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Tanglewood Serves Up Virtual Menu
By Stephen Dankner, Guest Columist
09:54AM / Tuesday, July 21, 2020
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The grounds of Tanglewood are quiet this summer because of COVID-19, but the BSO has scheduled a season of virtual offerings for classical music lovers everywhere.

As the coronavirus has necessitated the cancellation of virtually all publicly presented classical music concerts in venues large and small, music lovers in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont have been made bereft of all live music performances. We have had, though, other options: streaming via the Web, YouTube and Facebook videos are legion, and, for opera lovers, Metropolitan Opera hi-def recordings on several regional PBS TV channels have continued past the traditional end-of-season May broadcasts.

Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony’s Berkshire summer festival in Lenox, was forced to cancel its full season but has found a novel way to surmount this misfortune via streaming a wide range of musical offerings to the public. Many are free, while some are pay-only – these include a remarkably varied range of recitals, "shop talks," a "Great Performers" series, Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) chamber concerts, TMC orchestra performances, Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) lectures and much else. Tanglewood's archive of historically significant filmed concerts combined with newly recorded performances make for a richly diverse cornucopia of musical treasures. 

The bottom line: If you can't be in the Shed, Ozawa Hall or on the lawn, you can still experience some of the world’s greatest music - and it's all at your fingertips, with no driving or parking issues with which to contend. Turn on your computer or iPad, plug in your headphones and settle back in your easy chair; the glories of Tanglewood will emerge before you – all through the magic of digital audio and video streaming.

The Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival is a groundbreaking digital series of audio and video streams featuring newly created content recorded at Tanglewood's Linde Center alongside previously recorded material from Tanglewood being released for the first time. The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Tanglewood digital festival—designed to capture the beauty and spirit of the Tanglewood grounds—will feature artists and programs of the originally announced 2020 Tanglewood season, among other content.

Tanglewood highlights

• BSO musicians and favorite guest artists to be featured in newly created video streams, inspired by originally-announced 2020 Shed and Ozawa Hall programming, to be pre-recorded in the Linde Center for Learning and music and great concert venues around the world.

• Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood: 2020 Tanglewood guest artists, including pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk, violinist Augustin Hadelich and pianist Orion Weiss, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Conrad Tao, pianist Daniil Trifonov, and violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth, featured in video stream performances, available on Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Aug. 21.

• BSO Musicians in Recital from Tanglewood: Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians featured in video stream performances, available on Fridays at 8 p.m. through Aug. 21.

• Recitals from the World Stage: 2020 Ozawa Hall guest artists, including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Danish String Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, duo-pianists Lucas and Arthur Jussen, pianist Paul Lewis and pianist Garrick Ohlsson, as well as string quartet Brooklyn Rider, in video stream performances, available on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. through Aug. 19.

• Access information: These three newly created online offerings are available for a minimum fee online; they will remain available for viewing/listening one week following the initial online presentation

Here is this week's schedule of events, from Wednesday, July 22, to Tuesday, July 28:

• Wednesday, July 22, 1 p.m.: Internationally recognized soloist, chamber artist, and teacher Astrid Schween is cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet and a TMC faculty member. As a longtime member of the Lark Quartet, Astrid performed at major venues around the world and received many honors including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. During her tenure, the quartet produced critically acclaimed recordings for the Arabesque, Decca/Argo, New World, CRI, and Point labels, and commissioned numerous works. TMC Associate Director Michael Nock is host. Video available July 22 at 1 p.m. through July 29. TLI Masterpass, $5 for video stream, $32 for series

• Wednesday, July 22, 8 p.m., Recitals from the World Stage: The Brooklyn Rider string quartet from Studio E, Linde Center for Music and Learning.  Caroline SHAW: “Schisma,” ROBERTS: “Borderland,” BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132, movement III. Molto Adagio–Andante.  Philip GLASS: String Quartet No. 3, “Mishima.” $8 for single event, $42 for series.

• Thursday, July 23, 1 p.m., TLI. ShopTalks: Nicole Cabell, soprano, and Nicholas Phan, tenor. Thursday-afternoon ShopTalks feature candid, informal discussions on life, music, and the future of the field with conductors, composers, soloists, and unsung heroes. For this week, host and Tanglewood Learning Institute Director Sue Elliott interviews two distinguished vocal artists—soprano Nicole Cabell (who is also hosting this summer’s Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood series) and tenor Nicholas Phan—about their careers, struggles, and successes, and their visions for the artform. Video available July 23 at 1 p.m. through July 30. $5 for single video stream, $32 for series.

• Thursday, July 23, 8 p.m., Tanglewood Virtual Gala, Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Isaac Stern’s birth: Ara Guzelimian, host.; Vadim Gluzman, violin; Midori, violin; Nancy Zhou, violin; Isaac Stern archival footage to be shown throughout evening. Anthony Fogg and Nina Jung-Gasparini, moderator. The program will include tributes to and reminiscences of Isaac Stern. Free but donations will be accepted.

• Friday, July 24, 8 p.m., BSO Musicians in Recital from Tanglewood Series, hosted by Lauren Ambrose: In addition to working together in their usual large-ensemble setting, the BSO’s individual musicians frequently perform as soloists or together in chamber music, a pursuit requiring a different, more intimate mode of musical collaboration. The violin—whose presence by sheer force of numbers dominates the orchestral stage—is the focus of this chamber music program by BSO musicians. Victor Romanul plays several solo selections, including one of the single most challenging pieces in the repertoire, the Chaconne from Bach’s D minor partita. Tatiana Dimitriades performs two works for violin and piano: Mendelssohn’s early Sonata in F and important American composer William Grant Still’s beautiful lullaby "Mother and Child" from his 1943 Suite for violin and piano. Both Still’s work and Florence Price’s String Quartet (performed by Catherine French, Xin Ding, Daniel Getz, and Mickey Katz) were influenced by their composers’ African American heritage. Completing this wide-ranging program is Antonín Dvořák’s “Terzetto” for two violins and viola, which is infused with elements of Czech folk music. $5 for single video stream, $28 for series

• Saturday, July 25, 8 p.m., Great Performers in Recital from Tanglewood Series, hosted by Nicole Cabell: Italian-born Austrian violinist Augustin Hadelich and American pianist Orion Weiss, who began touring together as a duo in 2019, perform Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G minor, Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 100, and John Adams’s “Road Movies.” $12 for single video stream, $80 for series.

• Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m., Tanglewood Music Center chamber concerts (audio only): TMC Fellows perform BEACH: Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, Op. 67; STRAVINSKY: Sonata for Two Pianos; Sarah GIBSON: “I prefer living in color; VILLA-LOBOS: “O Boizinho de chumbo” from “A prole do bebe,” Book II; and Alan SMITH: “To the Muse.” BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 97, (“Archduke”). Free.

• Monday, July 27, 8 p.m. Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra encore performances: Andris Nelsons and Stefan Asbury, conductors, with Yo-Yo Ma, cello, and Jessica Zhou, harp, performing BERNSTEIN: “Three Meditations from Mass; John WILLIAMS: “Highwood’s Ghost”; and COPLAND: Symphony No. 3. Free.

• Tuesday, July 28. 1 p.m., TLI Celebrates Beethoven: "Beethoven and the Musical Workshop of Prince Lobkowicz.” Presenter: Kathryn L. Libin, Vassar College. $5 single event, $20 series.

•  Tuesday, July 28, 5 p.m.: Tanglewood Family Concert with W.B.U.R.’s “Circle Round,” Thomas Wilkins, conductor. BSO soloists with Rebecca Sheir and Eric Shimelonis, narrators. Free.

For more information and for prices and access to all video or audio streaming concerts, lectures and special events, go online or call 888-266-1200.

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