Music Festivals Add Special Touch to Road Trips; Some Summer Getaways Are Deliciously without Focus, Such as Going to the Beach. but Music Festivals Exemplify Another Approach to Time off -- Enjoying a Change of Scenery along with Special Artistic Experiences. [Derived Headline]

By Kanny, Mark | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 12, 2016 | Go to article overview

Music Festivals Add Special Touch to Road Trips; Some Summer Getaways Are Deliciously without Focus, Such as Going to the Beach. but Music Festivals Exemplify Another Approach to Time off -- Enjoying a Change of Scenery along with Special Artistic Experiences. [Derived Headline]


Kanny, Mark, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Some summer getaways are deliciously without focus, such as going to the beach. But music festivals exemplify another approach to time off -- enjoying a change of scenery along with special artistic experiences.

Many summer classical-music festivals have expanded in recent decades, while other new ones have popped up. It would be a long journey to catch the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the Aspen Festival in Colorado in August, but there are plenty of strong options closer to home.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home, Tanglewood, sets the standard for the highest quality of performers and artistically adventurous programming at summer festivals, including new music, opera and advanced training for the most promising musicians at the start of their careers. Its founding music director, Serge Koussevitzky, was a visionary whose ideals have been advanced by his successors.

Other festivals have a more narrow focus, such as an excellent chamber music series in Cleveland or the indispensable Glimmerglass Festival of opera. By contrast, the Chautauqua Institution's summer festival isn't even limited to the performing arts.

Many festivals feature lawn seating, which is perfect for picnics, but generally the best sound is to be found inside, such as in the Shed at the Tanglewood Music Festival, which is open on three sides.

Tanglewood Music Festival

Located in Lenox, Mass., not far from Albany, N.Y., Tanglewood is about an eight-hour drive from Pittsburgh. Founded before World War II, its beautiful grounds now feature two concert locations with great acoustics -- the Shed, where the Boston Symphony plays, and Seiji Ozawa Hall, which is used for the Tanglewood Music Center, baroque music, chamber music and recitals.

Boston Symphony music director Andris Nelsons will lead four concerts, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's last piano concerto with Jonathan Biss and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 on July 29, and the first two acts of Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida" on Aug. 20. He'll also lead an all Johannes Brahms program with the students of the music center orchestra on July 31.

The festival presents top guest artists, such as conductors Charles Dutoit, Aug. 12 and 19, and Christoph von Dohnanyi, July 16. Soloists include pianists soprano Renee Fleming, July 16; pianists Emanuel Ax, Aug. 12, and Yefim Bronfman, Aug. 5; violinist Joshua Bell, July 8; and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Aug. 27.

Other shows will include the return of Garrison Keillor and "A Prairie Home Companion," June 25, and four concerts by Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, July 10 and Aug. 2, 13 and 26.

Details: 888-266-1200 or bso.org

Blossom Music Festival

The summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra, Blossom Music Festival in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was inaugurated in 1969 by George Szell conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It is the nearest big summer music festival to Pittsburgh.

Music director Franz Welser-Most will conduct just one concert at Blossom this summer, including music from Thomas Ades' opera "Powder Her Face" and Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony on July 9. Other notable conductors include Jahja Ling, July 23, and Nicholas McGegan, Aug. 7.

Blossom attractions include the traditional Blossom Festival Band on July 4; music of Hollywood, July 24; "The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony," Aug. 20; and a showing of the film "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with live orchestral performance of the soundtrack, Sept. 3 and 4.

Details: 330-920-8040 or clevelandorchestra.com

ChamberFest Cleveland

The fifth season of this remarkable festival will run only a few weeks, from mid-June to July 2, at various intimate venues in Cleveland, but it shows why the most interesting programming is usually done by musicians, not marketers. …

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Music Festivals Add Special Touch to Road Trips; Some Summer Getaways Are Deliciously without Focus, Such as Going to the Beach. but Music Festivals Exemplify Another Approach to Time off -- Enjoying a Change of Scenery along with Special Artistic Experiences. [Derived Headline]
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