Tanglewood to Welcome Concertgoers Back for In-Person Performances this Summer

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood, today announced that the festival will welcome in-person audiences back for live performances in the summer of 2021, following the necessary closure of the festival in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement takes place following a meeting of the BSO Board of Trustees on Thursday, March 18, where the decision to move forward with a summer season at Tanglewood met with unanimous approval.

Photo by Fred Collins

Running from July 9 to August 16, the 2021 Tanglewood festival will offer six weeks of performances, alongside comprehensive public health and safety policies and procedures established to ensure the well-being of musicians, volunteers, staff, concertgoers, and all visitors to the Tanglewood grounds. 2021 Tanglewood season programming details will be announced on April 8.

With the reopening of Tanglewood, the BSO returns to live performances with audiences for the first time since March 2020 when the pandemic triggered what will be a 16-month live performance hiatus. By presenting a reduced, six-week season this summer—approximately 50% of Tanglewood’s usual seasonal offering—the BSO is taking a step forward in its post-pandemic recovery, after the longest period in its history away from its traditional performance schedule at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood. The BSO welcomes this opportunity to reconnect with its loyal audiences and the greater Berkshire community and begin assessing what will be necessary to rebuild and reimagine the concert-going experience as the orchestra looks to a post-COVID-19 world.

The Tanglewood Concert Experience in Summer 2021, July 9-August 16

Performances taking place during Tanglewood’s reduced, six-week season will be limited to no more than 80 minutes with no intermissions, as one of many measures in place to reinforce physical distancing protocols and reduce potential exposure to the virus. All performances will take place in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed, at a reduced capacity to ensure adherence to physical distancing protocols in place for summer 2021. Similar capacity restrictions will also apply to lawn attendance

Photo by Marco Borggreve

BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in six performances and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in two performances this summer. The 2021 Tanglewood concert season will include a Saturday-evening and Sunday-afternoon Boston Symphony Orchestra series; a Friday-evening series featuring recitals, special guest artists and ensembles, and the Boston Pops; and a Monday-evening Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra series. The Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy, will be featured in chamber music performances on Sunday mornings and Monday afternoons (further details about the TMC’s summer session appear below). The Tanglewood Learning Institute—launched in summer 2019—will also offer a variety of programs in summer 2021. In addition, Tanglewood will present family, community, and education programs, as well as maintain many of its free and reduced-price ticket programs for the upcoming season.

For the first time in the history of the Tanglewood festival, the live performance schedule will be accompanied by select weekly live video performance streams, available throughout the summer on the orchestra’s online streaming portal, BSO NOW, at www.bso.org/now, as a way of engaging more music lovers, locally and globally, who are not able to attend Tanglewood’s live performances.

Andris Nelsons leads the TMC Orchestra in Shostakovich’s First Symphony (Photo by Hilary Scott)

Programming and streaming details about the 2021 Tanglewood season will be announced on April 8. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has temporarily suspended ticket sales for the 2021 Tanglewood Popular Artist series until it has more definitive information about the status of the performance schedule; the BSO is currently working on rescheduling the June Popular Artist offerings to a date later in the summer or to the 2022 Tanglewood season, though some may need to be canceled. The BSO will provide patrons with further details about all Popular Artist offerings when those plans are confirmed in the coming weeks and will honor all ticket purchases for events that are not canceled. Further details are available at www.tanglewood.org.

As of today, there is no new information regarding James Taylor’s Tanglewood concert scheduled for July 4; we will communicate with all ticket buyers as soon as we have more information to share.

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