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Berkshire BSO: Dig We Must


From its inception, in the late 1930s, Tanglewood and the BSO have looked to spread musical culture to the world, as the spirit was felt in those days. Over time, the educational components of the enterprise came to focus on musicians.

Last Friday saw official groundbreaking for a major new building project, four structures to be completed before the 2019 season, which expand the scope and breadth of the festival through renewed commitment to the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy; enhance the audience experience with enrichment and education programs; and broaden Tanglewood’s reputation as one of the world’s premier festivals.

The complex will support TMC performance and rehearsal activities and serve as home to the new multi-use, multi-season Tanglewood Learning Institute for visitors and patrons, which will offer wide-ranging education and enrichment programs. The new buildings will be located at the top of the lawn leading down to Ozawa Hall. William Rawn Associates are the architects, Reed Hilderbrand the landscape architects, and Kirkegaard Associates the acousticians.

The $30-million project is part of multiyear fundraising effort also supporting ongoing building and landscape upgrades to enhance the visitor experience for current and future generations of musicians and concertgoers; the effort includes a special endowment for BSO concert activities and other Tanglewood programming.

The largest building of Tanglewood’s new four-building complex will provide state-of-the-art space for rehearsal and concert activities accommodating an audience of up to 200; multimedia education and lecture programs with a seating capacity of up to 300; and a variety of social and dining events.  Additional buildings include a 150-seat dining cafe, designed in part as a hub for visitors, TMC Fellows and faculty, and TLI participants, and two smaller studios, offering additional space for rehearsal, performance, educational, and social activities.  The highly sustainable complex will be climate-controlled to accommodate use by the Berkshire community in the offseason.

Major improvements at Tanglewood generally will include renovations to the Ozawa Hall Bernstein campus, with a reconfiguration of the entranceway gate to integrate it with the new complex, and improved restroom and food service amenities. The BSO will implement as well a horticultural renewal plan for the famous 524-acre grounds, investing in redesigning and revitalizing landscape elements as well as in uniform strategies for documenting, maintaining, preserving, and enhancing the assets.

Present at the groundbreaking—“a transformational moment, a threshold moment”, in managing director Mark Volpe’s words—were music director Andris Nelsons and Pops conductor emeritus John Williams, along with an assemblage of patrons, board members, musicians, and staff.

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