Tanglewood—the famed music and learning campus and summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, situated in the beautiful Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts—has announced details of its 2024 season, opening in late June through August 31. The 2024 Tanglewood season will feature more than 100 performances, including eleven weeks of concerts and other events by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Tanglewood Music Center, and Tanglewood Learning Institute; chamber music, recital, and concert opera presentations in Ozawa Hall; and a series of Popular Artist concerts, highlighted this summer by the 50th-anniversary performance of James Taylor and his All-Star Band in the Koussevitzky Music Shed on July 3 and 4. In some of the most eagerly anticipated events of the 2024 Tanglewood season, BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead ten programs and two master classes in his new expanded role as Head of Conducting at Tanglewood including a weekend of programs celebrating the legacy of Serge Koussevitzky (July 26-28).
The BSO’s July 5 Opening Night all-Beethoven program with violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn launches a season that will shine a spotlight on a wide spectrum of musical guests and the festival’s rich tradition of presenting summertime concerts at their best since 1937. Other Opening Weekend concerts feature Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops performing favorites from Broadway today on July 6, and Nelsons leading soprano Renée Fleming in an all-Strauss program on July 7. Taken together, they set the stage for a summer exploring a unique breadth of music and related programming, as well as an extraordinary roster of the leading artists of our day, including Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell (marking his 35th consecutive summer at Tanglewood), Yefim Bronfman, Leonidas Kavakos, Paul Lewis, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, and John Williams, among many others.
Koussevitzky 150 Celebration &
Festival of Contemporary Music, July 25–29
In observance of the 150th birth anniversary of Russian-born conductor, composer, and double bassist Sergei Koussevitzky (1874–1951) and the 100 years since his appointment as the BSO’s pioneering music director, the BSO performs music he either composed, premiered, championed, or commissioned on the weekend of his actual birthday, July 26. As the BSO’s ninth conductor and the first to hold the title of Music Director, Koussevitzky conducted his first concerts in the Berkshires in 1936 and founded the Berkshire Music Center (later to be named Tanglewood Music Center) in 1940, creating a premier music academy where talented young professional musicians could access the resources of a great symphony orchestra, honing their skills under the mentorship of BSO musicians and other luminaries in the field. TMC alumni include Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mario Lanza, Wynton Marsalis, Burt Bacharach, Dawn Upshaw, Leontyne Price, and Phyllis Curtin, as well as more than 40 current BSO musicians.
Koussevitzky’s legacy also includes the commissioning and encouragement of new works, many of which have become staples of the orchestral repertoire. This summer’s Koussevitzky 150 celebration features several of these pieces, performed by the BSO under Maestro Nelsons’ baton with distinguished guest artists. They include Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, programmed for Saturday’s July 27 concert at the Shed with Stride by 2021 Pulitzer Prize-winner Tania León and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. On Sunday, July 28 at the Shed, Nelsons conducts two Koussevitzky commissions—Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Thompson’s Alleluia, both with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (James Burton, conductor)—to be performed alongside Copland’s Piano Concerto with Paul Lewis (a composition Koussevitzky helped premiere) and James Lee III’s 2022 work Freedom’s Genuine Dawn with narrator Thomas Warfield. On Friday, July 26 at the Shed, the BSO and Nelsons will perform pieces that Koussevitzky premiered as a conductor—Scriabin’s Prometheus, Poem of Fire with pianist Yefim Bronfman and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Sibelius’ The Origin of Fire with baritone Will Liverman—paired with Steven Mackey’s Urban Ocean and Koussevitzky’s Double Bass Concerto (1905), to be performed by BSO Principal Double Bass Edwin Barker.
On July 26, the interdisciplinary nature of many of Koussevitzky’s collaborations are explored in the Tanglewood Learning Institute humanities presentation “The Legacy of Serge Koussevitzky” at the Linde Center for Music and Learning with select panelists. Koussevitzky’s innovative spirit also looms large over this summer’s Festival of Contemporary Music (FCM), July 25–29, which in its 60th anniversary year is under the direction of 2022 Kennedy Center Honoree Tania León and GRAMMY-nominated composer Steven Mackey. Along with works by León and Mackey and prominent composers such as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Valerie Coleman, the festival will showcase several rising stars in the world of composition: Leila Adu-Gilmore, Marcos Balter, Lembit Beecher, Tyondai Braxton, Arthur Kampela, Dai Wei, Du Yun, Salina Fisher, Vijay Iyer, Nathalie Joachim, Miya Masaoka, Angélica Negrón, Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Nick DiBerardino, Ileana Perez Velazquez, T.J. Anderson, and Trevor Weston. The Festival of Contemporary Music programs will feature the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center and guest artists, including pianist Orli Shaham.
Other BSO and TMCO Programs Led by Andris Nelsons
In addition to the two Opening Weekend concerts and the three Koussevitzky 150 programs described above, Andris Nelsons will lead four other BSO programs in July. In one of several collaborations this summer with other performing arts institutions, the BSO partners with Boston Ballet for a July 12 concert that pairs Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Stravinsky’s neoclassical ballet Apollon Musagète. Accompanying the BSO on the Shed stage for the Stravinsky are members of Boston Ballet, led by artistic director Mikko Nissinen, who will dance the original choreography created by the 24-year-old George Balanchine for the 1928 premiere. Later that same weekend, on July 13, piano sensation Yuja Wang joins the BSO (concerto to be announced later), followed on July 14 by violinist Augustin Hadelich in Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, complementing a program of music by contemporary American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider and Dvořák.
In another major festival moment, and reaffirming Mr. Nelsons’ commitment to an opera presentation each season at the Shed, is a concert performance of Act III of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung on July 20. Soprano Christine Goerke headlines an all-star cast as Brünnhilde with Swedish tenor Michael Weinius as Siegfried (in his BSO debut), soprano Amanda Majeski as Gutrune, baritone James Rutherford as Gunther, and bass Morris Robinson as Hagen.
Nelsons will also conduct two Shed concerts with the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellows and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. The first will include Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 on July 8, and the second will feature Emanuel Ax performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 along with works by Ives and Strauss on July 21.
Acclaimed Guest Conductors and Artists
This season offers a parade of returning guest conductors and favorite guest artists with the BSO in the Shed, beginning with Dima Slobodeniouk and pianist Conrad Tao performing Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety (July 19), on the same program with Brahms’ Third Symphony. Alan Gilbert conducts two BSO concerts: first, accompanying pianist Kirill Gerstein, violinist Joshua Bell, and cellist Steven Isserlis on an all-Beethoven program (August 4), and next leading Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with Gerstein performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (August 9).
Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska makes her BSO and Tanglewood debuts with two works by Sibelius and Leila Josefowicz performing Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in her Tanglewood debut (August 10). BSO-debuting conductor James Gaffigan is paired with young Cuban American soprano Elena Villalón who also makes her BSO and Tanglewood debuts in selections from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Idomeneo, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (August 11). BSO Assistant Conductor Samy Rachid makes his BSO and Tanglewood debuts leading Midori in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 on a program that includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Svetlanov’s Dawn in the Field (August 16). BSO Assistant Conductor Earl Lee conducts Yo-Yo Ma in Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (August 18). Up-and-coming American conductor Ryan Bancroft makes his BSO debut along with Bruce Liu in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, followed by Elgar’s Enigma Variations (August 23).
Karina Canellakis accompanies violinist Leonidas Kavakos in Chausson’s Poème on a program that features the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Ravel (August 24). Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu debuts at Tanglewood leading the orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the annual season-closing performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (August 25).
Another season highlight is Los Angeles Philharmonic Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel in his first appearance at Tanglewood since 2006 conducting the National Children’s Symphony of Venezuela for its Tanglewood debut in the Shed (August 8), performing music by John Adams, Estévez, Ginastera, and Shostakovich.
The Boston Pops
In his 29th summer at Tanglewood, Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in an Opening Weekend performance (July 6) of Broadway Today!: Broadway’s Modern Masters, showcasing groundbreaking songs from such recent Tony-winning musicals as Hamilton, In the Heights, The Light in the Piazza, Kimberly Akimbo, The Band’s Visit, Hadestown, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Dear Evan Hansen, and featuring current Broadway stars, including Victoria Clark, Micaela Diamond, Mandy Gonzalez, and Joshua Henry. By popular demand, there will be two presentations of John Williams’ Film Night, with conductors John Williams and Ken-David Masur (August 2 and 3). Lockhart and the Pops return on August 17 for Jurassic Park In Concert, performing Williams’ iconic score live to a screening of the film, abounding with visually stunning imagery and groundbreaking special effects projected in high definition.
Ozawa Hall Recitals
World-renowned soloists and ensembles perform unique programs in the intimacy of Seiji Ozawa Hall. These include recitals by guitarist Miloš (July 10); pianist Yuja Wang (July 17); the Gerald Clayton Trio (July 21); the Boston Symphony Chamber Players with pianist Paul Lewis (July 24); the trio of pianist Kirill Gerstein, violinist Joshua Bell, and cellist Steven Isserlis (July 31); the Danish String Quartet with cellist Johannes Rostamo in his Tanglewood debut (August 1); two performances by The Knights with pianist Emanuel Ax and conductor Eric Jacobs in select Mozart piano concertos (August 14-15); and a duo recital by violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Daniil Trifonov (August 21). In addition, Les Arts Florissants and director William Christie present a semi-staged version of Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen (July 18).
Popular Artist Series
The Popular Artist Series kicks off in the Shed with R&B/soul hitmakers and two-time GRAMMY-winners Kool & the Gang and En Vogue on June 23, followed by the previously-announced performances of James Taylor and his All-Star Band on July 3 and 4. Six-time GRAMMY-winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Taylor is marking his 50th season at the festival. Later in the season the series brings Pretenders (July 16), a triple bill with GRAMMY winners Judy Collins, Rufus Wainwright, and Indigo Girls (August 30), and a joint concert featuring DISPATCH and the Boston Pops Orchestra (August 31). Other dates in the Popular Artist Series will be added and announced separately in the coming weeks.
Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) Programs
Tanglewood Music Center fellows perform eight concerts as the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and a variety of recitals and chamber concerts, as well as two presentations of the ever-popular Silent Film in collaboration with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (both on August 18). TMC collaborations with the Tanglewood Learning Institute(TLI) include a new series called The Art of Conducting featuring programs with Andris Nelsons and Hilary Hahn (July 6), Dima Slobodeniouk (July 11), Nelsons with TMC vocalists (July 15), Thomas Wilkins (July 22), and Alan Gilbert (August 2). Also in partnership with the TLI are TLI Open Workshops with guest artists and BSO musicians mentoring TMC fellows. Leading these public workshops are mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (July 10), director William Christie of Les Arts Florissants (July 17), pianist Emanuel Ax (July 18), BSO Principal Trombone Toby Oft (July 31), pianist Kirill Gerstein (August 7), pianist Jeremy Denk (August 8), and BSO Principal Flute Elizabeth Rowe (August 14), among others.
Humanities Programs at the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI)
Showcasing Tanglewood’s prominence as a music and learning campus, the Tanglewood Learning Institute’s expanded schedule of humanities programs at the Linde Center for Music and Learning includes TLI Presents programs exploring “George Balanchine—Stravinsky’s American Muse” (July 12), “The Legacy of Serge Koussevitzky” (July 26), “Black Voices in Cabaret – Josephine Baker” (August 3), “Cabaret Music in 1920s Berlin” with Kirill Gerstein and guests (August 4), and American Music with experimental composer and scholar George Lewis (August 9) and violinist Johnny Gandelsman (August 9 and 11). Former BSO violist and Terezin Music Foundation founding director Mark Ludwig returns with a two-part program on August 16 and 17 entitled “Trauma, Memory & Transcendence in Music” highlighting music of Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann. Artists making their TLI recital debuts this summer include pianist Jeremy Denk, Palaver Strings joined by audience favorite tenor Nicholas Phan in the program “A Change is Gonna Come” (August 10), and Colombian jazz harpist Edmar Castañeda with his eponymous quartet (August 25). Back by popular demand, the 2024 TLI season will include seven weekly Talks and Walks interviews with the BSO’s VP of Artistic Planning Anthony Fogg joined by special guests drawn from that week’s BSO programs (Thursdays, July 11 to August 22).
Tanglewood Offers Events for Families with Children
Family-friendly fare includes BSO Youth and Family Concerts Conductor Thomas Wilkins leading the annual Family Concert (July 21); Tanglewood on Parade (August 6), a full day of music and activities culminating with a BSO concert led by John Williams, Keith Lockhart, and former BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina, and capped with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and a fireworks display. New this year is a TLI for Families series hosted by Rebecca Sheir in collaboration with the young musicians from Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) (July 14), the Norman Rockwell Museum (August 4), and Sheir’s children’s storytelling podcast Circle Round (August 18). Up-and-coming musicians aged 14 through 20 studying at BUTI will perform six concerts in Ozawa Hall as the Young Artists Orchestra, Young Artists Wind Ensemble, and Young Artists Chorus (July 20, 21, August 3, 4, 10, and 17). Tanglewood welcomes families with children, and lawn tickets to most BSO, Pops, and TMC/TLI concerts are free for children under 18. Student discounts also are available.
Quote from Chad Smith,
Eunice and Julian Cohen BSO President and Chief Executive Officer:
“This summer, we celebrate Serge Koussevitzky’s vision and legacy with programming that showcases Tanglewood’s strengths as a center of music and learning. For the past 84 years, Tanglewood Music Center has provided a unique opportunity for early-career artists, contemporary composers, and industry legends to learn from and teach one another, passing their wisdom from generation to generation while delighting and educating our audiences in the Berkshires. As a former TMC Fellow, I couldn’t be happier to contribute to that history by welcoming our Music Director Andris Nelsons as Head of Conducting, introducing composers Tania León and Steven Mackey as curators of the Festival of Contemporary Music, and taking the first steps to bridge music and culture with our new Humanities Institute.”
Quote from Andris Nelsons,
Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director and Head of Conducting at Tanglewood: “This summer at Tanglewood, we very much look forward to celebrating legendary conductor Serge Koussevitzky with special events marking his 150th birthday year, the centennial of his first year leading the BSO, and his tremendous legacy of commissioning many influential and beloved works for orchestra. He was a visionary and exemplary Music Director and role model through his dedication to combining music-making and education, inspiring both audiences and musicians. I am very excited to welcome our guest artists whose appearances move us so deeply year after year, as well as our Tanglewood Music Center fellows and faculty. It’s an honor to take on this larger role with the Tanglewood Music Center, created by Koussevitzky 84 years ago. We are the successors to this incredible musical tradition, motivating me, the BSO players and visiting musicians to put all our energy into every performance. I hope that today’s announcement will excite music fans everywhere as we look forward to a Tanglewood season full of moving performances and inspiring teaching and learning, surrounded by the beautiful Berkshire hills!”