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Classical Beat: Tanglewood, Taconic Music and 'Ragtime' at Barrington Stage
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:46PM / Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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The Mark Morris Dance Group is joined by Tanglewood Center Music Fellows and The New Fromm Players in a celebration of the highly influential experimental composer Lou Harrison's (1917-2003) 100th birthday at Tanglewood.

James Taylor returns to Tanglewood for the Fourth of July holiday.

For many music lovers, Tanglewood in Lenox virtually defines music in the Berkshires. It is the largest summer presenter, with the most comprehensive schedule of performances across the full spectrum of musical styles and genres. Before getting into imminent opening events, bookmark the Boston Symphony's website for the full summer concert schedule, season highlights, tickets and general information.

During the opening week's events, from Wednesday, June 28, through Tuesday, July 4, Tanglewood celebrates the opening of their 77th Music Festival with a generous sampling of popular, classical and new music/dance concerts that are sure to attract audiences. Here's a preview of these exhilarating and varied musical offerings:

• Wednesday and Thursday, June 28 and 29, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The Mark Morris Dance Group is joined by Tanglewood Center Music Fellows and The New Fromm Players in a celebration of the highly influential experimental composer Lou Harrison's (1917-2003) 100th birthday. In an interview with Morris about his involvement with Harrison's music, he stated: "Lou was a friend, and his music has been a decades-long inspiration to me as a choreographer. I've made up dances to many of his scores and there exist many more that are varied, extravagant, and irresistible. Lou said, 'Music is a Song and a Dance.' Not only do I agree, but also he was absolutely right. I gratefully and humbly celebrate his centenary." Morris's choreography to four of Harrison's classic chamber music works will be breathtaking to see and hear.

• Friday, June 30, 7 p.m. in the Shed: The "Popular Artists Series" features classic rock singer/songwriters Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald performing.

• Saturday, July 1, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Tanglewood's annual String Quartet Marathon, the highly anticipated showcase for young, journeyman ensembles will take center stage, performing excerpts from the classical canon, as well as some offbeat new, and unusual repertoire. This highlight of the summer festival season is always a thrilling, not-to-be-missed event.

• Sunday, July 2, 10 a.m. in Ozawa Hall: "Brass Extravaganza" is a trio of stellar performers: conductor Stefan Asbury, trumpeter/conductor Hakan Hardenberger and BSO Maestro/trumpeter (!) Andris Nelsons will join the BSO brass faculty and Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) brass Fellows in a program of brilliant brass chamber music.

• Sunday, July 2, 2:30 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The String Quartet Marathon continues.

• Sunday, July 2, 7 p.m. in the Shed: A performer in Tanglewood's “Popular Artists Series,” singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant will sing songs from across her full career, backed by her own band in addition to a string quartet.

• Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4, 8 p.m. in the Shed: A Festival highlight, James Taylor and his All-Star Band returns to Tanglewood.


Upcoming at Tanglewood

The Boston Symphony (BSO) returns to Tanglewood, its summer home, next week with performances of two spectacular Mahler Symphonies: No. 2 ("Resurrection") on July 7 and No. 4 on July 9. The BSO's charismatic Maestro/Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead these programs. Be sure to reserve your tickets, as these concerts will be highlights of the summer.

Tickets for all Tanglewood events can be purchased online at, via SymphonyCharge, 888-266-1200 and at the Tanglewood box office located at the main gate, on West Street in Lenox.

For tickets, call 888 266-1200, or go to the website. Music lovers can follow Tanglewood via its new social media accounts on Facebook, on Twitter @TanglewoodMA, and on Instagram @TanglewoodMusicFestival. The Boston Symphony is on Facebook, on Twitter @bostonsymphony, and on Instagram @bostonsymphony. The Boston Pops is on Facebook, on Twitter@thebostonpops, and on Instagram @thebostonpops.


Taconic Music

The innovative Manchester, Vt.-based music festival presents two exciting concerts this week:

• Saturday, July 1, 4 p.m. "NextGen" Concert: Chamber Music Initiative: Beethoven: String Quartet No.7 in F major Op. 59, No. 1 (“Rasumovsky"); Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 5 in E flat major Op. 44, No. 3; Ravel: String Quartet in F major; Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1.

Performers include Joohyun Lee, Jingting Liu, Heather Munch and Cami Sylvia, violins, Zoe Loversky and Gavon Peck, violas, Yeil Park and Mark Serkin, cellos and Dan Sato, piano

• Sunday, July 2, 4 p.m.: Beethoven: Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in B-flat Major, Op. 11; Vladigerov: Chant for Violin and Piano, Op. 21; Still: Suite for Violin and Piano; Schumann: Quintet for Piano and String Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 44.

Performers include Joana Genova and Austin Hartman, violins; Ariel Rudiakov, viola, Nathaniel Parke, cello and Molly Morkoski, piano. Special guests: Elizabeth Wright, piano and Todd Palmer, clarinet. 

Both performances will be at The Riley Center for the Arts at Burr and Burton Academy, 57 Seminary Ave., Manchester, Vt. Prices for adults are $25 and for students and children are $10. For complete information and programming, visit Taconic Music online or call 802-362-7162.


'Ragtime' at Barrington Stage Company

'Ragtime' plays at Barrington Stage Company through July 15.

Barrington Stage Company has created a brilliantly conceived, acted, sung and directed production of this hit Tony Award-winning (13 nominations, two wins for book and score) musical. Panoramic in scope, the re-imagining of novelist E.L. Doctorow's original 1975 novel to the realm of musical theater is dazzling in its execution.

New York and environs around 1900 (New Rochelle, Harlem, Ellis Island, 5th Avenue/Manhattan) are the locales for both actual historical figures (J.P. Morgan, Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, Stanford White, Emma Goldman, Henry Ford et al) to interact with fictional persons and events, creating a fascinating “what if” dramatic narrative. E.L. Doctorow's postmodern classic novel, the source of both the 1981 film and the 1998 Broadway musical, presents audiences with a re-mapped, parallel universe history of a turbulent era that is still, today, working out issues of race bigotry, class, art, the “one-percent” mega-rich and more.

"Ragtime" is marvelously entertaining and powerful; it's also a thinking-person's story, set to beautiful and jaunty music (there are plenty of catchy tunes – the music is omnipresent; it could almost be considered an opera) that will captivate and enthrall you. You'll be dancing in your seat.

Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company runs through July 15 on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union St., Pittsfield, Mass. For tickets, call the Mainstage Box Office at 413-236-8888 or go online.

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