BSO Cancels 2020 Tanglewood Summer Live Performance And Education Programs

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's 2020 Tanglewood live performance and education programs, scheduled to take place June 19-Aug. 27, have been canceled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the orchestra announced Friday, May 15.

"All of us at the Boston Symphony Orchestra deeply wish we could have found a way to present performances at Tanglewood this summer," BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe said in a statement. "We explored every possible scenario to try to save all or part of our concert schedule, but with the health of the greater Tanglewood community as our highest priority, performances with audiences are not possible."

In lieu of the live events, the season offerings will now take place virtually through an online festival. Performances will include audio and video streams of both previously recorded and new content to be recorded at Tanglewood's Linde Center this June and July, and will feature artists and programs originally scheduled as part of the 2020 season.

The BSO began offering music performances online at the end of March after it was forced to cancel concerts and close Symphony Hall. "One of the ironies for us is we're now reaching more people now, and in the last two months we've had over 6 million views," Volpe said in an interview with WBUR.

While much of the content will be free, some of the concerts will be available for a fee. Volpe said that since the first cancellations, the BSO has lost roughly $25 million in earned income. In April, the organization furloughed 70 of it's 300 full-time employees. The BSO's musicians unanimously agreed to take salary cuts through the end of August.

Tanglewood, founded in 1937, usually draws 340,000 people to the Berkshires in the summer. The festival has been canceled only once before, in 1945, due to World War II.

Some of the artists scheduled to perform in this summer's popular music concerts have already been rescheduled for 2021, including Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie.

Tanglewood's grounds will be open to the public on weekends during July and August. Visitors are asked to register in advance.



More from WBUR

Listen Live