The 2009 Tanglewood season gets underway Friday July 3 when Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director James Levine returns to the Koussevitsky Music Shed podium to conduct an all-Tchaikovsky program, Symphony No. 6, Pathétique, and the Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Two works that were presented to popular and critical acclaim during the 2008 Fall season at Symphony Hall, Boston, will be reprised during July: Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 on July 17 and Brahms’s A German Requiem on July 25.
The young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center will be featured July 11 in a concert performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act III, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and a professional cast that will include by James Morris.
Maestro Levine also will lead vocalists and instrumentalists of the Tanglewood Music Center in two fully-staged performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni on July 26 & 27, 2009.
The 2009 Tanglewood schedule also features the opening weekend pairing of the Brahms Violin Concerto, with soloist Christian Tetzlaff, with Stravinsky’s revolutionary Rite of Spring on July 5.
Tickets for the 2009 Tanglewood season go on sale to the general public on Sunday, February 15. There will be no increase in ticket prices for BSO concerts that take place in the Koussevitzky Music Shed compared to last year’s prices. In addition, the Boston Symphony has expanded its free lawn ticket program now to include young people age 17 and under; in the past the age cap was 12.
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS RETURNS TO TANGLEWOOD
One of the most highly anticipated guests at Tanglewood this season is Michael Tilson Thomas, who returns to the festival for the first time in two decades, showcasing his remarkable versatility in three very different programs. The first features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with Yefim Bronfman (August 14). His next program—to receive two performances in Ozawa Hall—is a special evening of musical theater he developed in celebration of his grandparents, The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater (August 19 & 20). Conducting, narrating, and playing piano, Thomas shares the stage with four singer/actors to recount the lives of Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, important artistic figures in the American Yiddish theater in the 1920s and ’30s. This entertaining, multi-faceted exploration of his heritage, which enjoyed successful runs in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, is especially close to Mr. Thomas’s heart. For his third program, Mr. Thomas will lead Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the BSO’s Tanglewood season finale (August 23).
JAMES TAYLOR AND FRIENDS
Following the BSO’s eight-week residency at Tanglewood, the season extends an extra week for a unique series of concerts and workshops inspired by the incomparable James Taylor (August 27-30). “James Taylor and Friends” will give audiences the opportunity to experience the popular singer/songwriter and his band in several different contexts, including performances and master classes. The weekend features an intimate and informal evening with members of Taylor’s band (August 27), two concerts by Taylor and his full band with special guests (August 28 & 29), and a repeat collaboration between Taylor and the Boston Pops featuring conductor John Williams (August 30).
ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS IN THE KOUSSEVITZKY MUSIC SHED
Additional highlights of the 2009 season include a performance conducted by Julian Kuerti featuring Yo-Yo Ma in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (August 9), sponsored by EMC Corporation, and André Previn leading a program of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, Ravel’s La Valse and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet (August 15). Former BSO assistant conductor Thomas Dausgaard returns for the first time since 1995 to conduct Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Leif Ove Andsnes and the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 (August 2).
Conductor David Robertson, with the esteemed American baritone Thomas Hampson, offers an unusual musical survey in a program of all-American works by seminal composers of the mid-20th century—Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein (July 26).
THE BOSTON POPS, JULY 4, TANGLEWOOD ON PARADE, AND OTHER FAVORITES
For the ever-popular Tanglewood on Parade (July 28) featuring the BSO, the TMCO (Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra), and the Boston Pops, James Levine, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Leonard Slatkin share the podium for a rousing evening of music and fireworks. Two other traditions are always summer highlights: the live radio broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s popular Prairie Home Companion (June 27) and the Boston Pops’ Film Night at Tanglewood led by John Williams (July 18). In addition, Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Orchestra in a special program with trumpeter extraordinaire Chris Botti (August 7). Tanglewood’s Fourth of July concert will feature singer and pianist Diana Krall, who is well known for her sophisticated and swinging interpretations of jazz and American Songbook standards.
TREASURED COLLABORATORS AND RISING STARS
The 2009 Tanglewood season showcases an especially rich line-up of some of the world’s most acclaimed pianists. The centerpiece is the Aug. 14-16 weekend featuring three great Romantic piano concertos: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Yefim Bronfman; Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Garrick Ohlsson. In addition, guest pianists include Emanuel Ax playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (July 10); Leon Fleisher playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 (July 17); Leif Ove Andsnes playing the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 (August 2); Peter Serkin playing Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds (August 3); and the young French pianist David Fray making his BSO debut in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 (August 21). In his first appearance at Tanglewood since 1971, the European-based American pianist Stephen Kovacevich returns for a recital of Bach, Schumann, and Beethoven (July 2). In addition to Gil Shaham performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (August 22), guest violin soloists include Joshua Bell playing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 (July 12) and Vadim Repin playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto (July 31).
The season also features a wealth of talented vocalists, from seasoned veterans like bass-baritone James Morris and tenor Johan Botha (July 11) to rising stars making their BSO debuts: soprano Laura Claycomb; tenor Lawrence Brownlee; baritone Markus Werba; soprano Erin Wall; and mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen. Baritone Thomas Hampson, a soloist for the BSO’s all-American program (July 26), also contributes a recital focusing on American songs by Ives, Griffes, Carpenter, and Barber (July 22).
PROGRAMS DEDICATED TO THE WORKS OF A SINGLE COMPOSER
The Tanglewood 2009 season offers a rare opportunity to delve deeply into the works of a range of seminal composers. Including the opening night all-Tchaikovsky program (July 3), sponsored by the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, eight single-composer concerts provide the chance to experience the creative evolution not just of familiar titans like Beethoven (July 5, 7, & 9), Haydn (June 28), and Mozart (July 19), but also composers such as Sibelius and Stravinsky. Herbert Blomstedt’s all-Sibelius program with the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellows and the TMC Orchestra taps the conductor’s own Scandinavian roots with Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, Tapiola, and The Swan of Tuonela (June 29). Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos brings his great authority for the works of Stravinsky to a TMCO program anchored by the complete Pulcinella and the Suite from The Firebird (August 3). In honor of the Mendelssohn bicentennial, one of the composer’s ardent proponents, Kurt Masur, conducts the Hebrides Overture, the Symphony No. 4, Italian, and the Violin Concerto, with Gil Shaham (August 22). Masur’s great affinity for the works of Brahms is displayed in a TMCO concert featuring the Symphony No. 2 and the Piano Concerto No. 2, with Garrick Ohlsson (August 16).
SPECIAL BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS – GALWAY, DE BURGOS & PREVIN
Two of Tanglewood’s favorite maestros celebrate significant birthdays at the festival this summer. Andre Previn, who celebrates his 80th birthday in April, returns to the festival with three programs that showcase his remarkable versatility as a conductor, composer, and performer. In addition to leading a program with the BSO (August 15), Mr. Previn will also be featured in two Ozawa Hall programs, including an evening of jazz favorites with pianist David Finck (August 16). A Boston Symphony Chamber Players concert features Mr. Previn in the Brahms Quintet in F minor for piano and strings and reprises his new chamber work premiered in March 2009 (August 12). One of the BSO’s most popular guest conductors, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos marks his 75th birthday with three separate programs at Tanglewood, including a reprise of the acclaimed Symphony Hall performances of Carmina burana (August 8).
Sir James Galway celebrates his 70th birthday with a special musical birthday bash, anchored by a performance of Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2 (August 1). The program also includes music by Debussy and Copland, and promises some special musical surprises for the occasion. Galway precedes the BSO celebration with an Ozawa Hall recital featuring his wife, flutist Lady Jeanne Galway, and longtime collaborator, American pianist Phillip Moll (July 30).
OZAWA HALL HIGHLIGHTS
Christian Tetzlaff, with pianist Alexander Lonquich, presents Beethoven’s complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano over the course of three evenings (July 5, 7, & 9). In the realm of chamber music, the Juilliard Quartet presents an all-Haydn program (June 28) of the composer’s Sun Quartets in a concert marking the farewell performance of first violinist Joel Smirnoff.
Jordi Savall’s period-instrument ensemble Le Concert de Nations presents two wide-ranging concerts (July 14 & 15), including Stage Music in the Plays of William Shakespeare, featuring actor F. Murray Abraham. The incomparable Mark Morris Dance Group enlivens the heart of the summer with two world premieres choreographed to music of Ives and Beethoven, performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax (August 5 & 6).
How to purchase Tanglewood tickets
Tickets for the 2009 Tanglewood season go on sale to the general public on Sunday, February 15. Tickets are available through Tanglewood’s website, www.tanglewood.org, and through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200.
Regular season ticket prices range from $9-$115. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $17. All ticket prices include a $1 Tanglewood grounds maintenance fee.
Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the Tanglewood Box Office at Tanglewood’s Main Gate on West Street in Lenox, MA, as of June 19. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover, personal checks, and cash are all accepted at the Tanglewood Box Office. For further information and box office hours, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492 or visit www.bso.org.
Tanglewood brochures with complete programs and information on how to order tickets will be available in mid February by calling 617-638-9467.
For further information and box office hours, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492 or visit www.bso.org.