The schedule for the seventh week of the 2009 Tanglewood season, August 14-20, 2009, features three guest conductors with significant ties to Tanglewood, Michael Tilson Thomas, Andre Previn, and Kurt Masur.
Tanglewood Music Center alumnus Michael Tilson Thomas, who was a protege of Leonard Bernstein, returns to the Tanglewood festival for the first time since 1988. His first program, August 14, initiates a weekend highlighted by three great Romantic piano concertos, as he conducts Rachmaninoff’s tempestuous Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by Yefim Bronfman, on a program with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.
Tilson Thomas’ second program is a project especially dear to his heart. The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theatre is a musical homage to his grandparents, who were leading performers in Yiddish theater in the ’20s and ’30s (Aug. 19 and 20). This lively Ozawa Hall program is scripted and narrated by Tilson Thomas, who also plays piano and conducts. It features the original performers who helped with the show’s creation in 2005: Judy Blazer, Neal Benari, Ronit Widmann-Levy, and Eugene Brancoveanu, all making their Tanglewood debuts. Pat Birch directs.
Frequent Tanglewood guest Andre Previn returns August 15 to collaborate with one of his favorite soloists, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, in Liszt’s poetic Piano Concerto No. 2, on a program with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and Ravel’s La Valse. Previn goes back to his early jazz piano roots with a special evening of standards in Ozawa Hall on August 16 in a concert with longtime collaborator bassist David Finck.
Kurt Masur takes the podium Sunday afternoon August 16 to lead the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in an all-Brahms program focusing on music that is at the very heart of his repertoire: the Brahms Symphony No. 2 and the Piano Concerto No. 2, with Garrick Ohlsson as soloist.