This isn’t a commercial station!! But I had the time of my life that week and remember Sonya as well. I also may have had a small part in “Meet the Arts” before it was actually on the air. It’s really amazing that so many years later and we’re still communicating. Some of my most wonderful memories are of my so relatively brief time at the station which will stay with me forever.

    I am presently involved in writing poetry and have done readings locally.

    Warm wishes to all

  2. Jack Caldwell on July 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Bill, WGBH became and remains the creative center of public broadcasting because you, Chris Sarson, Fred Barzyk, Russ Morash and an uncompromising team of engineers, crews, lighting designers and other support staff invented and produced those pioneering, innovative and amazing television shows. You all believed in and supported each other. And let’s not forget Hartford Gunn who believed in all of us. Yes, it was WGBH where color television, stereo sound and multi-track picture and sound editing came together. Do you remember YoYo Ma seeing himself conduct on television on a Cahner’s conference room monitor for the first time? Magical days! Let’s make sure they continue. Will be with you and your team in spirit at Tanglewood.

  3. Deedee Morss Decker on June 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Coming off the street with NO training in 1965, my first 3 programs as a PA at ‘GBH are still my most memorable.

    Terrified, following the musical score for Bill as he directed the live BSO concert from Symphony Hall, in the bus. Every week. Then with stopwatch in hand, getting Russell Connor to come out at 28:58 at the MFA, live on tape, in the bus. Different galleries every week. And then going to Ft Ty, Saugus Iron Works and Shaker Village with Fred and Olivia (I think) and Tony Saletan. I remember those places so well.

    And then there was the Auction, started my first year. Only time I was ever on camera, over the years, trying to sell you all something. I certainly did get great training at ‘GBH before heading to NYC. We had to learn how to do everything, since we had no money.

    Because of these updates, I just made contact with Chris Sarson who lives in Boulder, I live part time in Denver. He may get out to our ranch in Ridgway this summer. Everyone is welcome. And my love to all my friends from those good old days.

  4. Sonya Hamlin on June 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Bravo Bill Cosel!!! He was my director from 1965-1968 when I made a fifteen part series called “Meet the Arts” at WGBH with Chris Sarson as producer. What wonderful memories of the creative energy Bill brought to the project. He was so full of new ideas, so willing to try, to experiment, and to laugh – a lot. And that palpable WGBH spirit spurred everyone working then to do such daring and amazing work!

    Regards to Fred Barzyk and Russ Morash and so many others. I loved working there, especially when we did the first ever Auction which lasted a week instead of a day. What fun we had bursting into the studio with something new and crazy to sell — improvising instant specials and performances! Those were rare remarkable times…

    With warm memories — Sonya Hamlin

  5. Don Hallock on June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    50 years….YIKES! This should be a beautiful occasion. How appropriate, and nobody deserves it more than you. As Michael said, we’ll be with you, and looking for the air date. Go guy!

  6. Michael Ambrosino on June 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Well deserved William. Relish the moment. Your contribution to Public Television is noted by many and we all are richer for the way you have used your talent. Many will be with you in spirit.

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