Tanglewood's new Linde Center for Music and Learning honors benefactors

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STOCKBRIDGE — What's in a name?

If you're a major-league, summer season arts organization about to unveil a landmark, $33 million, four-building complex, it's a big deal. The point is to recognize your most generous donors.

In the case of Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced on Friday that is honoring Joyce Linde, her late husband Edward H. Linde, and family members for their leadership gifts to help fund what will now be known as the Linde Center for Music and Learning.

Linde, a BSO trustee and chairwoman of the Tanglewood Music Center/Tanglewood Learning Institute Initiative Committee, was instrumental as a driving force behind the new facility set to open in June, high on a hill overlooking Ozawa Hall. It will be Tanglewood's first year-round facility.

"Tanglewood has played a central role in our family's summers, and we believe in the transformative powers of music to bring people together," said Linde, a resident of Weston, near Boston, and Richmond, in a prepared statement. "With this in mind, it has been exciting to work collectively with other donors, committee members, community leaders, staff and management to think creatively about a beautiful space on the campus that can provide innovative programming and meaningful experiences for generations."

The newly named center includes a 250-seat auditorium suitable for local performances and special events even in the winter, rehearsal studios for the young musicians of the summer season TMC and a 150-seat cafe for institute patrons to mingle with fellow music lovers and big-name artists.

The nearly completed project is part of the BSO's largest one-shot investment in its 82-year-old, 524-acre summer campus since Ozawa Hall was completed 25 years ago.

The BSO plans to unveil details on Feb. 7 about the first season of programming at the institute and the opening of the Linde Center.

The first season at the institute is expected to include four different, structured and curated weekend programs. Possibilities include talks, films, panel discussions, master class and rehearsal access, musical demonstrations, workshops and related activities based on the themes of the weekend's musical performances by the BSO and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

For institute participants, the program is likely to include an "all-access pass" for BSO and TMC orchestra closed rehearsals and master classes, and backstage visits with BSO and Tanglewood orchestra musicians, guest artists and conductors.

When the facilities open to the public this summer, the Linde Center will dramatically increase the much-needed educational and rehearsal space for the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO's highly regarded summer music academy opened in 1940. It will also be the hub for the Tanglewood Learning Institute's programming, described as "a new wide-ranging initiative of dynamic, engaging, and thought-provoking activities."

Institute Director Sue Elliott, hired last summer, has emphasized that the new buildings will host not only events and performances by the BSO, TMC and the Learning Institute, but will also be available to organizations in the Berkshires and beyond, including local performance groups.

"We are deeply committed to adding to the depth and breadth of our cultural services in the Berkshires," she has told The Eagle. "We're well aware that it feels like in summer we land, and Labor Day weekend we de-camp. In no way do we want folks here to be left out. That's why we built the buildings."

The climate-controlled, all-season Linde Center intends to add a new dimension, according to an announcement from the BSO, by offering programs that "explore the power of music to illuminate the human experience by linking Tanglewood performances to relevant themes from the worlds of visual arts, film, history, philosophy, and current events, and offering institute participants experiences that dissolve the traditional barrier between performer and audience."

As Elliott has explained, the complex "will bring together community members, musicians, academics, guest artists and patrons for creative thinking and cultural engagement, using music as a unifying force. We're going to widen and deepen the experience for our current audience members and also open the doors and extend a very warm welcome to people who might be a little shy about trying out music here."

Construction on the site began in September 2017 after town permits from Stockbridge were approved.

The center was funded by the orchestra's "Tanglewood Forever" campaign, quietly launched in 2012 to help close the books on capital investment projects to clear the decks for a transformative revamp of the campus described by the BSO as "between Lenox and Stockbridge."

Before the campaign chaired by BSO Trustee Cynthia Curme went public last August, donors already had funneled $54.4 million into the coffers.

As of this week, more than 450 contributors have provided $61.4 million toward the campaign's $64 million goal.

"The early and visionary support of Ed and Joyce Linde and their family has given the BSO's trustees and management the ability to fully develop and implement plans that will have a life-changing effect on the ways we can deliver on our mission in the Berkshires," BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe stated. "Their gift encouraged us to work in partnership with new and existing donors and our communities to together create a new facility that will impact musicians, music lovers, music students and visitors, and will further reinforce Tanglewood's role as the pre-eminent destination for music and learning."

The Tanglewood Forever campaign is supporting significant projects on the campus as part of the orchestra's major economic investment in the Berkshires.

Near-future projects include landscape upgrades, improved walkways and signage for visitors, and restoration of views encompassing Stockbridge Bowl. Already completed last summer was restoration of the landmark Whispering Bench and its surrounding landscape, part of the original 1849 Tappan estate donated to the BSO in 1936.

A BSO-commissioned study by Stephen Sheppard, the Williams College economics professor who analyzes the county's hospitality industry, showed a current $127 million annual impact on the area by the BSO, including the activity generated by the construction project. The 2017 study predicted an ongoing increase in tourism revenue for the Berkshires, fueled by visitors to the Tanglewood Learning Institute.

Friday's BSO announcement pointed out that to safeguard the physical improvements and program innovations supported by Tanglewood Forever donors, the campaign includes a $12 million endowment fund to allow the orchestra to continue investing in the creation of "new cultural and intellectual pursuits through music and education for Tanglewood's community of Fellows, alumni, faculty, artistic partners and patrons forever."

The announcement included additional naming details:

- The central studio space will be named Studio E in honor of Edward H. Linde, who was chairman of the BSO board from 2005 until his death in 2010, and his family's visionary gift in 2009 to inspire the BSO to pursue ambitious initiatives that would have a significant impact on the organization, the communities it serves and audiences. Linde's wife, Joyce, who became a BSO trustee in 2010, has played a central role as chairwoman of the committee to develop the Tanglewood Learning Institute and guide the design and construction of the new building complex.

- The Gordon Family Studio recognizes generous contributions and longstanding commitment to the BSO by BSO trustee and great benefactor Michael Gordon and his family, who have been Tanglewood patrons for more than two decades.

- The Volpe Family Studio honors Mark Volpe, the BSO's president and CEO, his wife, Martha, and their family in recognition of a gift from Lia and Bill Poorvu and Arthur Segel and Patti Saris.

Other leadership donors will be recognized in the near future through naming of spaces, programs and positions.

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


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