Tanglewood Music Festival admitted to American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum

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LENOX — First came the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, founded in Cleveland in 1983 to recognize the achievements of rock performers, producers and other influential figures.

Thirteen years later, not to be outdone, David Klingshirm, a Cincinnati pharmacist, civic leader and music lover, created the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum, after he visited the rock 'n' roll establishment.

"While he was there, it occurred to him that Ohio should have another hall of fame that honors classical music, and it should be in Cincinnati," said Gary L. Ingle, president of the Classical Hall of Fame.

The nonprofit organization's mission is to celebrate past and present individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions to classical music — people who have contributed to American music and music in America.

On Monday night, during a ceremony at the Highwood Manor House, the Tanglewood Music Festival was admitted, joining a roster of nearly 150 artists and organizations inducted since the first awards were given in 1998 "to honor the great artists, ensembles and organizations that have shaped the landscape of American classical music over the years," Ingle said.

To mark the occasion, he presented a commemorative medallion to Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the past 21 years. Ingle called the BSO "the organization that's been called at various times a musical empire," and he described the Tanglewood Music Festival as "one of the most significant organizations for the performance of classical music in America."

The first group of inductees honored by the Hall of Fame included Serge Koussevitzky, BSO music director from 1925 to 1949 and the founder of Tanglewood and the Berkshire Music Center, as the Tanglewood Music Center summer academy was first known.

Also in that initial group was conductor, composer and Koussevitzky protege Leonard Bernstein.

Arthur Fiedler, longtime Boston Pops conductor, composers John Williams and Aaron Copland, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the Boston Symphony itself were invited into the Hall of Fame in later years.

"It's a great, great honor to have this bestowed and be in the company of many of the illustrious institutions and names you've mentioned," Volpe told Ingle.

"A major mission of the Hall of Fame is to nurture young people to enjoy and consume classical music, and we're hoping it will flourish in the U.S., Ingle said.

Coincidentally, Ingle pointed out, the BSO's summer home was inducted on the same date that the BSO performed its first summer concert in the Berkshires in 1936 at the Dan Hanna Farm in Stockbridge, later the site of the Stockbridge School and the DeSisto School. On Aug. 5, 1937, the BSO established its permanent seasonal home at the donated Tappan Estate, soon renamed Tanglewood.

In 1986, the BSO purchased the Highwood Manor House and surrounding acreage for $1.6 million and completed the construction of the 1,200-seat Ozawa Hall in 1994, described by Volpe as "a transformational moment."

He noted the ongoing construction of the four-building, four-season Center for Music and Learning nearby, "another great, optimistic endorsement of the future, an institute to further Koussevitzsky's vision and multiply its impact throughout the world."

"We feel strongly about our responsibilities and feel that we're in wonderful company and share your optimism for the future," Volpe told Ingle amid a gathering of trustees, staff and a group of BSO musicians.

"There's a very close relationship between the Classical Hall of Fame, Tanglewood and the individuals associated with it," Ingle said.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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