Tanglewood announces 2016 season featuring 5 concerts by Nelsons
LENOX — Next summer's 10-week Tanglewood season includes an eight-week Boston Symphony residency — including five Shed concerts led by Music Director Andris Nelsons — as well as a robust schedule of Ozawa Hall ensemble performances and a Popular Artists lineup to be announced early next year.
The annual Boston Pops Film Night (Aug. 13) is to be conducted by John Williams, who missed last summer's event because of back problems.
"He's feeling better," said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe. "He was incredibly disappointed last summer, and we're encouraged, he's certainly slated for an extended presence of the campus."
The Pops film-to-music evening returns with a screening of Steven Spielberg's classic 1981 film "Raiders of the Lost Ark" accompanied by the full Williams score performed live, conducted by Keith Lockhart. A Pops concert featuring vocalist Seth MacFarlane also will be led by Lockhart (July 10).
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is set to perform with his Silk Road Ensemble (Aug. 7) and with the BSO (Aug. 26).
The season announced by the Boston Symphony on Thursday will be bookended by two popular public radio broadcasts — Garrison Keillor returns with his 17th annual "A Prairie Home Companion" on June 25, while Peter Sagal's NPR news quiz, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" will be presented on Sept. 1.
It will be Keillor's second-to-last show as host of the show he created in 1974. His designated successor is musician Chris Thile, though Keillor, 73, is likely to appear as an occasional guest.
"We're delighted that Keillor continues to feel very much at home at Tanglewood," Volpe said. "We've been honored and privileged to host him for 17 years." Keillor's wife, violinist Jenny Lind, is an alumna of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
The Independence Day holiday weekend will feature two Popular Artists events on July 3 and 4 — no details yet — followed by a return of the Tanglewood Drum and Bugle Corps Spectacular (July 6).
James Taylor is expected to perform two shows at Tanglewood, but the scheduling will be announced at a later date.
The BSO's opening night (July 8) features violinist Joshua Bell conducted by Jacques Lacombe, who led the BSO's season opener last summer.
The traditional season closer, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, will be led by the eminent maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi (Aug. 28), who is set for one other BSO appearance during the summer and also will lead the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (July 15).
In his second season as music director, Nelsons will be on the Tanglewood campus for five concerts during two separate weeks in July and August.
His schedule includes four BSO performances, including Mahler's Symphony No. 9 (July 29), the work he conducted on short notice at Carnegie Hall in March 2011 in his first performance with the Bostonians, leading to his appointment as the orchestra's 15th music director.
"He's one of the great Mahler conductors," Volpe noted. "This is something I would certainly think people would want to experience."
Nelsons will conduct a program that includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (July 30) and music from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" ballet (Aug. 21). He will lead the orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus and his wife, soprano Kristine Opolais, in the first two acts of Verdi's "Aida" (Aug. 20) — a "very celebratory piece," Volpe commented, citing the performance as a greatly anticipated summer highlight.
The BSO's music director will also conduct an all-Brahms program with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra of advanced young professionals in the annual Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert (July 31).
Asked whether Nelsons' schedule next summer will be typical of his Tanglewood presence in future years, Volpe said: "There's no pattern, every summer is different." Because of pre-existing commitments to the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, Nelsons is leading a new production of Wagner's "Parsifal," so his Tanglewood schedule had to be worked around it.
Volpe acknowledged a higher-than-usual number of conducting debuts. "Scheduling is a huge puzzle," he explained. "We need so many conductors for the number of programs we do at Tanglewood, so we're looking at some interesting young ones we've heard a lot about."
Other BSO season highlights include a lineup of celebrated pianists, including Emanuel Ax (Aug. 12), Jonathan Biss (July 28), Yefim Bronfman (Aug. 5), Nelson Freire (Aug. 7), Garrick Ohlsson (Aug. 12), Danil Trifonov (Aug. 6) and Yuja Wang (July 12).
Soprano diva Renee Fleming performs Strauss's Four Last Songs (July 16), with Dohnanyi on the podium in a program that includes Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6.
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus will join the orchestra for Orff's Carmina Burana on July 9, returning for Rossini's Stabat Mater on Aug. 9, conducted by Charles Dutoit.
Dutoit, the celebrated Swiss maestro who made his debut at Tanglewood in 1981, has been named the 2016 Koussevitzky Artist, an honorary title in recognition of his long service with the orchestra and his high profile this summer, which includes two appearances with the BSO (Aug. 12, 19), one with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (Aug. 15, with violinist Gil Shaham) and an ensemble performance at Ozawa Hall (Aug. 18), including Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale."
Other return engagements by noted conductors include Sir Andrew Davis (July 22), Pinchas Zukerman in an all-Mozart program (July 15) and Stephane Deneve as part of the lineup for Tanglewood on Parade along with John Williams and Giancarlo Guerrero (Aug. 2).
A highlight of the TMC's summer academy schedule is a semi-staged performance of Kurt Weill's "The Seven Deadly Sins," a satirical theater piece, paired with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14, featuring singers Dawn Upshaw and Sanford Sylvan (Aug. 8).
The Ozawa Hall lineup features early music specialists Jordi Savall and Hesperian XXI joined by the Mexican folklore ensemble Tembembe Ensamble Continuo in a program of music inspired by the discovery of the New World (July 7); soprano Renee Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet (July 13); the Knights chamber orchestra (July 14) in a program titled "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and the male vocal ensemble Chanticleer (July 27) in a program of early music, works by romantic-era and contemporary composers, as well as jazz standards.
Booked for recitals are pianists Friere (Aug. 3) and Trifonov (Aug. 4), as well as Jeremy Denk (Aug. 24) and an evening of jazz with the Chick Corea Trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade (Aug. 31).
The annual Festival of Contemporary Music will be curated by Pulitzer prize-winning American composer Steve Stucky. As director of the five-day event (July 21-25), he will introduce new and recent works by living American, British, Australian and Irish composers and also plans to focus on 20th century masters such as Messiaen, Lutos awski, Boulez and Donatoni.
On July 25, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra will present the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin's "Dream of the Song" for countertenor, women's voices and orchestra, and Olivier Messiaen's "Turangalîla-Symphonie," a large-scale orchestral piece commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO.
In response to an audience survey, the BSO is moving the start times of its Friday and Saturday evening Shed concerts to 8. The performances had begun at 8:30 for several decades. Ozawa Hall concerts were moved back to 8 several summers ago.
Volpe said more than 60 percent of the concertgoers surveyed were keen on an earlier start time, with another 23 percent open to the idea. "It wasn't precipitous or arbitrary," he pointed out. "We thought it was time, the orchestra members wanted it too." Volpe noted that very few live performances begin as late as 8:30.
Ticket sales to the general public, priced from $12 to $124, begin on Jan. 24 at www.tanglewood.org, where the full season schedule is posted, and at SymphonyCharge, 888-266-1200.
Discounted $20 tickets for concertgoers under 40 will be available for BSO and Boston Pops performances in the Shed.
Tanglewood offers free lawn tickets to young people age 17 and under, as well as Kids' Corner, Watch and Play, and the annual Family Concert on July 9.
Information and complete schedules: www.tanglewood.org
Season highlights ...
Here are a few of the major events at Tanglewood announced so far for next summer. All events in the Shed unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, June 25: Garrison Keillor hosts his final Tanglewood show as host of "A Prairie Home Companion."
Sunday and Monday, July 3 and 4: Reserved for a major Popular Artist booking.
Wednesday, July 6: Tanglewood Brass Spectacular (Boston Pops brass & percussion, Boston Crusaders, others.)
Thursday, July 7: Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI with the Mexican folklore ensemble Tembembe Ensamble Continuo (Ozawa Hall).
Friday, July 8: BSO Opening Night: Violinist Joshua Bell, conductor Jacques Lacombe.
Saturday, July 9: BSO, Tanglewood Festival Chorus: Jacques Lacombe conductor, Orff's Carmina Burana.
Sunday, July 10: Boston Pops, Seth MacFarlane, vocalist, Keith Lockhart conductor.
Tuesday, July 12; Wednesday, July 13: Emerson String Quartet, with soprano Renee Fleming on July 13 (Ozawa Hall).
Thursday, July 14: The Knights, "The Times, They Are A-Changin' "
Saturday, July 16: BSO, soprano Renee Fleming, conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi.
Saturday, July 23: BSO, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, conductor Juanjo Mena.
Wednesday, July 27: Chanticleer, male a cappella ensemble (Ozawa Hall).
Friday, July 29, Saturday, July 30: BSO, conducted by Music Director Andris Nelsons, guest soloists.
Sunday, July 31: TMC Orchestra conducted by Nelsons, pianist Paul Lewis.
Tuesday, Aug. 2: Tanglewood on Parade, with conductors John Williams, Stéphane Denève and Giancarlo Guerrero.
Saturday, Aug. 7: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
Saturday, Aug. 13: John Williams' Film Night with the Boston Pops.
Sunday, Aug. 14: Australian Chamber Orchestra with Barry Humphries: Music of Berlin's Weimar Republic. (Ozawa Hall).
Wednesday, Aug. 17: Violinist Gil Shaham, Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas. (Ozawa Hall).
Thursday, Aug. 18: Charles Dutoit and Friends (Ozawa Hall).
Saturday, Aug. 20: Verdi's "Aida," (acts I and II), conducted by Andris Nelsons; Kristine Opolais, soprano.
Sunday, Aug. 21: BSO, music inspired by Shakespeare, conducted by Nelsons.
Friday, Aug. 26: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" screening with John Williams' score performed live.
Sunday, Aug. 28: Beethoven's Ninth, BSO season ender, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi.
Thursday, Sept. 1: Broadcast of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!"