No trip to the Berkshires is complete without a visit to Tanglewood, the famed summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. However, with over 100 concerts from June 27 to August 30 this summer, the question becomes which concert should I attend? We think you should hear as many concerts as possible, but if you’re only making one trip to the Berkshires this summer, here is what we’d recommend…
For the Classical aficionado…..
Don’t let the summer go by without hearing a performance led by Andris Nelsons, the young Latvian conductor who takes the podium as the BSO’s new Music Director in fall 2014. Mr. Nelsons leads an all-Dvořák program with legendary soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter on July 11 followed by a special gala concert with a dance-inspired program on July 12. This gala event includes excerpts from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Ravel’s Bolero with performances by both the Boston Symphony and Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s prestigious summer music academy.On July 19, Maestro Nelsons is joined by Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger who will perform Rolf Martinsson’s Trumpet Concerto, on a program with music by Brahms and Tchaikovsky. For the July 20 matinee concert, Maestro Nelsons and the BSO will perform a program of Rouse, Lalo, and Beethoven with acclaimed American violinist Joshua Bell.
We’d recommend a Sunday-afternoon picnic on Tanglewood’s picturesque lawn. Young families can listen to Boston Symphony or Boston Pops concerts every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer, and children 17 and under are free of charge. Perhaps an all-Tchaikovsky performance by Yo-Yo Ma on Sunday, August 10, strikes your fancy? There are a variety of special programs for kids, such as the popular Kids’ Corner, a musical and craft-related project supervised and supported by BSO staff on weekends, and the Watch and Playprogram, a series of lively discussions about instruments, concert themes, and/or musical concepts on selected Sundays. Families visiting the Berkshires in August should certainly consider attending Tanglewood’s annual Family Concert on Saturday, August 23, at 2:30 p.m., a free event to those 18 and under, and only $10 for each adult.
For the pop music fan….
Consider timing your Berkshires visit with some of the popular music acts performing at Tanglewood on Labor Day Weekend! Grammy award-winning rock group Train will perform on Friday, August 29; celebrated vocalist Josh Groban joins conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for a concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed on Saturday, August 30; and Tony Bennett, whose music career spans over six decades, will close out the 2014 Tanglewood season with a matinee concert on Sunday, August 31.
For the undecided…
Perhaps the best way to experience all Tanglewood has to offer is the festival’s annual day-long musical celebration, Tanglewood on Parade on Tuesday, August 5. A wide variety of pre-concert activities culminates in an evening concert with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras, led by Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Leonard Slatkin, and Stéphane Denève. The event’s traditional finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is capped off with a spectacular fireworks show over the Stockbridge Bowl.