Tanglewood to mark 75th anniversary season with eight premieres and ambitious streaming venture

November 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Lions Gate at Tanglewood. Photo Stu Rosner

To mark its 75th anniversary in grand style, the Tanglewood Festival will look back at its storied history and move aggressively into the future with a new commitment to live concert streaming and eight world premieres slated for the summer of 2012 from June 20-September 2.

The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will present new works by John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller and Edgar Meyer. Three young composers, Tanglewood Music Center alums Ju Ri Seo, Adam Roberts, and Matti Kovler, will also have new works debuted.

Two starry galas will take place this 75th season. The July 14 event 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, singer James Taylor, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. The event will be led by a trio of conductors, John Williams, Keith Lockhart, and Andris Nelsons, and will be broadcast live to an international radio audience.

And on August 18 composer and Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams will be feted on the occasion of his 80th birthday year with a Boston Pops concert featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, Jessye Norman, and Leonard Slatkin, along with performances by several Boston Symphony soloists.

The Boston Symphony will open its summer season July 6 with Christoph von Dohnanyi leading a Beethoven program that replicates the orchestra’s first Tanglewood concert in 1937. Wagner specialist Asher Fisch will lead a program of orchestral excerpts from the composer’s operas July 21.

Other 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 will perform Brahms’ complete solo piano works over four evenings (July 18, 19, 25 and 26).
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).

Most intriguing for historically minded audience members is the new and aggressive commitment to web streaming of both current and historical performances.

75 Free Digital Streams will be offered throughout the summer at bso.org.  These streams will feature memorable musical events and guest artist appearances from the history of the festival, including outstanding performances by the BSO, Boston Pops, and Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, many of whom went on to have major careers and perform in the world’s most prestigious concert halls and opera houses. The 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. There will also be free streaming at bso.org of master classes and concerts by the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC).

Tickets to the 2012 Tanglewood season, priced from $9 to $117 for regular season concerts, go on sale January 29, through tanglewood.org 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.

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