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Tanglewood, Too, Goes Virtual


Because its beloved summer festival draws approximately 350,000 people and brings more than $100 million in economic activity annually to the Berkshires region, it is with tremendous regret that the BSO has announced cessation of in-person events at Tanglewood for this plagued summer of 2020. Not since 1945 have listeners had to do almost entirely without this essential business. [According to BSO historian Brian Bell, that year, though, the orchestra managed to cut its first RCA Victor recordings on the grounds, and while the shed was dark, six rather impressive concerts took place at the Theater Concert Hall.]

Instead, the BSO will connect performers—both BSO musicians and guest artists—with audiences through the debuting “Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival,” which will disgorge both newly recorded and encoring performances. While it’s doubtful that electronic facsimiles will reach and give pleasure to the third of a million music-lovers who might otherwise have attended, BSO webcasts have attracted tens of thousands over the last few years.

We can’t get specific marketing information on the free BSO live streams, but recent YouTube concert recordings have garnered 292–4000 views, though a highly promoted show, such as the “Concert for Our City” has played to 24,293 virtual viewers so far. Individual concerts available on YouTube for six or more years record up to 51,495 views. It will be very interesting to learn whether viewers will respond to the appointment streaming opportunities, some behind moderate paywalls, that will constitute the Tanglewood experience for this summer. The BSO marketing department reports over 7mm engagements overall since BSO At Home launched, and have had over 1mm engagements specifically with audio (206,000) and video (941,000) media. [Note: Engagements or impressions refer more to server hits or opportunities to be seen, while “views” and refer to real interactions with viewers]

At press time we have not been able to get answers as to what WCRB and other broadcasters will be offering and the extent of overlap with the BSO’s own productions for the Tanglewood season. WCRB will be broadcasting six Boston Pops performances throughout the spring and early summer

Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood Saturdays, run  July 4th -August 2th 2Video performances at 8 PM on Saturday evenings from Studio E, Linde will feature Emanuel Ax, piano; Augustin Hadelich, violin; Orion Weiss, piano; Gil Shaham, violin; Conrad Tao, piano; Joshua Bell, violin; Jeremy Denk, piano; Daniil Trifonov, piano; Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Pinchas Zuckerman, violin;  and Amanda Forsyth, soprano.

Recitals from the World Stage will include many  of the artists scheduled for the 2020 Ozawa Hall series,recorded specially in venues around the globe., such as Lucas and Arthur Jussen,piano duo; Paul Lewis, piano; Danish String Quartet, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Garrick Ohlsson, piano; Silkroad Ensemble, and Brooklyn Rider, string quartet.

We list Tanglewood Learning Institute Encore Performances HERE and Tanglewood Music Center Performances HERE.

The Orchestra’s Press Release goes on as follows:

Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI)—Launched Last Summer and Offering a Wide Spectrum of Programs Designed to Engage Curious Minds—to Present a Variety of Newly Created Audio and Video Events in Summer 2020 (click here for complete press release about TLI programs)

TLI Celebrates Beethoven: in-depth explorations from scholars including Kathryn L. Libin, Tom Beghin, Erica Buurman, Nicholas Kitchen, and the Borromeo String Quartet, among others, marking the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth and inaugurating a multiyear collaboration with the House of Lobkowicz, (time and date TBA)

TLI ShopTalks: video conversations and Q&A with notable personalities, including Keith Lockhart & BSO musician Richard Sebring, and Mark Volpe, among others, available for streaming on Thursdays at 1 p.m., July 2-August 20

TLI MasterPass: masterclass video streams, both retrospective and newly created, featuring Andris Nelsons, Paul Lewis, Midori, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others, teaching TMC Fellows, Boston University Tanglewood Institute students, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus singers in the intimate setting of Tanglewood’s Linde Center, available on Wednesdays at 1 p.m., July 1-August 19

TLI OpenForum: exploring the Roaring Twenties and the Romantic Spirit in conjunction with Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood and Recitals from the World Stage (time and date TBA)

Access information:These online offerings are available for a minimum fee at; they will remain available for viewing/listening one week following the initial online presentation

Tanglewood Music Center Fellows Featured in Retrospective Performances

Tanglewood Music Center Chamber Concerts: Audio podcasts of past performances of chamber, vocal, and piano music presentations, free of charge, by the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, available Sundays, at 10 a.m., throughout July and August, hosted by TMC Head of Chamber Music Norman Fischer

Access information: This online offering is available free of charge at; they will remain available for viewing/listening one week following the initial online presentation

New Tanglewood Music Center Online Programming Bringing Together TMC Faculty and Fellows From Remote Locations All Over the World for Educational and Community Building Programs

Weekly Master Classes: BSO musicians and TMC faculty to design classes covering solo repertoire, audition preparation, and a variety of other subjects relating to performance

Music Management Seminar: A traditional part of the TMC curriculum, conversations with the BSO’s management leadership team covering a wide range of issues relevant to the industry

TMC Exchange: Brings the TMC fellows together with mentors online for weekly informal talks about their field, challenges related to their instruments and careers, and to establish community for their 2021 Tanglewood residency

Access information: These programs are only available to 2020 TMC Fellows and donors who support the activities of the Tanglewood Music Center

2020 Tanglewood ticket donations/exchanges/refunds
In addition to the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival free-of-charge offerings, additional online programs ranging in price from $5 to $12 for a single event, to $8 to $80 for multiples. Packages, are available for purchase via Advance purchases of digital offerings will be available as of June 15.

Due to the financial impact of concert cancellations, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is asking Tanglewood patrons, whenever possible, to consider donating their tickets back to the organization to receive a tax receipt for the total ticket value contributed. Beginning immediately, ticketholders who donate more than $100 worth of tickets will receive complimentary access to the complete selection of paid and archival Tanglewood digital content, as will existing Friends and Society members. Should ticketholders decide not to donate their tickets, the Boston Symphony is also offering a credit towards Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival digital offerings, or towards a future BSO, Pops or Tanglewood performance. Refunds for the value of the tickets purchased may also be requested.

To donate, exchange, or request a refund, Tanglewood patrons can contact the BSO’s Customer Service Department at or by calling 617-266-1200. The Customer Service Department is happy to answer any questions patrons might have about ticket donations, exchanges, or refunds, as well as any inquiries they might have about concert cancellations. Symphony Charge, the BSO’s ticketing sales office, will remain open during this period of concert cancellations and can be reached at 617-266-1200. The Symphony Hall and Tanglewood box offices are currently closed for in-person business.

The BSO expects to open the Tanglewood grounds to the public on a limited, scheduled basis.


2 Comments [leave a civil comment (others will be removed) and please disclose relevant affiliations]

  1. “At press time” indeed.

    Comment by Anthony — May 16, 2020 at 11:34 pm

  2. My first guess is that WCRB/WGBH etc. will offer lots of Mozart and Vivaldi with non-harpsichord keyboard performances not just by Murray Piranha interspersed with much verbal inanity–at least the Tanglewood version of that. Then maybe brief speeches by Governors Parker and Fredo’s Brother occasionally on the importance of Serious Culture in our otherwise humdrum lives. Then perhaps the POTUS could be coaxed into giving a video address from Mar a Lago on The Fourth to show that Orange Man not Totally Bad, but too many might think that was just Fake News from Fake Tanglewood. Seriously, we’ve been getting a taste of what a Virtual Tanglewood might be like through the years with WCRB’s “phantasy concerts”; I hope they don’t get the idea to do these re-runs EVERY year. To be creative they could stage a virtual opera and use animation to do the Arthur the Aardvark version of Cosi fan Tutti (DON’T!!). The cancellation of Bard’s Summerscape with Le Roi Arthur (no aardvarks!) and the Spiegeltent would be The Last Straw! It does seem we are overdoing a good thing to excess by The Lockdown. Perhaps protecting the vulnerable instead might have worked better than killing everything else in life! As is, it does look the The End of Civilisation as We Now Know It. OK. Tanglewood and WCRB-WGBH etc. should reach into the remotest corners of their vaults to see if they still have it and it hasn’t deteriorated and re-broadcast THE COMPLETE LOHENGRIN as in every single note of it Wagner ever wrote including all the usual cuts AND the “Montsalvant Music”. Yes, it’s Leinsdorf and I know some of you didn’t like him, but this Last Weekend three-concert extravaganza capped the 1965 season; if there’s no tape I have the vinyl studio recording that was made. My Dad who just died at 102 sang in its chorus and bought copies of that recording for each of his four kids. So something “good” my come from this after all. Just maybe. Some Cleverness may yet rescue us all from becoming dog-faced pony soldiers or whatever.

    Comment by Nathan Redshield — May 17, 2020 at 8:14 am

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