Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and the setting for a wide variety of musical performances each year. There's no better place in all of New England to spread out a picnic blanket, feast on gourmet goodies and listen to live music as the sun sets and the stars unveil themselves. 2019 marks Tanglewood's 82nd season.
The launch of the Tanglewood Learning Institute in 2019 adds a new dimension to this decades-old destination for music lovers. With more than 140 diverse programs, including Meet the Maker sessions with instrument artisans, hands-on art and photography workshops, talks by luminaries and unsung heroes, behind-the-scenes music experiences and pre-concert deep dives, you'll find even more reasons to make a trip to the Berkshires this summer.
Highlights of the 2019 Summer Season at Tanglewood
- Chris Thile and special musical guests kick off the Tanglewood summer season with a live broadcast of Live From Here. (June 15)
- James Taylor returns to his beloved Tanglewood once again on the 3rd and 4th of July. The Independence Day concert will be followed by fireworks. (July 3 and 4) Other popular artists who will take the Tanglewood stage in 2019 include: Richard Thompson (June 21), Postmodern Jukebox (June 22), Earth, Wind & Fire (June 28), Rodrigo y Gabriela (June 30), Josh Groban (July 2), Train and Goo Goo Dolls (August 5), Gladys Knight with special guest The Spinners (August 28), Squeeze (August 29), Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge (August 30) and Reba McEntire (September 1).
- Marc Martel, who sang vocals for the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for an evening of music by Queen (June 27).
- The Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood season officially opens with Music Director Andris Nelsons conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat featuring pianist Emanuel Ax. (July 5) Nelsons, in a continued commitment to Tanglewood, will conduct nine BSO concerts over the course of the summer season including Wagner’s complete Die Walküre (July 27 and 28).
- Yo-Yo Ma performs J.S. Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello in one evening (August 11) as part of a two-year global initiative, “The Bach Project,” in which he will perform Bach’s cello suites—part of his repertoire for six decades—on six continents in an effort to explore how music and culture connect us all.
- Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter joins the BSO in a 90th-birthday tribute to Sir André Previn (July 6). The party continues when Renée Fleming is joined by the Emerson String Quartet for the world premiere of Previn and Tom Stoppard’s BSO-commissioned Penelope (July 24).
- Tanglewood on Parade will feature a full day of activities, culminating in a gala concert with Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Thomas Wilkins and James Burton conducting. The combined forces of the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras will present works including the traditional performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture featuring fireworks. (July 23)
- Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams, one of the best-known composers of his generation with credits that include some of the 20th and 21st centuries' most memorable film scores, will be joined by David Newman in conducting the Boston Pops for the always popular Film Night at Tanglewood. (August 24) Williams fans will also want to attend a screening of Star Wars: A New Hope, with the Boston Pops under Lockhart's baton playing Williams' iconic movie score. (August 16) Earlier in the season, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Boston Pops pay tribute to Williams in a program titled after her recent album, "Across the Stars: Music of John Williams," with Newman conducting. (July 7)
- In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ozawa Hall, this intimate venue on the grounds of Tanglewood will host a variety of concerts including the Tanglewood debuts of the Venice Baroque Orchestra (July 11), classical guitarist MILOŠ (July 16) and the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (August 21).
- Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the BSO's traditional closing performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. (August 24)
Tanglewood, located in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, had its beginnings in 1936 when the BSO gave its first outdoor concerts in the area, a three-concert series held under a tent for a total crowd of 15,000.
In 1937, the BSO returned to the Berkshires for an all-Beethoven program, but this time at Tanglewood, the 210-acre estate donated by the Tappan family, initiating a new era in the history of the American summer music festival. In 1938, the 5,100-seat Shed was inaugurated, giving the BSO a permanent, open-air structure in which to perform at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has performed in the Koussevitzky Music Shed every summer since, except for the war years 1942-45, and Tanglewood has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of concertgoers.
The 1986 acquisition of the Highwood estate next to Tanglewood increased the festival's public grounds by 40 percent and allowed for the construction of Seiji Ozawa Hall, which opened in 1994 along with the Leonard Bernstein Campus, which became the center for most Tanglewood Music Center activities. Ozawa Hall serves not only as a performance home for the Tanglewood Music Center but as a modern venue for the BSO's varied recital and chamber music offerings.
Tanglewood annually attracts more than 300,000 visitors for orchestral and chamber music concerts, instrumental and vocal recitals, student performances and the annual Festival of Contemporary Music, as well as performances by popular and jazz artists. The season offers not only a vast quantity of music but also a vast range of musical forms and styles, all of it presented with a regard for artistic excellence that makes the festival unique.
In 2012, Tanglewood celebrated its 75th anniversary, and the season began with the same program that launched the venue on August 5, 1937: an all-Beethoven program.
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead nine Tanglewood programs during the summer of 2019, his fifth season.