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For other uses, see Tanglewood (disambiguation).
Tanglewood Music Shed and lawn
Seiji Ozawa Hall

Tanglewood is a music venue in Lenox and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937. Tanglewood is also home to three music schools, the Tanglewood Music Center, Days in the Arts and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Besides classical music, Tanglewood hosts the Festival of Contemporary Music, Jazz Festival popular artists concerts, and frequent appearances by James Taylor, John Williams and the Boston Pops.


Boston Pops preparing to play under the direction of John Williams in the Shed
Ozawa Hall before a concert

The 210 acre Tanglewood estate was given to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1936 by Mary Aspinwall Tappan (descendant of Chinese merchant William F. Sturgis and abolitionist Lewis Tappan.) The estate was named after a book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. While living in "the Little Red House" on the Tappan family estate, Hawthorne wrote Tanglewood Tales (1853), a re-writing of a number of Greek myths for boys and girls. The title may have been inspired by the thick tangled trees that cover the grounds. When the manor house was completed in 1865, its owner William Aspinwall Tappan, named the estate Tanglewood.

Tanglewood concerts can be traced back to 1936, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) gave its first concerts in the Berkshires. Throughout the summer of 1937, the BSO performed under a massive tent. During an intense thunderstorm, the tent collapsed on the orchestra while performing an all-Wagner concert. Music director Serge Koussevitzky refused to perform at Tanglewood the following summer unless a permanent structure was built. The following year, a fan-shaped shed(now known as the Koussevitzky Music Shed, or simply "the Shed") was constructed, with some 5,100 seats, giving the BSO a permanent open-air structure in which to perform.[1] Two years later, conductor Serge Koussevitzky initiated a summer school for approximately 300 young musicians, now known as the Tanglewood Music Center (formerly the Berkshire Music Center).

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has performed in the Koussevitzky Music Shed every summer since, except for the interval 1942–45 when the Trustees canceled the concerts and summer school due to World War II. The Shed was renovated in 1959 with acoustic designs by BBN Technologies. In 1986 the BSO acquired the adjacent Highwood estate, increasing the property area by about 40%. Seiji Ozawa Hall (1994) was built on this newly expanded property.[2]

Leonard Bernstein conducted the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in August 1990 in what proved to be his very last concert. Deutsche Grammophon released a live recording of the concert on CD.

Young musicians[edit]

In addition to hosting world-renowned programs of classical, jazz, and popular music, Tanglewood provides musical training at the Tanglewood Music Center for pre-professional musicians. Also nearby is the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) for high school students and Days in the Arts (DARTs) for middle school students. Other youth-symphony organizations have also performed at either the Music Shed or Ozawa Hall, including the Norwalk Youth Symphony, from Norwalk, Connecticut, the Empire State Youth Orchestra, from Albany, New York, and the Greater Boston Youth Symphony.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leo Beranek, "Concert Halls and Opera Houses" 2nd ed. NY:Springer, 2007 ISBN 0-387-95524-0 pp. 93−97.
  2. ^ Leo Beranek, "Concert Halls and Opera Houses" 2nd ed. NY:Springer, 2007 ISBN 0-387-95524-0 pp. 89−92.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°20′57″N 73°18′36″W / 42.34917°N 73.31000°W / 42.34917; -73.31000