BSO Announces Details of Tanglewood’s 75th Anniversary Season

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman

(LENOX, Mass.) – The stars will be out in full forces in summer 2012 at Tanglewood, as nearly everyone who has ever played a role at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra returns to help celebrate its 75th anniversary season, which runs June 22 through September 2. Among the best-known performers helping to make it a festive season will be John Williams, Keith Lockhart, Andris Nelsons, James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Peter Serkin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Jessye Norman, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Mark Morris Dance Group, Chris Botti, Garrison Keillor, Pinchas Zukerman, Maureen McGovern, and Bernadette Peters.

A notable omission from the guest list is the BSO’s former music director, James Levine.

In addition to replicating some of the greatest musical moments of the last 75 years and presenting eight new works in their world premiere performances, Tanglewood’s 75th Anniversary celebration will reach out to a worldwide audience by way of international radio broadcasts and first-ever recording and educational programs presented through tanglewood.org, including 75 Free Digital Streams featuring many of the most memorable musical events from the BSO’s rich archive of recorded Tanglewood performances since 1937.  These digital streams will be available free of charge for 24 hours on the day of the release, after which they will be available as a download for purchase.

Tickets to the 2012 Tanglewood season, priced from $9 to $117 for regular season concerts, go on public sale Sunday, January 29, through Tanglewood or by calling SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200. Tanglewood continues to offer free lawn tickets to young people age 17 and under and a 50% discount on lawn tickets to college and graduate students.

Anne Sophie-Mutter

Anne Sophie-Mutter

Stars from the classical music world and beyond will join in the Tanglewood 75th celebration by taking part in two special gala concerts on July 14 and August 18.  The July 14 gala will feature the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras, with performances by Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Peter Serkin, longtime Tanglewood friend James Taylor, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and other special guests, led by conductors John Williams, Keith Lockhart, and Andris Nelsons. This program will be made available to a worldwide audience through a series of international broadcasts, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams, arguably the most well-known composer of his generation with many of the most memorable film scores of the 20th and 21st centuries to his credit, will be feted on the occasion of his 80th birthday year with a Boston Pops concert featuring classical music luminaries Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, Jessye Norman, and Leonard Slatkin, along with performances by several Boston Symphony soloists who will be featured in Mr. Williams’s concert works.

The Boston Symphony’s opening night concert of the 2012 Tanglewood season will set the tone for the 75th anniversary season with a program, under the direction of Christoph von Dohnányi — himself a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1952 — that replicates the very first BSO concert that took place on the Tanglewood grounds on August 5, 1937:  an all-Beethoven program, opening with the Leonore Overture No. 3, followed by Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, and Symphony No. 5.  This program will be made available to a worldwide audience through a series of international broadcasts, details of which will be announced at a later date.

A Boston Symphony all-Wagner program on July 21, featuring some of the best-known orchestral excerpts from Tristan und Isolde, Siegfried, Die Walküre, Parsifal, and Tannhäuser, under the direction of Wagner specialist Asher Fisch, will harken back to one of the most storied concerts from the orchestra’s first Tanglewood season in 1937, when a torrential downpour caused the August 12, 1937 all-Wagner concert to be interrupted three times, necessitating a shortening of the program due to leaks in the tent where the orchestra performed its first season. This seemingly disastrous event triggered a happy outcome when funds raised immediately on the spot and soon thereafter were pledged toward building a permanent performance structure for the BSO — the historic Tanglewood Music Shed, which opened in the summer of 1938, and was rechristened the Koussevitzky Music Shed on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 1988.

The BSO’s all-Beethoven concert, under the direction of Christoph von Dohnányi, replicating the first-ever BSO concert on the Tanglewood grounds in 1937, and the 75th Anniversary Gala Concert with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras, and performances by Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Peter Serkin, longtime Tanglewood friend James Taylor, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, led by conductors John Williams, Keith Lockhart, and Andris Nelsons, will be made available to a worldwide audience through an international series of radio broadcasts, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Continuing the BSO’s tradition of marking special anniversaries with the commissioning of new music, the Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Season will showcase the world premieres of eight new works, many by composers who have a strong connection with Tanglewood and the BSO, including:

*Michael Gandolfi was a Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) fellow in 1986 and has been on the TMC faculty since 1997, most recently serving as Composition Program Coordinator. The BSO was involved in the commissioning of his Impressions from ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation’ and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players premiered his Plain Song, Fantastic Dances in 2005. He is currently composing a work for organ and orchestra—a BSO commission to be premiered in 2015.

*John Harbison has long been a BSO collaborator, with many of his works commissioned and/or premiered by the orchestra. The relationship is highlighted by the BSO’s two-year cycle of his symphonies, which culminates in the world premiere of his Symphony No. 6 in January 2012. The composer also has close ties with the Tanglewood Music Center, holding several different titles over the years, including Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music Festival. Mr. Harbison most recently served as TMC Composition Program Chairman.

*André Previn first appeared as a BSO guest conductor in 1977 and the orchestra has premiered three of his works since. Previn’s Owls (a BSO commission) was unveiled in 2008.  The composer’s Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass was premiered by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Roman Patkoló in 2007, and his Violin Concerto “Written for Anne-Sophie Mutter” received its world premiere in 2002. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players premiered André Previn’s Octet for Eleven in 2010.

*Gunther Schuller has led the BSO on numerous occasions, first appearing as a guest conductor in 1964. The orchestra premiered his symphony-like Where the Word Ends, a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission, in 2009 and his DEAI, a BSO commission, was premiered in Japan by the BSO in 1978. Mr. Schuller followed Aaron Copland as head of the TMC Composition Faculty in 1964, and from 1966-1984 he was Director of the Composition Department, during which time he also directed the Festival of Contemporary Music. In 1970 he also took on the title of Co-Director of the TMC.

The 75th anniversary premieres will also include a new work by Edgar Meyer, as well as composers new to the BSO and its audiences. These include new works by Tanglewood Music Center alums South Korean Ju Ri Seo, (TMC class of 2011); American Adam Roberts, (TMC class of 2011); and Israeli Matti Kovler (TMC class of 2008). Additional 75th anniversary commissions will be presented in subsequent Tanglewood seasons.

James Taylor and his extraordinary band of musicians will make their greatly anticipated Independence Day weekend appearances, with concerts on July 2, 3, and 4, with fireworks following the July 4 performance.  Always a highlight of any Tanglewood summer, James Taylor has performed at the festival during 20 seasons since his first Tanglewood concert 38 years ago on July 30, 1974. Proceeds from this summer’s July 4 concert will benefit Tanglewood.

A new discussion series, Concerning Music and Society, will feature a critics’ forum as well as a discussion on music and one on technology and film music.

75 new trees will be planted throughout the Tanglewood grounds enhancing what is already considered one of the most beautiful festival grounds anywhere in the world.  In addition, Sandi Haber Fifield, a photographer from Westport, Conn., has been commissioned to create a souvenir poster in celebration of the special anniversary.

James Taylor

James Taylor

Season highlights include Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist/conductor for an all-Mozart program (July 13) and Pinchas Zukerman as soloist/conductor for an all-Bach program (August 10).  Yo-Yo Ma presents his Silk Road Ensemble (June 22 and 24) and is also soloist with the BSO (August 11). Returning guests also include Joshua Bell (July 7), Yefim Bronfman (August 4), Christoph von Dohnányi (July 6 & August 4, 7, & 12), Charles Dutoit (July 28 & 29), Nelson Freire (July 27), Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (August 19, 25, & 26), Lorin Maazel (August 3&5), Gil Shaham (August 19), and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (August 5). In Ozawa Hall, Gerhard Oppitz performs Brahms’s complete solo piano music; the Mark Morris Dance Group returns for its annual collaboration with Tanglewood Music Center musicians (June 28 and 29); and Chris Botti and his band will be featured (August 5).  Bernadette Peters makes a rare Tanglewood appearance with the Boston Pops in a Shed program led by Keith Lockhart (July 8).

Tanglewood opens on Friday, June 22, with the return of Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble, and closes September 2, with tickets going on sale to the general public on Sunday, January 29, 2012. For detailed information about the 2012 Tanglewood season, including how to purchase tickets, priced from $9 to $117 for regular season concerts (non benefactor tickets to the July 14 Gala Anniversary Concert are priced from $30 to $250), visit Tanglewood. As of January 29, tickets are available through Tanglewood’s website, Tanglewood, and through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200. Tanglewood continues to offer free lawn tickets to young people age 17 and under and a 50% discount on lawn tickets to college and graduate students.  Additional ticket information appears near the end of this press release.  A complete season listing appears at the end of the release.

Ozawa Hall (photo Steve Rosenthal)

Ozawa Hall (photo Steve Rosenthal)

One of the most popular and acclaimed music festivals in the world, Tanglewood—the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home since 1937—is located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills between Lenox and Stockbridge, MA. With an average annual attendance of more than 300,000 visitors each season, and has a $60 million impact on the Berkshire economy each summer. Tanglewood presents orchestra concerts by the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and visiting ensembles, featuring many of the greatest classical musicians of our time; recital and chamber music concerts in the intimate setting of Ozawa Hall; programs highlighting the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center; performances by some of today’s leading popular artists; and a season-ending Labor Day Weekend festival. Tanglewood is family-friendly, with free lawn tickets available for children and young people age 17 and under, a 50% discount on Friday-evening lawn tickets for college and graduate students, and a variety of special programs for children, including Kids Corner, Watch and Play, and the annual Family Concert, this year to take place Saturday, August 25. Tanglewood is also the home of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s  preeminent summer music academy for the advance training of young professional musicians, and Daysin the Arts, a multi-cultural arts-immersion program that gives 400 fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-graders from communities across Massachusetts the opportunity to explore the arts throughout each week-long session of the summer. These are just two of the BSO’s many educational and outreach activities, for which more information is available at www.bso.org—the largest and most visited orchestral website in the country, receiving about 7.5 million visitors annually and generating over $70 million in revenue since its launch in 1996.
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