Thursday April 26, 2012

LENOX -- The buzz surrounding Tanglewood's 75th anniversary season is spreading now that the Boston Symphony has landed a national telecast of the celebratory, celebrity-studded gala concert on July 14.

PBS will cover the event as part of its "Great Performances" series for airing on Aug. 10, the final installment of the public broadcasting network's summer Arts Summer Festival series.

The concert, similar to a Tanglewood on Parade program, has a celestial aura with guest performers James Taylor, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Peter Serkin and Emanuel Ax as well as violinist Anne Sophie-Mutter.

Three orchestras will be on stage -- the BSO, the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra -- led by Keith Lockhart, John Williams and guest conductor Andris Nelsons, the Latvian-born maestro.

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus led by John Oliver is also featured on the program, which includes music by Copland, Bernstein, Haydn, Bee thoven, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and selections from the "Great American Songbook."

"We always thought Tanglewood's 75th warranted national coverage," said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe on Wednesday from Boston's Sym phony Hall. "It's good to see that our instincts have some basis in reality."

Volpe said advance sales for this summer's season are running on par with last year, so far.

He anticipates that the orchestra's just-announced plans to stream performances from Boston and Tanglewood on bso.org will attract new listeners to live concerts.


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Last year, the website and its companion, tanglewood.org, attracted 7 million individual visitors, Volpe said.

Noting the lineup for the July 14 gala, PBS Vice President for Programming Donald Thoms said, "How can this be anything but great? We're taping it as it happens, with a really quick turnaround, so I'm excited about it."

"This will be as close to live as we can get it," Thoms told The Eagle, noting that the taping allows time for audio upgrades, if necessary.

According to David Horn, executive producer of "Great Performances," the series "has enjoyed a long association with the BSO and its summertime home at the Tanglewood Festival, dating back to our extensive broadcast collaborations with Leonard Bernstein. We are delighted to return to Tanglewood for this 75th anniversary concert, which also represents a wonderful homecoming celebration for us."

"Great Performances," on the air for 40 years on PBS stations nationwide, has slated the Tanglewood event for Friday, Aug. 10, at 9 p.m. as the seventh and final weekly installment of its Arts Summer Festival. The series includes documentaries from independent filmmakers exploring a variety of art forms and an in-depth look at music, theater, art, architecture and cultural history from international vantage points.

PBS's 360-station lineup includes WGBY in Springfield and WMHT-TV in Schenectady, N.Y., available on Berkshire cable systems as well as satellite services.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6246.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto