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History of Tanglewood Music Center

Tanglewood Music CenterThe Berkshires, home of the Gateways Inn, is renowned for its scenic beauty and bevy of cultural riches.  One of the most iconic of attractions in the Berkshires is Tanglewood Music Center. Tanglewood has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937 and contains two music schools:  the Tanglewood Music Center and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Tanglewood Music Center serves not only as an important training facility for classical musicians, but a contemporary music venue and popular Berkshires attraction.  Read on and learn a bit more about the history of Tanglewood Music Center.


Tanglewood Music Center sits on an estate of 210 acres and takes its name from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales, which Hawthorne penned while living in a house on the estate. It has been suggested that Hawthorne was inspired by the dense and tangled trees on the property. When the house on the grounds was completed in 1865, the owner decided to name it after the book. Originally the estate of the Tappan family, Tanglewood was given to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1936.


The first concerts performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Center were performed under large tents, until one performance was interrupted by a severe thunderstorm which made the tent collapse.  After this incident it was determined that a more permanent structure was needed for concerts. So in 1938 an open air venue was constructed, named the Koussevitzky Music Shed after Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Serge Koussevitzky. Two years after the Koussevitzky Music Shed was completed, the conductor started the summer school for young musicians that continues today at Tanglewood Music Center. In the 1980s Tanglewood was expanded with the acquisition of the neighboring Highwood estate. Seiji Ozawa Hall was built on the newly expanded campus in 1994.


Notable musicians from various genres have performed at Tanglewood Music Center throughout the years.  Legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in August of 1990, which would turn out to be his final concert. Composer and conductor John Williams has frequented Tanglewood, as have the Boston Pops. And each Fourth of July, James Taylor performs for a sold out crowd at Tanglewood Music Center in what has become a Berkshires tradition.  Other yearly events include the Festival of Contemporary Music and Jazz Festival.  Click here to view what the 2014 has in store at Tanglwood Music center.


Once you’ve spent a day (or more!) enjoying the history and music of Tanglewood Music Center, the Gateways Inn is the ideal place come and unwind.  The restaurant on the premises produces some of the best food in Lenox and our Lounge provides excellent entertainment in a wonderful atmosphere.  Our rooms and suites offer modern conveniences with classic old world style.  Each guest room at our Berkshires bed and breakfast has a private ensuite bathroom, plush bathrobes, cable television and complimentary WiFi.  Plus, each stay includes our delicious full breakfast, so you’ll have the fuel to spend the day exploring Tanglewood Music Center or another of the numerous landmarks in the Berkshires.  A stay at the Gateways Inn will make your visit to Lenox all the more enchanting.  Find your perfect room and begin planning an unforgettable getaway today.


Photo courtesy Boston Public Library.

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