BOSTON March 19— The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood, today announced that the festival will welcome in-person audiences back for live performances in the summer of 2021.
Running from July 9 to Aug. 16, the 2021 Tanglewood festival will offer six weeks of performances, alongside comprehensive public health and safety policies and procedures established to ensure the well-being of musicians, volunteers, staff, concertgoers and all visitors to the Tanglewood grounds. Programming details will be announced on April 8.
With the reopening of Tanglewood, the BSO returns to live performances with audiences for the first time since March 2020 when the pandemic triggered what will be a 16-month live performance hiatus. By presenting a reduced, six-week season this summer – approximately 50% of Tanglewood’s usual seasonal offering – the BSO is taking a step forward in its post-pandemic recovery, after the longes tperiod in its history away from its traditional performance schedule at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood.
The BSO welcomes this opportunity to reconnect with its loyal audiences and the greater Berkshire community and begin assessing what will be necessary to rebuild and reimagine the concert-going experience as the orchestra looks to a post-COVID-19 world.
The BSO’s reopening plan for Tanglewood has been developed in conjunction with 9Foundations, a company founded by Dr. Joseph G. Allen, Associate Professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and composed of leading experts in the field of exposure and risk reduction in buildings. Following a planning principle that establishes health and safety as its first priority, the roadmap for returning to live performances at Tanglewood aims to limit the possible transmission of COVID-19 based on the best available science and addresses the unique challenge of safely bringing together musicians, students, staff, volunteers, and the public.
Grounded in what occupational and health and safety experts call the “Hierarchy of Controls,” Tanglewood’s plan will include universal mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and COVID-19 ventilation and filtration standards, among other measures. This plan for reopening Tanglewood in summer 2021 represents months of work by more than 100 individuals including BSO management, board, musicians, and staff working in conjunction with expert guidance provided by 9Foundations.
“There is no recovery without the arts,” said Dr. Joseph G. Allen, founder of 9Foundations. “By prioritizing the health and safety of the Tanglewood community with comprehensive public health policies, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has an opportunity to once again unite the Berkshire community through music. By working closely with 9Foundations over the coming months, the BSO will be poised to respond to any change in official guidelines for COVID-19 protocols that might be issued around the ever-evolving research on the pandemic and efficacy of the vaccines.
Performances taking place during Tanglewood’s reduced, six-week season will be limited to no more than 80 minutes with no intermissions, as one of many measures in place to reinforce physical distancing protocols and reduce potential exposure to the virus. All performances will take place in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed, at a reduced capacity to ensure adherence to physical distancingprotocols in place for summer 2021. Similar capacity restrictions will also apply to lawn attendance.
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in six performances and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in two performances. The 2021 Tanglewood concert season will include a Saturday-evening and Sunday-afternoon Boston Symphony Orchestra series; a Friday-evening series featuring recitals, special guest artists and ensembles, and the Boston Pops; and a Monday-evening Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra series. The Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy, will be featured in chamber music performances on Sunday mornings and Monday afternoons. The Tanglewood Learning Institute, launched in summer 2019, will also offer a variety of programs.
For the first time in the history of the Tanglewood festival, the live performance schedule will be accompanied by select weekly live video performance streams, available throughout the summer on the orchestra’s online streaming portal, BSO NOW, at www.bso.org/now, as a way of engaging more music lovers, locally and globally, who are not able to attend Tanglewood’s live performances. Programming and streaming details about the 2021 Tanglewood season will be announced on April 8.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has temporarily suspended ticket sales for the 2021 Tanglewood Popular Artist series until it has more definitive information about the status of the performance schedule; the BSO is currently working on rescheduling the June Popular Artist offerings to a date late rin the summer or to the 2022 Tanglewood season, though some may need to be canceled. The BSO will provide patrons with further details about all Popular Artist offerings when those plans are confirmed in the coming weeks and will honor all ticket purchases for events that are not canceled.
Further details are available at www.tanglewood.org