Tanglewood Summer Schedule

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Note: The following information on the Tanglewood Summer Schedule section was kindly submitted by my mom who has been a regular at Tanglewood since I was a kid.


The majority of the Tanglewood Music Festival concerts are held in July and August, but the Tanglewood summer schedule offers a number of events in June and September as well.

Our tradition has been to meet close friends for one Sunday afternoon Shed concert each year. These concerts begin at 2:30pm and last approximately two hours. At its classical concerts in the Shed, the BSO plays the world’s most beautiful and crowd-pleasing symphonic music and features soloists who are among the greatest performers in the world. The combination of the music and the setting is absolutely stunning. The Sunday Shed concert is the major afternoon concert of the week.


For these concerts (and many others), the orchestra performs inside the Koussevitzky Music Shed, a rustic, open-air structure built in 1938 which contains 5100 seats. You can buy either Shed tickets or lawn tickets. If the latter, be sure to bring a blanket. Lawn chairs are also recommended. You aren’t able to see the orchestra from the lawn, although the Shed is so big that you may have only a remote view of it from the less expensive Shed tickets (bring binoculars). Three high-definition screens have recently been added which give great views of the performers to the back of the Shed, but in my experience they aren’t always used.

The advantage of Shed tickets, aside from proximity to the orchestra and a real seat, is a guaranteed roof over your head in case of rain. On the other hand, you don’t have to buy lawn tickets until you arrive, so if the weather promises to be inclement, you can simply forgo the trip and find another time on the Tanglewood summer schedule.

There’s also another option. The bench at the far back of the Shed is open to lawn ticket holders. If rain seems imminent, get a place there early. But here’s your dilemma: it can be hot on the back bench with the sun on you if it’s not raining. I say hold out for the lawn as long as possible if you have a good shady spot. We just attended a Sunday concert which had a 50% probability of thunderstorms and didn’t get one drop of rain.

So you never know, but it’s a good idea to check online for up-to-minute weather information for Lenox.

Lawn tickets offer informal, relaxed seating (or reclining or sunbathing) in a beautiful outdoor setting while listening to a superb musical performance. Shed tickets and lawn tickets are both for serious music lovers, like my husband.

But lawn tickets work particularly well for less serious ones, like me, who most enjoy the music as background to a good book and think that a Sunday afternoon at Tanglewood is a sublime experience.

The Tanglewood summer schedule also offers a variety of performances featuring non-classical music as well as dance. At the time of this writing, James Taylor, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire and the Mark Morris Dance Group are all on the upcoming Tanglewood summer schedule. There are also fireworks on the 4th of July weekend.

If you have more time to spend in the Berkshires, there are other performances during the week at Tanglewood. Chamber concerts, small ensemble performances, and solo recitals are held in the stunning and acoustically magnificent Seiji Ozawa Hall, built in 1994. The back wall of the Hall opens up so that performances can be viewed from the lawn. If you get lawn tickets for evening concerts at the Seiji Ozawa Hall or the Shed, be sure to bring, in addition to your picnic supplies, a sweater and bug spray. You will notice the definite odor of citronella candles around you.

The Tanglewood grounds were enhanced in 1994 by a number of new buildings and building renovations. I take special pleasure in them because my former neighbor, the wonderful architect Catharine Verhulst, was co-principal designer for all the structures except Seiji Ozawa Hall. To name a few, the buildings include a music library, gift shop, cafe, and large restroom. With their airy, light, and modern yet rustic appearance, they fit perfectly with the grounds, almost blending into the trees.

Continue with more Tanglewood Music Festival tips and logistics.

If you missed the beginning of our Berkshires vacation section which also has an overview on the Tanglewood Music Festival, you can find it here.

Or find out about our family’s favorite area in The Berkshires to spend a few days while you enjoy the Tanglewood summer schedule: Great Barrington, MA.