Nestled in the scenic embrace of Lenox, Massachusetts, Tanglewood is a globally revered outdoor performing arts venue. Established by Serge Koussevitzky, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in 1937, it has become an annual destination for music enthusiasts, artists, and performers. Boasting an impressive history of hosting a diverse range of concerts, dance performances, and theater productions throughout the warm summer months, it is especially renowned as the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The name ‘Tanglewood’ was inspired by the surrounding Berkshire Hills, reflecting its deep connection with nature.
In addition to holding concerts from the top musicians in pop, jazz and classical, Tanglewood provides training for young musicians at the Tanglewood Music Center, a summer school for 300 students, established by conductor Serge Koussevitzky in 1940.
Tanglewood’s history as a music venue began when Henry Kimball Hadley, composer and conductor began his search for a site and the support to make real his aim of establishing a seasonal classical music festival. Teaming up with Gertrude Robinson Smith, they organized a series of concerts featuring the New York Philharmonic Orchestra over 3 days in1934 at the Interlaken estate of Daniel Hanna, roughly a mile from the current festival site. After two seasons of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was invited to perform at the 1936 festival, and have remained a huge feature of it ever since. The festival moved to its current location in 1937.
Tanglewood’s roots trace back to 1937, when Serge Koussevitzky, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, founded it. Initially referred to as the Berkshire Music Center, it was conceived as a summer retreat for budding musicians to hone their skills. The venue’s first concert, held on July 3, 1937, featured the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Over the years, Tanglewood has opened its stage to countless acclaimed musicians, including Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, and Aretha Franklin. It has also been the launchpad for several noteworthy premieres, including the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”.
What makes Tanglewood special
The stunning location, world-class acoustics, and intimate ambiance give Tanglewood a special charm. The natural beauty of Tanglewood’s location is a spectacle in itself. It is tucked away in the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts near the border with New York state. Tanglewood’s sound system is thought to be one of the best in the world. Audiences are assured of a unique and immersive auditory experience. The venue’s intimate setup further enhances the auditory experience and brings audiences closer to the magic of the performances. Tanglewood also hosts a variety of educational programs that include some programs on classical music if you want to further explore the topic.
Tanglewood’s top-notch sound system is a testament to the art of acoustic engineering. The system was designed to deliver precise and balanced sound while at the same time capturing and amplifying subtle differences. This sensitivity ensures that every note resonates perfectly and creates unmatched sound quality that makes for a unique experience.
Tanglewood is owned and operated by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), a non-profit organization promoting classical music. The venue plays a pivotal role in fulfilling the BSO’s mission of promoting and celebrating music.