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Tanglewood offerings go virtual; BSO, top performers take stage online

Learning Institute, Music Center head to the web, too

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LENOX — The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood have just announced a full lineup of web-based performances for their 2020 season, including shows with Andris Nelsons, Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor.

The arts organizations are offering the public this Q&A to help answer questions about the performance year that's been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Q: What is Tanglewood planning for the 2020 season in the wake of the coronavirus?

A: In response to ongoing concerns over COVID-19, all programming for Tanglewood, the Tanglewood Music Center and the Tanglewood Learning Institute will take place online as part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival.

This unprecedented, groundbreaking array of free and paid video and audio streams — encompassing newly created and retrospective content — has been created with the objective of maintaining as many facets of the originally planned programming as possible.

The best place to find all the details about accessing content and planning a visit to the Tanglewood grounds is tanglewood.org.

Q: Who are the top artists that will be performing?

A: Top performers Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, Amanda Forsyth, Augustin Hadelich, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Conrad Tao, Daniil Trifonov and Pinchas Zukerman are among the esteemed artists appearing in the online series Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood, Saturdays at 8 p.m. (with the exception of the first installment, which is on Friday, July 3).

The video streams, hosted by soprano Nicole Cabell, feature new performances recorded at Tanglewood Linde's Center June 22-July 10. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Brooklyn Rider, the Danish String Quartet, Lucas and Arthur Jussen, Paul Lewis, Garrick Ohlsson and the Silkroad Ensemble also offer brand-new recorded performances, as part of Recitals from the World Stage, hosted by actress/director Karen Allen on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. More than 40 BSO players participate in the new BSO Musicians in Recital from Tanglewood, Fridays at 8 p.m., hosted by actress Lauren Ambrose.

Other retrospective performances are being released to coincide with the times they would have been heard live, the most notable example being BSO Encore Performances from Tanglewood, streaming on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and hosted by Jamie Bernstein.

Andris Nelsons leads two of the seven featured BSO concerts — the first featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Renaud Capucon and Gautier Capucon in Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" on a program with Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 10," the second featuring Susan Graham, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and Boston Symphony Children's Choir in Mahler's "Symphony No. 3." Giancarlo Guerrero ["Beethoven Ninth" from 2019], Bernard Haitink [Mozart and Mahler], Jacques Lacombe [an all-American program], Seiji Ozawa [his final Tanglewood concert as BSO music director], and Andre Previn [Haydn and Ravel] each lead one, and the Aug. 16 installment features the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra Encore Performances is a similar retrospective offering, Mondays at 8 p.m., hosted by Stefan Asbury, and featuring six TMCO performances led by Andris Nelsons and one by Thomas Ades.

Tanglewood mainstay James Taylor will host and perform in The Best of Tanglewood on Parade, featuring recent TOP performances by the BSO, Boston Pops, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Children's Choir led by conductors Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart, John Williams and James Burton.

In other family-oriented programming, the Tanglewood Family Concert features a retrospective performance led by Thomas Wilkins in collaboration with the acclaimed WBUR storytelling podcast Circle Round, July 28 at 5 p.m. The annual Family Fun Fest goes digital on Aug. 7 at noon, with free performances and activities presented by cultural organizations throughout Berkshire County.

Tanglewood presents a virtual gala July 23 at 8 p.m. in celebration of the centennial of legendary violinist Isaac Stern, whose long relationship with the BSO and Tanglewood spanned nearly 50 years. Artists from around the world will salute this American master through spoken tributes, musical performances and archival footage.

The Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO's acclaimed summer music academy, will feature in audio streams of previously recorded Sunday morning chamber music concerts. The TMC class of 2020 can access online content, including instruction with BSO members and TMC faculty. The 2020 TMC Fellows have been invited to take part in the TMC 2021 summer session.

The Tanglewood Learning Institute, offering a wide spectrum of programs designed to engage curious minds, presents newly created video events throughout the summer.

TLI Celebrates Beethoven marks the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth with multiple events in July and August, including in-depth explorations led by scholars including Kathryn L. Libin, Tom Beghin, Erica Buurman, Nicholas Kitchen, and the Borromeo String Quartet. These offerings inaugurate a multiyear collaboration with the House of Lobkowicz.

TLI Shop Talks feature new video conversations with notable personalities from the music world; TLI MasterPass is a series of masterclass video streams, retrospective and newly created, with TMC fellows, Boston University Tanglewood Institute students, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus singers taught by Andris Nelsons and others; and TLI OpenForum explores the Roaring 20s and the Romantic Spirit, in conjunction with Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood and Recitals from the World Stage.

Note that all Popular Artist performances for summer 2020 have been canceled; however, several have been rescheduled for summer 2021. Visit www.tanglewood.org for details.

Q: How can listeners tune in?

A: Tanglewood’s website, www.tanglewood.org, is the hub for all information and content being presented during the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival. Much of the material is available free of charge; however, there are minimal fees — ranging from $5 to $12 for a single stream to $15 to $90 for multiple stream packages — for certain content, which can be purchased at www.tanglewood.org. In addition, many offerings will remain available for viewing/listening for one week following the initial online presentation.

Q: What are the special events planned for the year, whether part of a performance or Learning Institute classes?

A: Newly recorded recital and chamber performances by distinguished artists of our time, retrospective and archival BSO, TMCO, and Boston Pops performances, some of them never-before available, a virtual gala honoring Isaac Stern, and the inauguration of tributes to Beethoven on his 250th birthday— all described above — are among the highlights of the season.

Q: What if I already bought tickets to Tanglewood shows or classes, before the pandemic?

A: The BSO is asking patrons to consider donating their tickets back to the organization. Those donating more than $100 worth of tickets, plus existing Friends and Society members, will receive complimentary access to the complete selection of paid and archival digital content being offered as part of the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival. For those who do decide not to donate the value of their tickets, the BSO is offering a credit toward the digital offerings or toward a future BSO, Pops or Tanglewood performance, or a refund for the value of tickets purchased. Contact BSO Customer Service at customerservice@bso.org or 617-266-1200. Note that the box offices at Tanglewood and Symphony Hall are closed.

Q: Will there be events at Tanglewood, with social distancing measures in place? 

A: No, only online performances and events are being offered. The Tanglewood grounds, however, will be open to the public on a very limited basis, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noon, July 5 through Aug. 23. Note that physical distancing and CDC health and safety precautions will be in place and that visitors must register in advance at www.tanglewood.org.


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