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Tanglewood summer season kicks off Thursday with “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!” through Sept. John Legend appearance

People sit on blankets on a lawn under umbrellas outside of a concert venue.
Hilary Scott
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The summer season at famed Berkshire County music venue Tanglewood gets underway this week.

The summer season at famed Berkshire County music venue Tanglewood gets underway this week.

The sprawling lawns of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home in Lenox and Stockbridge will again be filled with charcuterie boards, blankets, and thousands of music lovers starting Thursday.

“Variety is probably the hallmark of this season," Tony Fogg told WAMC. "We've got a very full schedule where we're pretty much back to where we were pre-pandemic, and the Boston Symphony will be in residence for most of the summer. We're leaving a little earlier than usual, this year, but some wonderful concerts by the BSO. Unusually, we have a total of five concerts by the Boston Pops this summer, which is not as, it's not quite the norm. It's somewhat more than is the typical schedule. But some terrific things, beginning with performance by the Pops of the musical ‘Ragtime’ on the opening weekend and then finishing with the John Williams tribute on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of August.”

Fogg is the Vice President for artistic planning for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“We begin tomorrow evening with a taping of the NPR show ‘Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me,’" he continued. "The NPR team is here every couple of years, and it's always great fun to hear how the live program then translates into the radio show the following weekend. And then we finish on September 3rd. And the big news announced just today is that we've managed to secure, at a late stage of planning, John Legend to come and do the final concert over the Labor Day weekend.”

Conductor Andris Nelsons continues to serve as the BSO’s leader.

“We have our music director with us for about a month this summer, doing some great programming including Mozart's ‘Così fan tutte’, Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana,’ some brand-new work," said Fogg. "And our festival of contemporary music with the wonderful students at the Tanglewood Music Center focuses on the work of four very talented and creative women composers from around the world and, look, a great array of recitals in the Ozawa Hall series beginning next week with the final Tanglewood concert by the Emerson String Quartet, and then a program with the Knights, a great chamber ensemble from New York.”

Tanglewood is also bringing out a slate of popular artists.

“We begin this Friday night with the Steve Miller Band, and then the following weekend, Elvis Costello on Saturday the first,” said Fogg.

The duo of Robert Plant and Allison Krauss perform with JD McPherson at Tanglewood on July 2nd.

“James Taylor is back with us for the 3rd and 4th of July, and then at the end of the summer, we have Train, Jackson Browne, Guster for a single night in Ozawa Hall,” Fogg told WAMC.

The Tanglewood Learning Institute has its own plans for summer 2023.

“We have a weekly chance to get up close and personal with our visiting artist, and that's our conversation series on Thursdays at lunchtime," said Fogg. "We have a couple of focus weekends, one around the musical ‘Ragtime,’ which is over the first weekend, where we do some intensive thought around that great piece, and then for another weekend in August, focusing on those composers who were lost during the Second World War from the Terezín music camp and a very powerful legacy that they leave with us. We have some prominent speakers. Isabel Wilkerson, the author, will be here to talk about her new work called ‘Caste,’ and then some special performances starting with the Pacifica Quartet.”

Fogg says he hopes folks will make time to explore the work of the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center this summer.

“It's a chance to experience a group just on the cusp of fantastic professional careers and the chance to get to know them at this particular point before they're launched into the world," he told WAMC. "And that's always very exciting. And the energy of the young players is infectious and the programming is always very eclectic, something for everyone.”

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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