Tanglewood Music Festival, formerly the Berkshire Festival (until 1984), summer music festival held since 1937 at “Tanglewood,” a former estate in the adjoining towns of Stockbridge and Lenox, Mass. The Berkshire Festival was begun in 1934 at a farm in Stockbridge. Henry Hadley conducted an orchestra composed largely of members of the New York Philharmonic for two summers. In 1936, Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) took over the festival, which became its summer home; the BSO's subsequent conductors and music directors have also been, at least nominally, the directors of the festival. In 1940 a summer school, the Berkshire (now Tanglewood) Music Center, was begun in combination with the festival. Today it is one of the world's preeminent training grounds for composers, conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists. Charles Münch became musical director of the center in 1951 and was followed by Erich Leinsdorf (1963–69). Seiji Ozawa led the BSO's programs there from 1970, the year that Gunther Schuller assumed leadership of the center. Leon Fleischer succeed Schuller in 1985, becoming artistic director, and in 1998 Ellen Highstein became director of the center.
The Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood opened in 1938. Its acoustics were enhanced by the addition of an orchestra canopy in 1959. The Shed seats more than 5,000 people and accommodates about 12,000 additional listeners on its vast lawns. In 1986 the festival grounds were expanded from the original 180 acres (73 hectares) to 300 acres (121 hectares). In 1994 an additional facility, the 1,180-seat Seiji Ozawa Hall, was opened. Intended for chamber concerts, rehearsals, recitals, and recording sessions, it also contains a library, performers' pavilion, and other facilities, and accommodates some 2,000 concertgoers on its lawns.
See studies by J. R. Holland (1973), H. Kupferberg (1976), and A. L. Pincus (1989 and 1998).
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