How locals see it: A symphony of opinions about Tanglewood


Outside Berkshire County, Tanglewood is renowned as the premier cultural destination in the area -- a rustic mecca for classical-music lovers.

Inside Berkshire County, the perception of the venue is more complicated.

By and large, Tanglewood is well received by locals who either attend concerts there or appreciate what it means to the local economy, according to random people interviewed by The Eagle.

But the site also has detractors, with some locals concerned the venue largely targets people outside the area. Other locals, meanwhile, want more diverse programming at Tangle wood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Nancy Costerisan of Lenox grew up playing in orchestras and appreciating classical music. She moved to the Berkshires in 1983 and said she's been to Tanglewood every summer since then.

"I love it," said Costerisan, 65. "I go as much as I can."

Costerisan said she enjoys seeing world-class musicians in a small venue, especially when she takes in shows at the smaller Ozawa Hall.

"It's like getting the entire company for yourself, and it's pretty inexpensive," said Costerisan, who takes advantage of the discounted passes for Berkshire County residents. "It's an amazing experience."

While not everyone is as enamored of classical music as Costerisan is, many locals appreciate what Tanglewood means to the Berkshires. Several people said the venue is a perfect place to take the family, especially when you bring a picnic basket and relax on the lawn on a clear summer night.

Jeff Migdow, a 61-year-old Great Barrington resident who has a medical practice in Lenox, said it can get pretty quiet in Lenox during the winter, so it's nice when Tanglewood opens.

"I like it a lot," Migdow said. "It brings energy in the summer and it brings people. It really helps [local businesses]."

All of those interviewed said they were fans of the fireworks, and there was a mention of headliners such as Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor.

There also was some consternation about the parking and traffic congestion on concert nights, but most people said those hassles simply come with the territory.

Others said they're fans of Tanglewood, but it's simply outside of their budgets. (Some folks said their solution is simply to enjoy the reverberating sounds outside the gates at the Stockbridge Bowl or in the surrounding Lenox community.)

But the biggest criticisms centered on the type of crowd Tangle wood attracts and the kind of musicians who aren't taking the amphitheater stage.

"I feel like they cater to an older crowd," said Jenn Taylor, 31, of Great Barrington.

Taylor said she's seen a handful of concerts at Tanglewood, but she would go a lot more often if there were more contemporary artists.

Many people who shared Taylor's sentiments said they wouldn't expect Tanglewood to bring in artists who tend to sell out arenas. But they did say there would be a local audience for hipper, smaller acts.

Several people cited the 2008 Wilco concert as an example of the type of band that could put on a successful show.

And while not everyone is lining up to buy tickets this summer, nearly everyone agreed the Berkshires are a much better place -- culturally and economically -- because of the 75 years of Tanglewood concerts.

"It's a huge positive," Costerisan said. "It would be a horrible loss if it wasn't here."

To reach Trevor Jones:,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_TrevorJones


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