(LENOX, Mass.) – In the winter of 1936, Mrs. Gorham Brooks and Miss Mary Aspinwall Tappan offered Tanglewood, the Tappan family estate, with its buildings and 210 acres of lawns and meadows, as a gift to Music Director Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The offer was gratefully accepted, and on August 5, 1937, what was then the Berkshire Symphonic Festival’s largest crowd assembled under a tent for the first Tanglewood concert, an all-Beethoven program including the Leonore Overture No. 3 and the Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6. To open the 75th Tanglewood season, revered conductor and 1952 Tanglewood Music Center alumnus Christoph von Dohnányi and the BSO reprise that program on Friday, July 6, at 8:30 p.m. in the shed.
On Saturday, July 7, at 8:30 p.m., Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern makes his BSO and Tanglewood debuts in a concert featuring popular violinist Joshua Bell — a Tanglewood guest every year since 1989 — and bassist-composer Edgar Meyer, who last appeared at Tanglewood in 2000. The program will include the world premiere of Meyer’s Double Concerto for violin, double bass, and orchestra — an appropriate programming nod to Tanglewood’s founder and BSO Music Director 1925-1949, Serge Koussevitzky, himself a virtuoso bass player. Bell and Meyer have collaborated for many years in music ranging from bluegrass to classical. The program also includes Barber’s Overture to The School for Scandal and two works by Tchaikovsky: Meditation, for violin and orchestra and the Symphony No. 4, a work performed as part of the second-ever Tanglewood concert on August 7, 1937.
The Boston Pops Orchestra gives its first Tanglewood 2012 performance in a 2:30 p.m. concert on Sunday, July 8, led by conductor Keith Lockhart and featuring Broadway superstar Bernadette Peters, who has dazzled audiences with performances on stage and screen for nearly five decades. Peters will present such classic selections as “Let Me Entertain You,” “Fever,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”
A Sunday night concert in Ozawa Hall at 8 p.m. on July 8 brings the season’s first appearance by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. The talented young instrumental fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, led by Peruvian conductor and music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Miguel Harth-Bedoya as well as TMC conducting fellows, lead colorful orchestral showpieces including Dvo?ák’s In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91, selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Respighi’s Fountains of Roma, as well as the world premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Dreamscape, a TMC commission inspired by a dream and featuring Schuller’s characteristically kaleidoscopic mastery of the orchestra.