Jeremy Yudkin is a professor of music at Boston University. His gives preconcert talks for Tanglewood weekends every Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. at Lenox Town Hall.

Tanglewood Shed, 2018 (Fred Collins).jpg

Tanglewood's opening night concert is set for 8 p.m., Friday, July 8.

For the first time since 2019, there will be a full Tanglewood season this summer, and it’s a varied and exciting program. This cornucopia encompasses films, masterclasses, a full-length opera, chamber music, vocal recitals, workshops, conversations with artists, wind ensembles, high school orchestra concerts, young professional orchestra concerts, and of course, three concerts each weekend with one of the great orchestras of the world: the Boston Symphony Orchestra. And all this is available at reasonable cost. While tickets for seats inside the Shed range from moderate to quite expensive, sitting on the great Tanglewood lawn for a Shed concert with the superb sound system that the orchestra installed a few years ago, together with enormous bright screens broadcasting video of what is happening on the stage, costs less than $30.

But there are even better special deals that the Boston Symphony is offering that Eagle readers should know about: 

  • For classical concerts, up to four free lawn tickets can be obtained on the day of the performance for children under 18.
  • There’s a Family Concert on Saturday afternoon, July 23, at 2:30pm, which is free for all children and only $16 for adults.
  • Currently enrolled college students over 18 can get lawn tickets for Friday night concerts at a 50 percent discount.
  • Audience members under 40 can get a pair of Shed tickets for $25 each for almost all concerts.
  • Military personnel and veterans get a 30 percent discount on all BSO concerts, both here at Tanglewood and at Symphony Hall in Boston. And the best deal of all is ...
  • Full-time Berkshire residents can buy a Berkshire Pass for $100, which allows you into the grounds for all classical concerts at The Shed or at Ozawa Hall. If you go to three concerts a week, that works out to $4 per concert. Finally, one concert (on July 9 in the Shed) is entirely free for year-round Berkshire residents (two free tickets per person).

Classical music has often been regarded as an elitist institution, reserved only for those who can afford the high prices. But the special opportunities that are on offer this summer mean that many more people can attend Tanglewood performances than just the well-off. Not to mention the fact that tickets for popular artists are often more expensive than tickets for classical concerts.

Upcoming highlights of the popular artists’ series include Earth, Wind, and Fire, 7 p.m., Aug. 9; Brandi Carlile with special guest Indigo Girls, 7 p.m., Aug. 30; and at the end of the season, on consecutive days September 3, 4, and 5, Judy Collins, Van Morrison and the frequently-rescheduled Ringo Starr.  

Classical concerts in the Shed include performances of Stravinsky’s extraordinary “The Rite of Spring,” which caused a riot when it was first performed in 1913 (July 8); a full-length performance of Mozart’s brilliant opera “Don Giovanni” (July 16); all the Beethoven piano concertos in three consecutive concerts (July 29, 30, and 31) with piano soloist Paul Lewis; the Bruch Violin Concerto (August 21) with Itzhak Perlman; and the traditional season-ender performance of the sublime Beethoven Ninth Symphony (August 28). Music by traditionally underrepresented contemporary composers will be featured in several programs. And the annual Festival of Contemporary Music, which is always fascinating, will run from Aug. 4-8.  

Film Night is July 15. “The Empire Strikes Back" soundtrack will be played live by the Boston Pops Orchestra. John Williams gets a 90th birthday musical celebration on Aug. 20. The Boston Pops celebrates Stephen Sondheim on Aug. 19. The high school orchestra of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra for young professionals perform concerts throughout the summer. There are vocal recitals and chamber music concerts and wind ensemble performances scattered throughout July and August. And the Tanglewood Learning Center hosts masterclasses, conversations with artists, workshops, talks, and an evening with singer and Grammy winner Cécile McLorin Salvant. In a little over two months, Tanglewood presents one hundred and four events. For the full calendar, go to the elegantly designed new website,

Jeremy Yudkin is Professor of Music at Boston University.  His gives preconcert talks for Tanglewood weekends every Friday at 2:30 pm.and Sunday at 11 a.m. at Lenox Town Hall.