TANGLEWOOD TO WELCOME CONCERTGOERS BACK FOR IN-PERSON PERFORMANCES THIS SUMMER
REDUCED, SIX-WEEK BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT SEASON, JULY 9-AUGUST 16, TO ENCOMPASS APPROXIMATELY 50% OF TANGLEWOOD’S USUAL SEASONAL OFFERINGS
BSO ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF ITS HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS IN PLACE TO BEST ENSURE THE WELL-BEING OF MUSICIANS, STAFF, VOLUNTEERS, CONCERTGOERS, AND ALL VISITORS TO THE TANGLEWOOD GROUNDS
APRIL 8: BSO TO ANNOUNCE COMPLETE PROGRAMMING DETAILS FOR THE 2021 TANGLEWOOD SEASON, UNDER THE ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP OF BSO MUSIC DIRECTOR ANDRIS NELSONS, WHO WILL LEAD EIGHT ORCHESTRA PROGRAMS
TICKETS GO ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC—ALONG WITH THE LAUNCH OF A NEW CONTACTLESS DIGITAL TICKETING SYSTEM—ON MAY 17, AT 10 A.M., AT TANGLEWOOD.ORG AND 888-266-1200
Click here for a video statement from BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe and BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons announcing the reopening of Tanglewood in 2021
REOPENING SAFETY PLAN DEVELOPED BY BSO WITH GUIDANCE FROM 9FOUNDATIONS, INC., IN COLLABORATION WITH A TEAM OF MEDICAL AND ENGINEERING EXPERTS AND IN CONSIDERATION OF GUIDELINES FROM THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND LOCAL BERKSHIRE AUTHORITIES
BSO WORKING WITH 9FOUNDATIONS TO MONITOR AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS AROUND THE LATEST SCIENCE AND REGULARLY UPDATED GUIDELINES REGARDING THE PANDEMIC THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER
UNIVERSAL MASK WEARING, PHYSICAL DISTANCING, HAND HYGIENE, INCREASED AIR FILTRATION AND VENTILATION, ENHANCED CLEANING AND SANITATION, AND TESTING AND MONITORING OF MUSICIANS, WHENEVER NECESSARY, ARE AMONG THE MEASURES IN PLACE TO MINIMIZE HEALTH RISKS
ALL PERFORMANCES—SHORTENED TO 80 MINUTES OR LESS WITH NO INTERMISSION—TO TAKE PLACE IN OPEN-AIR KOUSSEVITZKY MUSIC SHED, WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING LIMITS THAT MEET OR EXCEED MASSACHUSETTS ALLOWANCES
CAPACITY LIMITATION ALSO APPLIED TO LAWN ATTENDANCE WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING MAINTAINED THROUGH THE ISSUANCE OF CUSTOMIZED GROUND COVERINGS TO PATRONS AT ENTRANCE GATES
TANGLEWOOD MAY ADJUST CAPACITY LEVELS IN CONSIDERATION OF ANTICIPATED UPDATES ISSUED BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS OVER THE COMING MONTHS
Click here for a high-res version of the photo, taken at Tanglewood in 2016 by Hilary Scott
THE MOST UP-TO DATE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES WILL BE POSTED AT TANGLEWOOD.ORG/SAFETY AND REFERENCED ON THE ORCHESTRA’S SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS; TICKET BUYERS WILL RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES AND BE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN PRE-SEASON ONLINE TOWN HALL MEETINGS ABOUT THE CONCERT EXPERIENCE IN SUMMER 2021
THE FAMED MUSIC FESTIVAL—SUMMER HOME OF THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA SINCE 1937—REOPENS FOLLOWING THE FORCED CLOSURE OF TANGLEWOOD IN SUMMER 2020 DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
WITH THE OPENING OF TANGLEWOOD IN SUMMER 2021, THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO LIVE PERFORMANCES WITH AUDIENCES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE MARCH 2020 WHEN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC NECESSITATED WHAT WILL BE A 16-MONTH LIVE PERFORMANCE HIATUS
BOSTON (March 19, 2021) — 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, following the necessary closure of the festival in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement takes place following a meeting of the BSO Board of Trustees on Thursday, March 18, where the decision to move forward with a summer season at Tanglewood met with unanimous approval.
Running from July 9 to August 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. 2021 Tanglewood season 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 longest period 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 Boston Symphony Orchestra and 9Foundations, Inc.
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 comprised 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 described below. 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.”
Click here for footage of Andris Nelsons leading the BSO in the opening measures of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony, recorded at the Koussevitzky Music Shed in August 2018
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. 9Foundations will monitor and follow the science and provide feedback and recommendations on these changing dynamics throughout the spring and summer. Through this fluid situation, Tanglewood will remain flexible and consider adjusting its reopening plan only if it can do so while continuing to maintain its established health and safety standards for everyone associated with the festival. If the CDC or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recommends more stringent guidelines for public gatherings, or an on-campus issue warrants, the BSO will modify its plans in consultation with its advisory team and communicate any changes accordingly. Tanglewood is part of a Berkshire-based consortium of cultural organizations that have developed a unified “COVID-19 Code of Courtesy” that addresses public safety for all visitors to the region. These guidelines have been reviewed and endorsed by the Berkshire Public Health Alliance.The Tanglewood Concert Experience in Summer 2021, July 9-August 16
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 distancing protocols 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 this summer. 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 (further details about the TMC’s summer session appear below). The Tanglewood Learning Institute—launched in summer 2019—will also offer a variety of programs in summer 2021. In addition, Tanglewood will present family, community, and education programs, as well as maintain many of its free and reduced-price ticket programs for the upcoming season.
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 later in 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.
As of today there is no new information regarding James Taylor’s Tanglewood concert scheduled for July 4; we will communicate with all ticket buyers as soon as we have more information to share.
Brief Background on Tanglewood
Tanglewood—one of the country’s premier summer music festivals and summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937—is located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Lenox and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Tanglewood, in a typical season, has drawn an annual attendance of approximately 340,000 people and brings more than $100 million in economic activity annually to the Berkshires region. Except for several years during World War II, when the performance schedule was curtailed or canceled in its entirety, as it was in 1943, the festival has run uninterrupted until last summer when the 2020 Tanglewood season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tanglewood was founded by Serge Koussevitzky, BSO Music Director 1924-1949. Click here for further details on Tanglewood.
Tanglewood’s Koussevitsky Music Shed, photographed in 2018 by Fred Collins; click here for high-res version
FURTHER DETAILS ON HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES FOR THE 2021 TANGLEWOOD SEASON
The BSO’s reopening plan for Tanglewood—utilizing the “Hierarchy of Controls”—focuses on the execution of the following elements: eliminating activities that present a higher risk of infectious disease transmission wherever feasible; applying COVID-19-standard engineering controls to ensure healthy air ventilation in all buildings; ensuring proper physical distancing through new approaches to crowd management and signage throughout the campus; and requiring universal mask wearing and hand hygiene for everyone on the Tanglewood grounds.
Personal Protection and Physical Distancing
All concertgoers, musicians, staff, volunteers, and all visitors associated with the 2021 Tanglewood season will be required to wear masks at all times, except when consuming food and beverage. In addition, the BSO will limit crowd density through physical distancing and reducing or eliminating gatherings in small spaces.
A physical distancing policy—informed by consideration of state recommendations during the Tanglewood season—will apply to everyone visiting or working on the Tanglewood grounds. This requirement will apply to all performances in Tanglewood’s open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed, where all 2021 Tanglewood performances will take place; seating in the Shed will be reserved, with seats left empty between ticket holder parties to meet the distancing requirement. This physical distancing policy will apply to all lawn patrons as well, aided by the issuance of complimentary lawn coverings sized to help establish appropriate distance between all lawn parties.
At present, the BSO does not anticipate requiring proof of vaccination for entrance to the Tanglewood grounds, though the organization will continue to monitor the recommendations on this subject and will provide updates on all protocols as we get closer to the Tanglewood season.
Engineering and Controls to Ensure Healthy Ventilation in Buildings Throughout the Campus
The BSO will make improvements as necessary to the air handling systems in indoor spaces to meet current standards of air ventilation and filtration in public restrooms and offices and rehearsal spaces being utilized by staff and musicians.
While all public programs in 2021 will be presented in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed and on the lawn surrounding the Shed, Ozawa Hall and the Linde Center for Music and Learning will not be open to the public. There will be no walking restrictions related to Tanglewood’s outdoor spaces; the natural beauty of the festival’s grounds will be available for all visitors to enjoy, though mask wearing and physical distancing will be required in all indoor and outdoor spaces.
Replacing or Reducing High-Risk Activities and Minimizing Exposure
Certain programmatic elements, such as vocal music, will not take place to reduce potential viral aerosol transmission. Testing and monitoring of players and staff, whenever necessary, will help keep all attendees safe by identifying and quarantining those with symptoms or positive tests.
FURTHER DETAILS ON CHANGES TO THE VISITOR EXPERIENCE IN SUMMER 2021
Ticketing: Introducing Contactless Mobile Ticketing
Tickets to the 2021 Tanglewood season—on sale to the general public on Monday, May 17, at 10 a.m., through tanglewood.org and 888-266-1200—will be available for first time for the digital purchase, delivery, and use as part of an overall plan to reduce physical touchpoints on campus. To gain entrance to Tanglewood, concertgoers will display a digital ticket on their mobile devices to the gate attendant at the point of entry to the grounds. Mobile tickets will be offered alongside mail delivery and print at home ticketing options available through tanglewood.org, and point-of-purchase ticketing available via walk-up sales at the Tanglewood box office, which will open for the summer on Friday, July 2, at noon.
Despite the decreased seating capacity in the Shed and lawn due to necessary physical distancing protocols, the BSO remains committed to equitable opportunities for musical participation. To that end, ticket limits will be applied to some pre-season ticket purchases, and several free- and reduced-price ticket programs will be offered to ensure that as many people as possible can experience Tanglewood performances.
Further details about ticket pricing and purchasing options for the 2021 Tanglewood season will be available as part of the April 8 programming release.Visitor Parking
With reduction in activities and crowds, those arriving by car will be directed to available parking closest to the Koussevitzky Music Shed. Free parking will be offered in the general parking lots accessible via West Street (Route 183) and the pass-holder reserved lots for donors accessible from Tanglewood Drive. The Lions Gate and Lions Gate parking lot on Hawthorne Road will not be open in 2021.
Protocols for Entry and Visits to the Grounds
As stated above, all patrons will be required to wear masks and abide by physical distancing protocols during their visit to the festival, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. To reduce congregation and enhance pedestrian traffic flow, Tanglewood will modify its box office gates, restrooms, and retail and food service operations for safe and easy access to these services. Directions for these protocols and new procedures will be clearly indicated by signage throughout the grounds. For ease of hand hygiene for patrons visiting the festival, integrated hygiene stations will be conveniently located throughout the main grounds.
The Tanglewood grounds will open to visitors free of charge beginning Monday, June 14. The campus will be open seven days per week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on performance days, when hours will vary. A schedule of times when the grounds are available to walk, picnic on, and enjoy will be available at tanglewood.orgafter April 8.Visitors from Other States and Countries
Tanglewood continues to welcome visitors from all over the country and the world. In summer 2021, per State Orders, all visitors to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be required to comply with current travel guidelines (mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order). Those visiting Tanglewood from outside the U.S. will need to follow all travel restrictions explicitly defined by the Centers of Disease Control (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html).Food and Beverage and the Tanglewood Glass House
Tanglewood will introduce a new mobile food and beverage ordering system that will feature contactless delivery or pick-up dining options at select locations, including the Tanglewood Café and Grille. Utilizing mobile QR codes for ordering and payment, patrons can safely order and enjoy a la carte dining, with each of the two dining locations providing covered, outdoor, and physically distanced table seating. For the convenience of those dining at the Café or Grille, Tanglewood’s hosting staff will deliver all meals directly to patron tables.
The same new mobile ordering system for food and beverage will be used for retail purchases, as the Glass Houses will be closed to avoid indoor congregation in adherence to Tanglewood’s health and safety protocols. Items ordered through the mobile app will be available for pickup at a tent in close proximity to Tanglewood’s Main Gate. A limited selection of items will be available for purchase, including apparel, weather-related items, and health and safety essentials.
Further details about the new food and beverage and retail app will be announced on April 8.
Restroom Provisions and Protocols
Tanglewood restroom air systems will meet or exceed engineering standards for airflow, pressurization, and exhaust, and contact points will be minimized wherever possible. Restroom attendants, specifically trained in COVID safety protocols, will manage restroom line queuing and density. The BSO will also use enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines.
New No Smoking Policy
This summer the BSO will eliminate smoking areas and implement a no smoking policy throughout the Tanglewood grounds.
Communication with Ticket Buyers
Ticket buyers will receive information about these policies and procedures, as well as pertinent updates, through email correspondence. The most current information about these policies and procedures will be posted at tanglewood.org/safety, with prompts regularly featured on the orchestra’s social media platforms with links to more detailed information. Prior to the Tanglewood season (specific date and time to be announced at a later date), ticket buyers will have an opportunity to participate in an online Town Hall session that will address the changes at Tanglewood and questions about the concertgoing experience.
Tanglewood Security and Staff Training
Tanglewood staff and security will monitor the grounds for compliance of patron policies; those who do not follow these protocols will be asked to comply or leave the grounds. Festival Staff will take part in enhanced training in the implementation of and familiarity with all safety protocols and procedures.
Click here for high-res version of visitors strolling the Tanglewood campus in summer 2020; photo by Hilary Scott
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