BSO withdrawal? Linde Center just might be the ticket for your cultural needs

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LENOX — "Winter, spring, summer, fall, all you have to do is call."

The Linde Center for Music and Learning, Tanglewood's first year-round facility, is ready to roll with 40 programs, including arts events, concerts and workshops, until the Boston Symphony Orchestra returns to its summer home next year.

The four-building complex, home of the Tanglewood Learning Institute, is selling tickets starting Friday for a wide spectrum of performances and multidisciplinary activities, many in collaboration with Berkshire arts and community organizations.

"We wanted to partner and build relationships with the other cultural institutions the Berkshires are so fortunate to have," BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe said in a phone interview. "That informs the programming that's not totally specific to music."

The center off Hawthorne Road in Stockbridge that opened last June presented about 140 ticketed events last summer, attracting 14,278 Learning Institute patrons, fueling an increase in total Tanglewood attendance to 344,140 listeners, an increase of just over 4 percent over 2018. Nearly one-third of the Learning Institute audience members were newcomers to Tanglewood and the BSO.

"Inspired by the inaugural season of [Learning Institute] programming — designed to engage curious minds seeking to become more involved with music and the arts — the BSO is committed to the process of incorporating patron feedback and fine-tuning our offerings to ensure fresh new perspectives that will intrigue our audiences to return season after season," Volpe said. "To help support these (Learning Institute) programs, the BSO is making the Linde Center available as rental space for weddings, conferences and the like, while also ensuring significantly reduced rates for nonprofit organizations across the region and beyond."

So far, about 35 rentals are on the books through next spring, including at least eight weddings, as well as corporate retreats, meetings, workshops and convocations.

The facility, which cost about $33 million to build, was paid for by the "Tanglewood Forever" fundraising campaign, which has brought in $71.5 million so far and is remaining open through December "because of strong interest from the donor community," according to a BSO announcement.

Volpe acknowledged that the announcement of year-round activity had been delayed "because of the intensity of the first summer of TLI activity.

The Tanglewood Learning Institute Kickoff Weekend on Oct. 24-27 includes a screening of the film "Falling Down Stairs," a Yo-Yo Ma/Mark Morris collaboration involving Bach's "Cello Suite No. 3." Also planned: "Mastery in the DYI Era," featuring violinist and Pittsfield native Yevgeny Kutik and master model shipbuilder Rob Napier (Oct. 26), as well as a chamber music concert by BSO musicians (Oct. 27).

Other season highlights include:

- Martha Graham Dance Company Collaboration: A symposium at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 focusing on the renowned dance company's history, featuring dancers in excerpts from some of Graham's best-known dances from Copland's "Appalachian Spring" ballet, which premiered Oct. 30, 1944.

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The full-evening event is a partnership among the Learning Institute, the Martha Graham Dance Company and Jacob's Pillow. The evening will include an exploration of the correspondence between Graham and Copland, video footage of Graham, and a question-and-answer session with Janet Eilber, artistic director of the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Patsy Gay, associate archivist of Jacob's Pillow. Additional symposiums are on March 11 and April 29.

- Immersion Weekends: A Fiddle Weekend for amateur musicians led by BSO violinist Bonnie Bewick (March 13-15), and a weekendlong focus on artists and their historic Berkshire homes and studios in collaboration with the Chesterwood studio in Stockbridge (May 15-17);

- Taste: Three afternoons and evenings of music, learning, food and related arts with spotlights on Argentina, Russia and cultures from around the world. The 4 p.m. events, including an optional catered dinner, are on Nov. 15 (Argentina), Feb. 21 (Russia) and May 28 (other cultures from around the world).

- Tanglewood Learning Institute Open Forum: Saturday afternoon multidisciplinary programs featuring artists and experts from different fields, including "Finding Home" (Nov. 23), in partnership with the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and "Reclaiming Our Connection to Nature," featuring a performance of BSO Choral Director James Burton's "The Lost Words" with the Boston Symphony Children's Choir, a partnership with Mass Audubon's Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (April 11).

- Tanglewood Learning Institute Talks: Two three-part interactive arts appreciation sessions — "Dancing to the Music: Exploring the Composer-Choreographer Collaborative Process" (March 8, March 15 and March 22) with institute Program Manager Emilio Gonzalez, and "Beyond the Muse: Exploring the Influence of Composer-Performer Partnerships" (April 26, May 3 and May 10) with institute Director Sue Elliott. Also, a season preview of next summer's BSO concerts, Ozawa Hall recitals and institute programs will be presented June 7 and June 17.

- Tanglewood Learning Institute Concerts: A series of performances by current and retired BSO musicians, including an April 11 concert by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus marking its 50th anniversary.

- Focal Point: Four-part courses on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for amateur artists in photography, pastel and watercolor (Oct. 26; Nov. 2, Nov. 9 and Nov. 16; April 25; and May 2, May 9 and May 16) and Art Night Out, a series of Friday evening visual arts classes (Dec. 13, Feb. 7 and April 3) at the Linde Center, including smartphone photography and pamphlet-stitch bookmaking, a collaboration with IS183 Art School of the Berkshires. No reservations or previous experience are needed for the Art Night Out series.

- Cinematics: Thursday evening films exploring how music, cinema and the human spirit connect, and a Saturday family-friendly series of screenings and hands-on activities for children, presented with the Berkshire International Film Festival, Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. On the Thursday schedule: Dec. 5 ("God of the Piano"), Dec. 12 ("Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas"), Feb. 6 ("Gay Chorus Deep South"), March 5 ("20 Feet from Stardom"), April 2 and May 7 ("That Part Feeling"); each will feature a post-screening Q&A session. The Cinematics for Families series on Saturday mornings is scheduled for Feb. 15 and Feb. 22, and April 18 and April 25.

Other organizations collaborating with the Linde Center's lineup of events include the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Artists' Homes and Studios Program at Chesterwood, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Linde Center also is hosting Learning Institute Berkshire Scholars, which offers subsidized, reduced-price $5 admission to events and programs. Also on tap is a professional development workshop for educators in the county, presented by the BSO/Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network (BRAINworks) and MCLA, as well as a fall meeting of the state-designated economic development agency's 1Berkshire Youth Leadership Program.

The more moderate pricing of the three-season schedule reflects "a conscious decision to focus on the local audience," Volpe, the BSO's president, noted. "We wanted to make it relatively affordable, especially for educators."

The price of renting the Linde Center's three studios for performances and meetings varies according to the nature of the event, he said. "Some things are easy to produce, some are highly produced with more people involved and more overhead." Overall, the rental charge is based on the overhead and facility costs, plus 10 percent.

Fall/winter/spring tickets go on sale Friday at Tanglewood.org or TLI.org, or by phone at 888-266-1492. Prices range from $12 for some Cinematic events to $199 for the Immersion Weekends.


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