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Josh Groban, the bearded, bespectacled balladeer, is appearing at Tanglewood in support of his new "Bridges" album.

Red, White, Blue Plus Grease Week for Pop Fans

By Grace LichtensteinGuest Column
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From Stockbridge to Boston, pop fans know what to expect as the mid-week Fourth of July celebration approaches: Sweet Baby James at Tanglewood — but first, there's a great Josh Groban show tonight.

Meanwhile at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington: more great folk music, while Jacob’s Pillow features live music accompaniment to a Merce Cunningham tribute. That, a new production of "Grease" and more.



Hope you have your tickets to James Taylor on Wednesday and Thursday as the Shed and the lawn are both sold out for the annual visit of James Taylor, beloved bard of the Berkshires. However, you can still hear great pop music tonight (Tuesday, July 2) at the Shed. Josh Groban, the bearded, bespectacled balladeer, is appearing in support of his new "Bridges" album.

John Williams' music will be featured Sunday afternoon July 7 at the first of three programs devoted to him. With the Boston Pops conducted by David Newman, the fabulous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter makes a rare pop guest appearance, playing special arrangements of Williams’s classics.

For more information, visit the website.


Barrington Stage

Jim Caruso's cast party should be a laugh-a-minute, with Bill Stritch at the piano, on Sunday, July 7, at Mr. Finn's Cabaret at 8 p.m. If you're not familiar with the cabaret, make tracks to the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden St., in Pittsfield.

The next evening, Monday July 8, at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield,Tony Award- winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown brings an unusual mix of material from his career, including shows like "Parade" and "The Bridges of Madison County," plus music from his new album "How We React and How We Recover." Showtime is 8 p.m.
For more information, go online.


The Stationery Factory

This new venue in Dalton is the site of a very special event Sunday, July 7: An evening with the David Bromberg Quintet. Those who remember Bromberg as a guitar and fiddle frontman and sideman in the 1960s and '70s may also fondly recall him as a protégé of the Rev. Gary Davis. He made his own recordings but also was a frequent sideman on albums from the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Dylan and Carly Simon. His show at the Stationery Factory focuses on “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues,” his latest album. What's more, he sings!

More info can be found online.



Who isn't hopelessly devoted to "Grease?" The beloved high school musical gets under way on Thursday, July 4, and runs through July 21, with both matinee and evening performances. This version includes all of the hits from the film as well as from the original stage show.

Starring at the The Chatham, N.Y., summer theater is Anthony DaSilva as Danny, and Emma Flynn as Sandy. The direction and choreography is handled by Sebastiani Romagnolo.

Find more info on the website.


Guthrie Center

Pop music is a multigenerational world these days. The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington was founded by Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie, in the Old Trinity Church in 1991. The group Roan Yellowthorn takes the stage Friday, July 5, and its front woman is Jackie McLean, the daughter of Don "American Pie" McLean.

The next evening, Saturday, July 6, brings two first-generation talents, Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur front and center. They deliver Roots with a capital R in a show rated T for timeless. Doors open at 6 p.m. and shows begin at 8 p.m for both concerts.

More information can be found online.



Let's not forget dance. The wonderful company Momix presents Moses Pendleton's evening length work "Opus Cactus" on Friday and Saturday, July 5 (8 p.m.) and July 6 (7 p.m.) at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. It's a desert world created by the Connecticut-based troupe. More info can be found online.


Jacob's Pillow

Finally, Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston is making its debut at the Pillow with works by Merce Cunningham, part of the worldwide centennial celebrating Cunningham's work. Each performance begins with an archival film of Merce Cunningham at Jacob’s Pillow followed by "Suite for Five," "Inlets 2" and "How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run," with live music.

The shows run from Wednesday, July 3, through Sunday, July 7, at the Ted Shawn Theatre. At the Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre, the multimedia show "Halfway to Dawn" by David Roussève/Reality also runs July 3 through July 7. It's an abstract tribute to Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s brilliant collaborator, and thus to a gay African-American jazz composer.

Find all the info on the website.

That's it for this week. I'll return in my usual slot on Wednesday, July 10.

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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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