The season-long presence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra makes Tanglewood unique among summer music programs, and close collaboration between the BSO and the TMC is essential to the Instrumental Fellowship program. The TMC Orchestra performs under BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, as well as with guest conductors leading the BSO. BSO members are deeply involved in auditions, creating summer assignments, teaching in masterclasses, coaching in small ensembles and orchestra, and providing ongoing counsel. Fellows hear their BSO mentors perform and rehearse multiple programs each week. Front section seating is available to TMC Fellows for most BSO concerts, and BSO rehearsals are typically open to TMC Fellows, who have the option to observe on stage from within the orchestra. BSO members frequently play in with the TMC Orchestra, and the two ensembles play side-by-side each summer in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
All Fellows participate in substantial chamber music projects, coached by resident faculty, BSO members, and internationally renowned guests, such as Yo-Yo Ma, Thomas Adès, Emanuel Ax, and Pamela Frank. Violinists, violists, and cellists begin their summer with the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar. This intensive workshop is led by current and former members of the Juilliard String Quartet, along with TMC resident faculty, who teach in masterclasses and coach individual groups, culminating in a marathon concert. Double bass, woodwind, brass, & percussion players begin their summer with ensemble playing, including newly commissioned works for brass ensemble, woodwind ensemble, and double bass septet, plus an annual brass and percussion concert. All applicants should be aware of the TMC's considerable emphasis on contemporary music, featured prominently in recitals throughout the summer and particularly during the world-renowned Festival of Contemporary Music.
TMC Fellows have weekly classes with BSO members, resident faculty, and visiting artists. Classes focus on solo repertoire or excerpts, specific technical or artistic issues, or consist of reading sessions of standard orchestral repertoire. Mock auditions offer Fellows the chance to experience the pressure of auditioning for panelists from a major symphony orchestra and to receive immediate, direct feedback. Winners of the violin, viola, and cello mock auditions play in with the BSO during the summer, and all double bassists are granted the opportunity to play in. In the violin mentorship program, Fellows are split into small groups and assigned a BSO member as a mentor. Throughout the summer, mentors work with Fellows on orchestral repertoire and playing, and professional issues. A significant number of TMC Fellows go on to win positions with professional symphony orchestras in the year following their attendance at the TMC.