Tanglewood opens doors to 'transformative' year-round facility

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LENOX — Under azure skies and gentle breezes on a weather-perfect morning, at least 400 enthused Tanglewood patrons, friends, staffers and government leaders cheered the ceremonial opening of the Linde Center for Music and Learning on Friday, inaugurating the $33 million four-building, climate-controlled complex.

Described as landmark event in the 82-year history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home, the state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal and event space makes the campus in Stockbridge and Lenox a year-round destination for the first time.

"Today is a milestone occasion for Tanglewood, the Berkshires and the ever-strengthening bonds between this region and the Boston Symphony Orchestra," said Anthony Fogg, the BSO's artistic administrator for the past 25 years and the director of Tanglewood.

"This new and transformative element of the Tanglewood experience opens yet another door to Tanglewood for even more people, not just for the summer, but for the whole year," BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe stressed. "We at the BSO are incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunities that this facility will create for collaboration, and we look forward to making what has been our summer home for so many years into one of our two permanent `year-round addresses' for the future."

The multi-use complex, designed by William Rawn Associates architects, is the home of the new Tanglewood Learning Institute — with more than 140 scheduled activities this summer — and community events during the off-season.

It's the largest, most costly and significant expansion and investment at the BSO's 524-acre campus since the opening of the neighboring Seiji Ozawa Hall 25 years ago, also designed by Rawn and his firm.

The new facility was funded by the "Tanglewood Forever" campaign that has raised just over $62 million toward its $64 million goal.

It is named for lead donor Joyce Linde, her late husband Edward and their family. As the guiding force for the project, Linde chaired the committee that envisioned and developed the concept starting seven years ago, and organized the fundraising along with the BSO trustees and other donors.

"This beautiful new complex is a spectacular addition to the Tanglewood campus, providing much-needed space for the Tanglewood Music Center and the summer offerings of the Tanglewood Learning Institute," said Susan Paine, chairwoman of the BSO board of trustees, which supported the project from its inception. "It is the embodiment of the BSO's deepening of its connections to the Berkshires, expanding and adding to an already thriving relationship."

Citing "this watershed moment in the orchestra's history," Linde saluted and thanked "the wise counsel and dedication" of the TMC-TLI Committee, working with BSO officials, the design and construction teams, community partners, government agencies and neighbors. "It was truly a collaborative effort," she noted.

"We hope to offer new programs and experiences that will inspire and deepen people's understanding of classical music, the arts and the human spirit," Linde said, quoting TLI Director Sue Elliott, hired last summer to oversee the institute and its programming.

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"Whether it's through the Tanglewood Music Center, Tanglewood Learning Institute, Boston Symphony Orchestra events or those offered by others," Linde said, "it is our hope that the Linde Center becomes a community resource to unite people through shared experiences, and that it amplifies a core value of the Tanglewood experience, that Tanglewood is for everyone."

Rawn, the architect, told the crowd that he hopes the center is "in the right scale, sense of quality and sense of place that is all a part of Tanglewood, and may that last forever. Today we hand this building over to Joyce and the BSO; it's a poignant moment for an architect when that happens, but it is your building." He singled out for special recognition his partner, architect Clifford Gayley, as well as colleagues Kevin Bergeron and Liz Bondaryk.

Rawn also singled out Volpe, the orchestra's president, "for embracing us starting in 2015 in an amazing way, we got 24/7 from him on several occasions. He had a vision for this place and dedicated four years of his life to making this happen." And Rawn cited Tanglewood Music Center Director Ellen Highstein for "welcoming us with open arms every time we were on campus." The complex's three performance studios include rehearsal space for the BSO's summer music academy that opened in 1940.

Volpe, pointing out that "this is truly a special moment for Tanglewood," stated that "to those who have spent any time here, one thing about this place is abundantly clear, and that is that Tanglewood means so much to so many people."

He said that "there are myriad reasons to love this place — of course, starting with music, nature, camaraderie, community, learning, enjoyment, family, and friends. The wonder about Tanglewood is that, no matter your reason or reasons to love this place, it has something all of us can enjoy, and it is open and welcoming to all."

Edwin Barker, the BSO's principal double bass since 1977 who attended the TMC as a student in 1975, described the Linde Center as "an exciting natural extension" of Tanglewood Music Center founder Serge Koussevitzky's dream, vision and cultural mission.

"I think of it as not just a place populated with those of the here and now, but a cultural center embodying the ghosts of past great artists, musicians, and ideas still roaming this lush landscape," Barker said. "The traditions established here carry over from one generation to the next."

He predicted that "the cross-pollination of the disciplines embodied in the mission of this new facility — music, art, philosophy, and the influential cultural ideas of our time — will continue to cultivate the ongoing tradition and influence of Tanglewood. And so, very happily, the mission and tradition go on."

And, just ahead of the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, Volpe emphasized that the Linde Center "is the focal point for even deeper engagement between the BSO and our neighbors here in the Berkshires. It is a tangible symbol and center for the BSO's dedication not just to being in the Berkshire community, but more important, being of the Berkshire community."

Reed Hilderbrand served as the landscape architect for the project. Consigli was the general contractor that built the new complex, and Skanska was the project manager. Kirkegaard Associates, led by Joseph Myers, served as the project's acousticians. They were also the acousticians for Ozawa Hall, which was also designed by the William Rawn firm.

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

This story has been modified to correct the spelling of  Liz Bondaryk.


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