Tanglewood's Triumphant Hall A New Concert Facility Opens July 7 at the Boston Symphony's Summer Home
Elizabeth Levitan Spaid, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
LUSH lawns, rolling green hills, and music that floats through the air on balmy afternoons and starlit nights. To many, Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) summer home in western Massachusetts, is a paradise setting where audiences can listen to world-class music outdoors.
On July 7, a stunning new concert hall opens on the grounds of this music mecca. Nearly two years in construction, the 1,180-seat, $9.7 million hall will serve as the performance center for young professional musicians who study here as part of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO's summer institute. It will also be used for chamber music and recital performances and provide recording capabilities for the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony orchestras. (The BSO concerts will still be held in the 5,000-seat outdoor performance shed, a short walk from the hall).
"The hall should provide a much more comfortable and a much finer acoustical environment for both the young players who are part of the Tanglewood Music Center ... and for the recitalists and Boston Symphony members who will be performing there," says Daniel Gustin, manager of Tanglewood. The hall "will enhance what Tanglewood does and make the reputation that we've earned over the years secure for the future."
Tanglewood is situated on 330 acres overlooking the Stockbridge Bowl, a valley that cradles a lake and is surrounded by picturesque countryside. It has attracted visitors from around the world since 1937, when the BSO first took up residence here. Each year, 350,000 people visit the outdoor performance shed or picnic on the expansive lawn while listening to the sounds of violins and clarinets, trumpets and timpani. The BSO estimates that, among major American orchestras, 20 percent of the musicians and 30 percent of first-chair players have studied at Tanglewood Music Center.
The new structure, named Seiji Ozawa Hall in honor of the orchestra's music director (who himself trained at the institute), is part of an expansion Tanglewood has undertaken since 1987, when it purchased an adjoining estate. This area, called the Leonard Bernstein Campus, also includes a music library, a chamber-music studio for rehearsals, a gift shop and cafeteria, and a renovated 1899 carriage house that contains administrative offices and studios.
To get to this part of Tanglewood, one strolls along a short shaded pathway from the original estate to the new campus. Seiji Ozawa Hall appears ahead - a solid brick-and-wood building shaped like a sturdy New England town meeting hall with curved roof and Italian-style loggias elegantly carved out of its sides. …