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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Home, Tanglewood, Turns 75

Here & Now‘s Robin Young — with microphone in hand — attended Tanglewood’s 75th Anniversary Gala concert earlier this month.  The concert airs this Friday night in full on PBS.

Tanglewood, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Tappan family gave the family’s summer estate – Tanglewood — to Serge Koussivisky and the BSO in 1936. Two years later, a huge performance shed was built for the orchestra, and Tanglewood became a performance space and a school for young musicians.

During her visit, Robin met up with cellist Yo Yo Ma, who first came to Tanglewood as a 27-year-old, beginning a life-long love affair with the Berkshires.

Ma told Robin, “In many ways you have the history of America being right here with you [in the Berkshires].” He points to Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edith Wharton.

Then there’s the music that was made there and the musicians who made it. Leonard Bernstein was in the first class of students and Aaron Copeland was on the first faculty.

Over the years, actors have stopped by Tanglewood, too. The late actor, comedian and singer Danny Kaye, performed there — as a conductor! And history was made when Leonard Bernstein conducted his final concert at Tanglewood on Aug. 19, 1990.


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  • Emwriter

    I spent three glorious summers as a Fellowship student studying and performing with so many ‘greats’ – including Bernstein, whose last concert I witnessed. What a wonderful place, and such an important part of my development as a young musician destined to become a professional.

  • Caroline

    Can’t believe you only
    heard from two people…guess most people are busier than I am. This story gave
    me hope for the continuation of orchestras throughout America.  Thanks to Tanglewood, many young people are
    being taught by marvelously accomplished musicians; many of whom passed through
    the gates of Tanglewood in their youth.

    With this level of
    commitment, the music will never fade away.

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