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One of the most anticipated events of Tanglewood's 2019 music season - the official opening weekend of the Linde Center for Music and Learning and Tanglewood Learning Institute programs - will take place June 28 through July 1. (Photo by Robert Benson/BSO)

Tanglewood's Learning Institute Opens This Week

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The summer concert season has arrived, and how fortunate are we music lovers to be living right here, in the Berkshires or Southern Vermont, at what can only be described as "music and cultural central." It's clear that this will be an especially exciting and brilliant festival season.

Here are my recommended picks of the week for the upcoming concerts and related events to be experienced in venues at three of our most noteworthy regional music festivals.


One of the most anticipated events of Tanglewood's 2019 music season - the official opening weekend of the Linde Center for Music and Learning and Tanglewood Learning Institute programs - will take place June 28 through July 1, beginning with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 28, at 9 a.m. — open to the public — followed by open houses and a festive range of special events and musical performances throughout this weekend. This stunning, serpentine, state-of-the-art four-building complex is scenically situated along the top of the Highwood ridge, overlooking the Ozawa Hall lawn and the distant views of the southern Berkshire Hills.

The free TLI open house tours and activities will occur on Saturday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday, June 30, from 1 to 5 p.m., and Monday, July 1, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Linde Center for Music and Learning. These open house tours will feature a variety of activities that will give audiences a preview of the breadth and depth of the events to be offered by the Tanglewood Learning Institute this summer and into the coming fall, winter, and spring seasons. These include five Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) string quartets presenting a workshop recital and commentary led by Miró String Quartet violinist and Boston University Professor Peter Zazofsky; a music and movement class with Lauren Grant of the Mark Morris Dance Group open to everyone; and Tanglewood Music Center coaching sessions led by Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) faculty and members of the BSO. On Sunday, June 30, WBUR-Boston University Public Radio brings its popular storytelling podcast "Circle Round" to the Linde Center for a live performance featuring BSO musicians and notable actors Amanda Seyfried, Thomas Sadoski, Campbell Scott and Jane Kaczmarek.

The open house tours will also feature other family-friendly activities throughout the day, including an "Instrument Playground" and percussion demonstration for children. On Monday, July 1, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Cindy's Café on the Linde Center campus, this TLI Open House takes the form of a Bach Cantata coffee house, where adult participants will hear performances by conductors John Harbison and Ken-David Masur in concert with TMC vocal and instrumental Fellows.

The opening weekend festivities coincide with the first scheduled programs offered by the Tanglewood Learning Institute — the String Quartet MasterPass (to June 30) with the Juilliard String Quartet and string Fellows and mentors of the Tanglewood Music Center (in Ozawa Hall), and Cinematics (June 30). Cinematics is a weekly Sunday-evening film series, to take place in the Linde Center.

Designed with the express purpose of connecting Tanglewood Learning Institute participants with musicians, artists, students, academics, and cultural leaders through wide-ranging activities, TLI offers participants the String Quartet MasterPass, an opportunity to partake in eight days of concerts, master classes, talks — even dinner — with current and former members of the Juilliard String Quartet and TMC faculty and Fellows. On Sunday, June 30, TLI opens its Cinematics series with a screening of "Tous les matins du monde" (1991), a stunningly beautiful film that explores the life of Bach's French contemporary, the viol player/teacher and composer Marin Marais. In collaboration with the Berkshire International Film Festival, Cinematics films will occur throughout July and August each Sunday at 7 p.m. in Studio E of the Linde Center for Music and Learning.

The Learning Institute will also present four "deep-immersion" weekends throughout the summer: "O'Keeffe Weekend" (July 19-21); "Wagner Weekend" (July 26-28); "Festival of Contemporary Music (FCM) Weekend" (also July 26-28) and "Film Weekend" (Aug. 23-25).

Upcoming BSO performances include “Opening Night at Tanglewood” on Friday, July 5, with Boston Symphony Maestro Andris Nelsons leading the Orchestra in a program of Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 22, featuring soloist Emanuel Ax) and Mahler (Symphony No. 5). Look for weekly Classical Beat Tanglewood previews of Shed and Ozawa Hall programs, and also other presenters’ concerts beginning Wednesday, July 3, and throughout July and August.

For tickets to all Tanglewood events, call 888-266-1200, or go online.

Taconic Music Festival

Based in Manchester, Vt., and now in its third season, this exciting and youthful music festival presents a stellar lineup of brilliant performances of classical masterworks and related events until mid-July. The Taconic Music Festival is in full swing, with a masterclass, a Vermont Public Radio-live performance, a Green Mountain Academy pre-concert talk, a NextGen concert by students from TM’s Chamber Music Intensive and a Festival concert featuring the Indianapolis String Quartet and pianist Davide Cabassi.

• Wednesday, June 26, 3-5 p.m., 575 Prospect Street, Manchester, Vt.: Violinist Deborah Buck, former first violinist of the Lark String Quartet and co-director of Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vt., will direct a masterclass with two student string quartets from Taconic Music’s Chamber Music Intensive (CMI).

• Thursday, June 27: Vermont Public Radio, live at 11  a.m. with host Walter Parker, will feature interviews and a live performance with the Indianapolis String Quartet, violist Ariel Rudiakov and cellist Thomas Landschoot.

• Thursday, June 27, 2 p.m. at the Manchester Community Library: The same musicians will join composer Erik Nielsen in a pre-concert talk, performing excerpts from works of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

• Saturday, June 29, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Open dress rehearsal at the Riley Center for the Arts, at the Burr and Burton Academy. Faculty and guest artists prepare for their Sunday concert.

• Saturday, June 29, 4 p.m. at the Riley Center at the Burr and Burton Academy: Taconic’s first NextGen concert will feature students performing string quartets by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich, and concluding with César Franck’s magisterial Piano Quintet in F Minor.

• Sunday, July 30, Festival Concert II, 4 p.m. at the Riley Center at the Burr and Burton Academy: Featured artists include Italian pianist and Van Cliburn Competition prizewinner Davide Cabassi, Ariel Rudiakov, viola, Tom Landschoot, cello and the Indianapolis Quartet (Zachary DePue and Joana Genova, violins; Michael Isaac Strauss, viola; Austin Huntington, cello) performing Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18 no. 4 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, "Pathétique." Following intermission, the Quartet, joined by Messrs. Rudiakov and Landschoot will perform Tchaikovsky's exhilarating String Sextet in D Minor, "Souvenir de Florence."

Admission to masterclasses and open dress rehearsals is $10 at the door. Suggested donation for NextGen Concerts is $10; students and kids free. Admission to Festival concerts is $20 in advance or $25 at the door for adults, $10 for students and kids. For more information on concerts, tickets, and Taconic Music's year-round programs, visit the website.

Marlboro Music

Just an hour northeast from North Adams is Marlboro Music, this year celebrating its 68th season. Located just west of Brattleboro, Vt., Marlboro is a necessary stop along the "via musica" for classical music pilgrims. Located on the campus of tiny Marlboro College, the Music Festival and School offers weekend programs from mid-July to mid-August. Students are young professional concert artists, symphony orchestra members, chamber music artists, and exceptionally gifted conservatory or university students, and are taught by internationally renowned chamber musicians. Programs are announced a day or two before each concert, but this is incidental to Marlboro aficionados; they come to revel in the music, whatever repertoire is offered - it's that good.

Weekend concerts run for five weeks, from July 13-Aug. 11. Tickets are $5 to $40, depending on seating location. All programs and open rehearsals take place at Persons Auditorium on the campus of Marlboro College. Marlboro Music is located in Marlboro, Vt., off Route 9. For tickets and information, go online or call 215-569-4690.

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Great Music and More at Tanglewood, Sevenars, Berkshire High Peaks Festival

By Stephen DanknerGuest Column

As Tanglewood enters its third week, stellar performances will take center stage in Ozawa Hall and in the Koussevitsky Shed. Why go? To experience world-class instrumental soloists, the Boston Symphony and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra perform chamber and orchestral masterworks by iconic masters Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Debussy, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Wagner and Tchaikovsky.

Add to the above an inspiring world premiere featuring Metropolitan Opera diva Reneé Fleming, baritone Rod Gilfry, and the Boston Symphony, led by maestro Andris Nelsons in composer Kevin Puts' orchestral song cycle "The Brightness of Light." The powerful and deeply moving "Enigma" Variations of Edward Elgar will precede this extraordinary performance.

And, if the offerings at Tanglewood aren't enough to pique your musical interest, there are also outstanding performances to be enjoyed at the Sevenars Music Festival in South Worthington, Mass., and at the Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival, presented by Close Encounters With Music in Great Barrington, Mass., in a series of concerts from July 23 through Aug. 2. All three venues present great music performed in acoustically resonant settings by marvelous performers. Read below for all the details.


On Friday, July 19, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will present its first-ever free community event on the Pittsfield Common. "Tanglewood in the City: Pittsfield" is a live video transmission of the BSO's concert at Tanglewood that will bring Tanglewood into the Pittsfield community and share one of the festival's major performances with a wider group of Berkshire residents. The performance, which will be transmitted onto a 15-foot by 27-foot screen on the Pittsfield Common, will begin with welcoming comments from a BSO musician and feature BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leading the orchestra in music of Betsy Jolas, Debussy and Ravel, as well as Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with soloist Gautier Capuçon.

The Pittsfield event is inspired by the popular Boston edition of "Tanglewood in the City." Now in its fourth year, this year's "Tanglewood in the City: Boston" event takes place on the Boston Common, also on Friday, July 19.

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