Tanglewood Learning Institute Announces 2024 Spotlight Series

By: May. 09, 2024
Tanglewood Learning Institute Announces 2024 Spotlight Series
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Tanglewood has announced additional programs and updates to its 2024 season (June 20–August 31), which celebrate the legacy of Seiji Ozawa and reflect the BSO's commitment as a service organization to advancing the humanities and enriching the lives of Berkshire residents: 

  • A Tanglewood on Parade concert dedicated to Seiji Ozawa (August 6), featuring conductors Alan Gilbert, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Anna Rakitina, soprano Christine Goerke, and the Marcus Roberts Trio 

  • The 2024 Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) Spotlight Series with poet and librettist Tracy K. Smith (July 20), literary scholar and cultural critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. (August 10), and technology writer David Pogue (August 17) 

  • Program details for the Shed performances of soprano Renée Fleming (July 17) and pianist Yuja Wang (July 13), as well as TMC performances, Prelude Concerts, and the Popular Artist Series 

  • Free community programs designed for Berkshire residents: Tanglewood in the City (July 6), Berkshire Day (July 28), and a Days in the Arts camp for middle school students (June 24–28 and July 8–12) 

For the full initial season announcement, issued February 1, 2024, please visit our website

Statement from Chad Smith, BSO President and CEO:

"The 2024 Tanglewood season offers so much to look forward to, and these additions to the schedule make it one of our best summers ever. When we lost Seiji Ozawa last February, we immediately started planning a tribute, and we all agreed that Tanglewood would be the most fitting place to hold it. Seiji began his decades-long relationship with the BSO in 1960 as a student at the Tanglewood Music Center, and he especially loved being at Tanglewood during the 29 summers that he was our music director. He particularly loved Tanglewood on Parade, and this year we are organizing it in Seiji's memory. I am also very excited about the three eminent speakers who will join us for this year's Spotlight Series; each one is a thought leader who will help us better understand ourselves, each other, and our world, and how music connects us all."

Statement from Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops Conductor

“It was my great pleasure to call Seiji my mentor, colleague, and friend. I am honored to celebrate his extraordinary musical legacy and irrepressible spirit, in a place he loved so much.”  

Tanglewood on Parade: Celebrating Seiji!

This year's Tanglewood on Parade, a much-anticipated tradition that dates to 1940, will celebrate the life and legacy of the BSO's beloved Music Director Laureate, Seiji Ozawa, who died last February at the age of 88. A musical genius and thoughtful humanitarian, Ozawa was the BSO's longest-serving conductor, holding the title of Music Director for 29 years (1973–2002). At Tanglewood, he conducted hundreds of concerts, mentored generations of Tanglewood Music Center fellows, and inaugurated Seiji Ozawa Hall in 1994.  

The tribute concert, which takes place in the Koussevitzky Music Shed on Tuesday, August 6 at 8 p.m., will feature a star-studded lineup of performers, many of whom made music with Ozawa over the years: Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams, Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, guest conductor Alan Gilbert, former BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina, soprano Christine Goerke, and the Marcus Roberts Trio. The eclectic program, reflecting Ozawa's far-reaching musical impact, begins with John Williams conducting For Seiji!, which he composed in 1999 in honor of Ozawa's 25th anniversary as Music Director of the BSO. The program continues with several of Ozawa's signature pieces (including Hector Berlioz's “Hungarian March” from The Damnation of Faust) as well as performances by some of his favorite musical collaborators: Christine Goerke (songs by Richard Strauss) and the Marcus Roberts Trio (Rhapsody in Blue). Interspersed with guest speakers and video tributes to Ozawa, the program will conclude with the customary 1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which Ozawa conducted a total of 16 times throughout his years at Tanglewood, followed by a fireworks display over the lawn. 

The evening's tribute concert is preceded by a full afternoon of performances and activities, kicking off with a brass fanfare by musicians from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute at 2 p.m. Lawn tickets are free for children ages 17 and under, and families are invited to partake in lawn games, a scavenger hunt, kids yoga with Kripalu, face painting, magic shows, an instrument playground, and hot air balloon rides (weather permitting). For complete details of the daytime activities and the evening tribute performance, visit our website. For archival photos and a history of Tanglewood on Parade, click here

TLI Spotlight Series

The Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) Spotlight Series features some of the world's greatest thinkers and luminaries in the humanities, who dive into the big ideas of our time through dynamic presentations that investigate a diverse array of subjects and perspectives. Each talk illuminates the enduring vitality of music and uniquely contextualizes the themes of our concert repertoire.   

This year's Spotlight Series begins with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, memoirist, editor, translator, and librettist Tracy K. Smith (July 20), who served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States and is a Professor of English and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her libretto for the opera The Righteous—a co-creation with frequent collaborator and composer Gregory Spears— receives its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera on July 13. Smith will speak about connections between literature, poetry, libretti and music, a subject complementing a weekend of Shed programming rich in programmatic music and opera: Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety (Friday, July 19), based on W.H. Auden's eponymous poem, Act III of Richard Wagner's opera Götterdämmerung (Saturday, July 20), and Richard Strauss' tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra (Sunday, July 21), inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical novel.   

Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder Henry Louis Gates Jr. (August 10) is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard. Professor Gates has published numerous books and produced and hosted an array of documentary films, including the popular PBS series Finding Your Roots and Gospel. His latest book, The Black Box: Writing the Race, was published in March 2024. Professor Gates will share insights from Finding Your Roots, his influential series about genealogy, genetics, and history's impact on our lives today, which has helped to expand America's sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom, and compassion.  

The series concludes with a presentation by Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, NOVA host, and former New York Times columnist David Pogue (August 17). The go-to expert on disruptive tech and science in a fast-changing world, Pogue will speak on artificial intelligence and the future of music, bringing his expansive knowledge, engaging wit, and occasional song to this hot-button topic on a night when the Shed concert features Jurassic Park live in concert with the Boston Pops. Steven Spielberg's 1993 film features groundbreaking CGI (computer-generated imagery) effects, a technology that, in its infancy when the film was made, was as innovative and disruptive within the entertainment industry as AI is today.   

All Spotlight Series events take place at 5 p.m. in Seiji Ozawa Hall, and tickets are now available for purchase. Additional TLI programs include Open Workshops, The Art of Conducting (a new series this year), Talks and Walks with the BSO's Vice President of Artistic Planning Anthony Fogg (also new this year), three TLI for Families programs with host Rebecca Sheir, and TLI Presents, which offers world-class recitals and lectures in the intimate setting of Studio E.  

Program Updates

Program information is now available for distinguished soloists soprano Renée Fleming (soprano) and Yuja Wang (piano), who will headline Shed performances with Andris Nelsons and the BSO on July 7 and 13, respectively. Fleming will perform an all-Strauss program that will include “Die Zeit” and “Da geht er hin” from Der Rosenkavalier, "Ständchen" "Befreit," and "Gesang der Apollopriesterin," interspersed with several of the composer's iconic works for orchestra. Wang will play Ludwig van Beethoven's innovative Concerto No. 4, her first time performing the piece with the BSO, in a program that also includes Warmth from Other Suns, for string orchestra by BSO Composer Chair Carlos Simon, and two pieces by Duke Ellington, Three Black Kings and A Tone Parallel to Harlem, in honor of the 50th anniversary of his death (the BSO will perform an all-Ellington Anniversary Celebration at Symphony Hall in November). Wang will also give a solo recital in Ozawa Hall on July 17 with repertoire to be announced at a future date. 

Additional updates since the initial season announcement in February include program information for Tanglewood Music Center performances and Prelude Concerts, available on our website and pdf program listing. The Tanglewood Popular Artist Series has also announced several new performers: John Fogerty and George Thorogood (June 20), Roger Daltrey and KT Tunstall (June 22), Boyz II Men (June 27), Jon Batiste (June 28), Trey Anastasio with the Boston Pops (June 29), Brandi Carlile (June 30), and Jason Mraz with the Boston Pops (July 2), and Beck with the Boston Pops (July 23). Among the other popular artists performing this summer are newly inducted Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Kool & The Gang with En Vogue (June 23). James Taylor will perform on July 3 and 4, marking his 50th anniversary at Tanglewood. 

Community Events

Tanglewood and the BSO are pleased to announce the continuation of several free programs designed to provide Berkshire residents with greater access to Tanglewood's musical and educational offerings. 

The BSO's Tanglewood in the City program will take place on Saturday, July 6, as part of the new Common Ground Festival hosted by Mill Town Foundation and the City of Pittsfield on The Common in Pittsfield, MA. The free interdisciplinary festival will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will offer activities and performances by several Berkshires arts and culture groups including MASS MoCA, Kids 4 Harmony, Kripalu, Barrington Stage Company, Katunemo, and the Funky Dawgz Brass Band. The rain date is July 7 (2–8 p.m.)

On Sunday, July 28, Tanglewood hosts Berkshire Day, offering free Shed tickets to the 2:30 p.m. concert to residents and property owners of Berkshire County. Andris Nelsons conducts the BSO and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the afternoon's program, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of former BSO Music Director Serge Koussevitzky with several of his most enduring commissions: Aaron Copland's Piano Concerto (with esteemed soloist Paul Lewis), Randall Thompson's Alleluia, for unaccompanied chorus, and Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. Also on the program is James Lee III Freedom's Genuine Dawn, a BSO co-commission premiered at Symphony Hall last fall. Tickets may be picked up starting on July 22 at 12 p.m., and residents must show identification to establish Berkshire County residency or property ownership. 

Since 1968, the BSO has offered Days in the Arts (DARTS), a summer arts immersion program at Tanglewood for middle school students from both the Berkshires and Boston. This year's weeklong day program for students from the Berkshires will take place June 24–28 and July 8–12 and is free for all students accepted into the program. The DARTS program is offered in Boston the weeks of July 15–19 and July 22–26. For more information about the DARTS program, please contact the BSO's Education and External Engagement department at education@bso.org

How to Purchase Tickets 

Tanglewood.org is the official site for all Tanglewood tickets. Tickets also may be purchased by calling 888-266-1200 on Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 12:30–4:30 p.m. 

Tickets for all Tanglewood concerts and events may be purchased at the Symphony Hall Box Office during regular Box Office hours. The Tanglewood Box Office will open for the summer on June 8 at 12 p.m. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Popular Artist tickets are available for mobile delivery or for Box Office-Will Call pickup only. Mobile tickets will appear on the purchaser's device five days prior to the concert. Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Tanglewood Box Office starting five days prior to the concert. There is a limit of eight tickets purchased per person (four for Brandi Carlile). 

Accessibility Services

The BSO is committed to providing access to Tanglewood for everyone. For information about accessible seats, parking, programs, and other accommodations, call 617-638-9431, email access@bso.org, or visit our website.

About Tanglewood

Tanglewood, one of the country's premier summer music festivals and summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937, is in the Berkshire Hills of Lenox and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Tanglewood is also the home of the Tanglewood Music Center, the acclaimed summer music academy founded by Serge Koussevitzky in 1940. Launched in 2019 with the opening of the Linde Center for Music and Learning, the Tanglewood Learning Institute in collaboration with the newly announced Humanities Institute offer dynamic and leading-edge performances and events connecting audiences with musicians, artists, students, scholars, and cultural leaders through wide-ranging humanities-focused programs. Tanglewood also presents an annual Popular Artist Series in the Koussevitzky Music Shed (1938) and recital and chamber music concerts in Ozawa Hall (1997).   


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