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The Tanglewood Music Center

Instrumental Fellowships

TMC Fellows experience the dedicated mentorship of Boston Symphony musicians, orchestral performances under the batons of world-renowned conductors, in-depth study of chamber music, & weekly masterclasses led by BSO members, resident faculty, & guest artists.
"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)

Orchestra

The season-long presence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra makes Tanglewood unique among summer music programs. The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO) performs under BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons and the other distinguished conductors leading the BSO at Tanglewood. BSO mentors shepherd the entire life cycle 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 TMC Orchestra, and the two ensembles play side-by-side each summer in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

In 2022, TMCO performances will include MAHLER Symphony No. 5 plus STRAUSS Death and Transfiguration and Salome's Dance with Andris Nelsons.


Chamber Music

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, and Emanuel Ax. Violinists, violists, and cellists begin their summer with the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar. This intensive workshop of coachings and masterclasses is led by current members of the Juilliard String Quartet and TMC resident faculty, and 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 world-renowned Festival of Contemporary Music.


Masterclasses

TMC Fellows have weekly classes with BSO members, resident faculty, and visiting artists. Classes 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 masterclass 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)