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Tanglewood Music Center

Instrumental Fellowships

Instrumental fellows experience dedicated mentorship from Boston Symphony musicians and guest faculty, orchestral performances under the batons of BSO Music Director and Head of Conducting at Tanglewood Andris Nelsons and world-renowned guest conductors, in-depth study of chamber music, and weekly masterclasses.

Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra

The season-long presence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra makes Tanglewood unique among summer music programs. The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO) performs each season under BSO Music Director and Head of Conducting at Tanglewood Andris Nelsons as well as distinguished guest conductors. BSO mentors shepherd the entire experience of a Fellow, adjudicating auditions, tailoring seatings and assignments to each fellow, coaching in orchestra and small ensembles, and providing ongoing counsel and support. Fellows hear their BSO mentors perform multiple programs each week and have the opportunity to observe rehearsals from the stage. BSO members frequently play in with the TMCO, and the two orchestra play side-by-side each summer in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture during Tanglewood on Parade.

"I had been to other festivals, but Tanglewood showed me what it's like to play in a professional level orchestra, because the student orchestra there is a professional level orchestra."

- BSO Principal Bass Edwin Barker, TMC 1975

2024 TMCO programs will include:

  • IVES Three Places in New England, SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5 and STRAUSS Also Sprach Zarathustra with BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons
  • STRAVINSKY Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Symphony in Three Movements with Dima Slobodeniouk
  • DUTILLEUZ Métaboles and HAYDN Symphony No. 90 with Alan Gilbert
  • PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5 with Hannu Lintu

Chamber Music

All Fellows participate in substantial chamber music projects, coached by resident faculty, BSO members, and internationally renowned guests.

Violinists, violists, and cellists begin their summer with the String Quartet Seminar. This intensive workshop of coachings and masterclasses culminates in a marathon concert.

Double bass, woodwind, brass, and 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.

The TMC places a considerable emphasis on contemporary music, both in recitals throughout the summer and particularly during the Festival of Contemporary Music.


Fellows have weekly masterclasses with BSO members, resident faculty, and visiting artists. Masterclasses focus on solo repertoire, excerpts, technical problems, 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 perform with the BSO during the summer, and all double bassists are granted the opportunity to play in.

A significant number of TMC Fellows go on to win positions with professional symphony orchestras in the year following their attendance at the TMC.

“When I give a class or do a coaching, I am not really coaching students….These musicians are a few years away from being my colleagues.”

- BSO Associate Principal Timpanist Daniel Bauch, TMC 2001-02