A couple of weeks ago, a group of us, friends and supporters of our symphony orchestra, traveled to Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for the Tanglewood Festival. The Festival, which began in the 1930’s as the Berkshire Symphonic Festival, draws about 300,000 music lovers annually.
Our symphony has a special relationship with Tanglewood and with Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), and although this was the first trip for me and DH, it was the group’s 10th visit to the area. We met DH’s parents and sister, too, making it a fun family mini-vacation.
One activity that we particularly enjoyed was a trip to Naumkeag, a 44-room 1880’s house surrounded by 49 acres of gardens and farmland. Also on my list of major highlights: sitting in on a piano master class given by Dr. Jonathan Bass. I was amazed at how quickly the students comprehended and executed exactly what he asked of them.
We saw three major performances at the Koussevitsky Music Shed on the Tanglewood campus.
On Friday night, we heard the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform works by Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Chausson--featuring Joshua Bell on violin—and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, our favorite of all the music we heard while there.
Following the concert, two members of our group managed to get a prime spot in the long line for Joshua Bell’s signature, and the violinist autographed CD’s and programs for them.
Saturday evening’s offering was a Tchaikovsky opera, Eugene Onegin, headlined by soprano Renée Fleming. Afterward, the autograph seekers somehow procured an invitation into Ms. Fleming’s dressing room, where they had their photograph taken with the gracious American opera singer.
On Sunday afternoon, buoyed by their successes with meeting Joshua Bell and Renée Fleming, our friends were first in line to see Yo-Yo Ma. Unfortunately, he was not giving autographs, but in lieu of a signature he posed for a photograph with the delighted pair, and they left with their prize stored on the digital camera.
All in all, it was a fun-filled four days of enjoying incredible music-making in gorgeous surroundings with a cool mountain breeze blowing over us.