Thursday August 30, 2012

One year after Tropical Storm Irene washed out the final Sunday of the Boston Symphony Orchestra season at Tanglewood, the BSO season concluded Sunday with a resounding performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on a spectacularly warm and sunny Berkshire afternoon. The weather gods were good to Tanglewood this summer, for a change, providing plenty of hot, dry days and evenings for the concerts marking the institution's 75th anniversary celebration.

The Tanglewood season isn't over, as Train will be in concert Friday, Evanesence and Chevelle on Saturday night and the Boston Pops on Sunday. Tanglewood has been bringing in pop performers for the shoulder seasons in recent years, increasing revenue and opening the Tanglewood experience to different and usually younger audiences. After a successful appearance at Tanglewood, alternative rockers Wilco returned to the county for regular appearances at Mass MoCA that have boosted North Adams.

Berkshire cultural attractions all appear to be pursuing ways of expanding their audiences and encouraging younger people to sample what they have to offer and perhaps grow into life-long fans. They are also working together more effectively in promotion, as visitors who come to see one theater, museum or concert in the Berkshires may stick around to see others.

It has been demonstrated in recent summers that Tanglewood can remain true to the mission of Serge Koussevitzky while expanding its programs and its audiences. That "Ode to Joy" Sunday was particularly resonant after this summer season.