The Boston Globe and WGBH Summer Arts Weekend Roundup

By WGBHArts   |   Friday, August 17, 2012
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Celebrating Tanglewood

By Brian McCreath   |   Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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Western Massachusetts is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where music, nature and personalities are brought together in a legendary setting. Here is a rundown from the WGBH's Classical New England staff on the ongoing celebration of 75 years of Tanglewood.

Watch Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration Preview on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

In the 1930's, a vision of classical music among the rolling hills and beautiful lakes of wester Massachusetts emerged in the minds of the residents of Berkshire County, especially Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith. The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Serge Koussevitzky eventually came on the scene to provide that music, and the seeds of Tanglewood were sown.

Now, 75 years after its founding, Classical New England, WGBH, and PBS celebrate that original vision and its modern manifestation with a full weekend of special programs.

Listen throughout the weekend for Tanglewood Tales on Classical New England. These personal memories and stories come from our listeners and reflect both a broad range of experiences as well as the singular magical quality of Tanglewood.

Broadcast Schedule (all programs on Classical New England except where noted)

Friday, Aug. 10
3pm Tanglewood Turnpike
BSO broadcast host Ron Della Chiesa joins Cathy Fuller for a preview of our weekend of live concert broadcasts and a look back, with music from the previous weekend.

7pm Tanglewood Today
Host James David Jacobs brings you an in-depth preview of our Friday night concert.

8pm Live from Tanglewood
Pinchas Zukerman leads the BSO in an All-Bach program in the roles of both violin soloist and conductor, with additional solo contributions from the BSO's Concertmaster Malcolm Lowe, Principal Oboist John Ferrillo, and Principal Flutist Elizabeth Rowe.

Tanglewood sign9pm on WGBH 2 Great Performances: Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration
Watch a gala performance celebrating Tanglewood, with conductors Keith Lockhart, Andris Nelsons, John Williams, and David Zinman, and pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, vocalist James Taylor, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and more. (Watch a preview above, and see our broadcast schedule for more airings.)

Saturday, Aug. 11
Ozawa Hall5pm Gala Opening of Seijii Ozawa Hall
For the first time ever Classical New England brings you the opening concert of Ozawa Hall, recorded on July 7, 1994, with former BSO Music Director Seiji Ozawa, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Peter Serkin, and members of the Bernstein family.

7pm Tanglewood Today
Host Larry King brings you an in-depth preview of our Saturday night concert.

8pm Live from Tanglewood
Yo-Yo Ma is the soloist in Elgar's Cello Concerto, and Stéphane Denève conducts the world premiere of André Previn's Music for Boston and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.

Sunday, Aug. 12
6am The Bach Hour: Bach in the Berkshires
Host Brian McCreath brings you performances of Bach's music from Tanglewood, with the BSO and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Noon Boston Pops on New England Summer Festivals
Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in a program that includes Duke Ellington's Harlem, and the evocative score to Taxi Driver by Bernard Hermann.

1pm Tanglewood Today
Host Rani Schloss brings you an in-depth preview of our Sunday afternoon concert.

2pm Live from Tanglewood
Paul Lewis is the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, and Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 and Richard Strauss' Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks.

5pm The Bach Hour: Bach in the Berkshires
Host Brian McCreath brings you performances of Bach's music from Tanglewood, with the BSO and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

6pm Arias and Barcarolles: Elly Ameling at Tanglewood
Host Cathy Fuller shares highlights from an all-Schubert recital with pianist Rudolf Jansen at Tanglewood's Theatre Concert Hall in July of 1987.

6:30pm Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration
Co-hosts Ron Della Chiesa and Fred Child of Performance Today bring you all the music from Tanglewood's gala celebration of its 75th birthday, with three orchestras, five conductors, including Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Andris Nelsons, and guests artists including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and singer James Taylor.

9pm BSO on Record: Koussevitzky's Final Tanglewood Recordings
Classical New England's BSO broadcast producer Brian Bell brings you the stories and the music from Serge Koussevitzky's final recording sessions with the BSO at Tanglewood.

More from Tanglewood, including the full broadcast schedule and on-demand concerts

New Orleans' Queen Fills Boston with Soul

By WGBHArts   |   Sunday, July 29, 2012
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July 28, 2012

Irma Thomas, The Soul Queen of New Orleans, singing “It’s Raining” at the Copley Club.

BOSTON — To put the finishing touch on a spectacular first night of the Boston Summer Arts Festival, Irma Thomas picked up the microphone one more time in the Copley Club and had the audience swooning and swaying through musical history.

Thomas, now 71 and 50+ years into her musical career, talked eariler in the week with WGBHArts contributor Bridgit Brown about what Soul music really is. “Soul,” she said, “is the satisfactory feeling that you get from doing what you love. It has nothing to do with a genre of music, and everybody has it.” (>>Read the full article).

Thomas told Boston Public Radio's Edgar Herwick she found her love for music while waiting tables in New Orleans. She would jump up on stage with the band once in awhile to sing a set. Her boss fired her for not doing her job, and she set out on a path that took her to royal heights.

>>Hear Thomas interviewed on WGBH Boston Public Radio along with, Ben Jaffe, creative director of the Preservation Hall in New Orleans.

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Irma Thomas, WGBH host Edgar Herwick and Ben Jaffe in the WGBH radio studios. (Annie Shreffler/WGBH)

Preservation Hall Band Swings Copley

By WGBHArts   |   Friday, July 27, 2012
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July 27, 2012

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the main stage with Del McCoury and Sierra Hull at the Boston Summer Arts Festival in Copley Square. (Addy Shreffler/WGBHArts)

BOSTON — The spirit of collaboration got off to a roaring start when Del McCoury and Sierra Hull joined Preservation Hall Jazz Band on stage in Copley Square tonight. The confluence of New Orleans jazz and bluegrass yielded something that reshaped both ingredients. Prez Hall got a little gallop, Del a little swing and the result was a fresh twist on country swing. A version of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” made for a particularly inspired meeting point.

And who can sit once “When the Saints Go Marching In” fills the air? Following the lead of lindy hoppers who danced on stage, many in the Copley crowd got on their feet, popping open umbrellas that were otherwise unnecessary as the rain held off but made for pretty decorations as they shimmied to Prez Hall’s swing.

Preservation Hall Band at the Summer Arts Festival in Copley Square. (Video:Kris Wilton)

Swing Dancers join the fun on the main stage in Copley Square. (Video:Kris Wilton)

View even more fun at the first night of the Summer Arts Weekend in Copley Square, where music from Del McCoury, Sierra Hull and The Jazz Hall Preservation Band inspired everyone to get up and swing.

(Photos: Addy Shreffer/WGBHArts)

A World of Musicians Descend on Lowell, MA

By Edgar B. Herwick III   |   Thursday, July 26, 2012
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July 26, 2012
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J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices play at the Lowell Folk Festival on Friday.

BOSTON — I don’t know about you, but my sense is that when you say “folk music” most people think of acoustic guitars, a singer or two, maybe something vaguely "old-timey" like a dulcimer or a fiddle. And sure, that certainly is a kind of folk music. But its just one kind.

Think about it. There is a whole world out there: Hundreds of languages and countries, cultures and traditions. And those folks have music too. So if you want to get a heaping helping of that kind of folk music this weekend there is perhaps no other place on Earth better than Lowell, Massachusetts. For the 26th year running, an entire world of music will be ringing out from Boardinghouse Park during the Lowell Folk Festival. Oh, and the whole's free. 

Hear Julia Olin, Executive Director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts and Scott McLennan, Music journalist for the Boston Globe and WGBH Arts discuss this years lineup with me on Boston Public Radio.

A Classical Sunday in Copley Square

By Brian McCreath   |   Monday, July 23, 2012
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New England is awash in incredible classical music experiences during the summer. Choose your scenery: coastline, mountain, or small town meeting house, and head out to enjoy stellar concerts in gorgeous surroundings. But wait. Add one more “scene” to that rundown. Copley Square, in the heart of Boston.

With the majestic architectural bookends of Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, Copley Square is set to become a destination in its own right among the locations you need to visit for classical music during the summer. It’s all due to the Summer Arts Weekend, a new project of the Boston Globe and WGBH.

For me, this first Summer Arts Weekend couldn’t have shaped up any better. For many years I made my living as a trumpeter, so when I heard that British trumpeter Alison Balsom was on the schedule, I knew right away we were in for a great Sunday. There’s an almost surreal silkiness to Balsom’s playing, and you’ll hear it in everything from Albinoni to Piazzolla, joined by our own crack Boston Landmarks Orchestra and guest conductor Christopher Warren-Green. Alison and Landmarks will be on stage at 4:45 on Sunday, and here she is from a Last Night of the Proms performance a couple of years ago:

Igudesman & Joo immediately precede them, at 3:30. Igude-wha? Yes, Igudesman & Joo, who bring a rare (twisted?) sense of humor to the classical world. At which point it’s probably best for me to avoid description and let their performance do the talkin’:

At 2:15 another duo will take the stage to re-define classical music in their own way. Anderson and Roe are pianists who find the “classical” in all kinds of music. Yes, they play the great duo piano repertoire by Mozart, Schubert, and others, but they also cover Radiohead, Michael Jackson, and John Lennon.

The early afternoon (1pm, specifically) belongs to one of Boston’s local musical geniuses and his students from New England Conservatory. Hankus Netsky’s Contemporary Improvisation project looks for the seams between conventional categories of music and applies an in-the-moment sensibility to find completely new voices of expression.

As if all of that weren’t enough, you also have the chance to join Laura Carlo at the Fairmont Copley Plaza at 11am on Sunday for a Baroque Brunch. Members of the Handel and Haydn Society will be on hand for a performance of music by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, and others. This one is inside, and attendance is limited, so get your tickets!

In the meantime, be sure to tune in to Classical New England on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week to hear some of the performers for Summer Arts Weekend.

Hope to see you there!
(photo of Alison Balsom by Chris Dunlop/EMI Classics)

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