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TMC Concert recordings

TMC Concert recordings

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TMC Concert recordings, 1963-Present

Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives
301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115

Creation: Machine-readable finding aid created using oXygen XML Editor sofware
Date of source: 2017-01
Finding Aid encoded by Karen Bailor, 2017-01
Language: Description is in English.

Call No.TMC-AV
TitleTMC Concert recordings,
Dates: 1963-Present
CreatorBoston Symphony Orchestra Tanglewood Audio Department
ContributorMartyn, Timothy
ContributorNewton, John
ContributorPhoenix Audio, LLC
Approximately 106 cubic feet
Location: Multiple locations
RepositoryBoston Symphony Orchestra Archives
301 Massachusetts Ave. Boston, MA 02115
Language of Material All materials are in English.
Abstract:This collection contains audio recordings generated by the Tanglewood Audio Department in order to document concerts, rehearsals, forums, and other events taking place at Tanglewood under the auspices of or at venues associated with the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) between 1963 and the present. The collection also includes non-TMC events held in TMC campus venues, including the Theatre-Concert Hall, the Chamber Music Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall. Materials include reel-to-reel tapes, digital audio tapes (DATs), compact discs, and digital files.

Administrative History

History of the Tanglewood Audio Department

The production of concert recordings at Tanglewood venues began in the 1960s. Recordings were originally created by audio engineers employed by WCRB, the Boston local classical music radio station. They were in residence at Tanglewood each summer to broadcast BSO concerts taking place in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. At that time, TMC concerts were not recorded or broadcasted regularly, so recordings are only available for a select few dates until the 1970s. The relationship between WCRB and the Boston Symphony Orchestra with regards to these recordings shifted in the late 1960s as the demand for recordings increased.

In 1969, John Newton began working as an Audio Engineer for WCRB, providing audio support for the Tanglewood Music Center for one concert per week (typically the orchestral concert on Sunday afternoons). With the rise in popularity of contemporary music and the increased need for audio assistance created by the popularity of the Festival of Contemporary Music in the early 1970s, Harry Kraut, Tanglewood Administrator, negotiated with Richard Kaye at WCRB to hire John Newton as the official Audio Engineer at Tanglewood in 1971, effectively establishing the Tanglewood Audio Department. Newton grew the department through the 1970s, incorporating more cassette equipment, which enabled TMC students to get listening copies of the concert recordings, and hiring an assistant, Tim Martyn, in 1983, who would eventually succeed him.

In 1985, Tim Martyn, an audio producer and engineer educated at the Juilliard School, was appointed as Director of Audio (later referred to as the Technical Director and Chief Engineer of the Tanglewood Audio Department) at Tanglewood. For each year after, Martyn was contracted to serve as an audio contractor for ten to eleven weeks during the summer Tanglewood festival. In 1987, Martyn founded New York-based Classic Sound, Inc. to provide remote recording and production services. In 1993, Martyn merged Classic Sound, Inc. with Labyrinth Sound, another New York-based company formed by Tom Lazarus. Martyn and Lazarus acted as Managing Partners at Classic Sound, Inc. until 2001, when Martyn formed Phoenix Audio, LLC, a New Jersey-based company aimed at location recording of classical music. Martyn renewed his contract with the BSO under the new business, Phoenix Audio, LLC, in 2002. Through agreements with these two companies over the years, Martyn has continued to act as the Technical Director of the Tanglewood Audio Department from 1987 to the present, producing and engineering audio recordings of performances in the Koussevitzky Music Shed; TMC concerts in the Tanglewood-Theatre Concert Hall, the Chamber Music Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall; Festival of Contemporary Music concerts and related preludes; and occasional rehearsals for commercial and non-commercial broadcast, internal use, and archival use. Continuing John Newton’s practice, Tim Martyn also distributed TMC recordings to performers and faculty for study.

Prior to the establishment of the BSO Archives, the tapes were held in various storage facilities in and around Symphony Hall. In the 1990s, the TMC tapes were relocated to the Archives where they could be preserved and made available for research. Since 2001, new TMC recordings have been made available to the BSO on CD-Rs, which are distributed to the Archives, the Artistic Administration, and the Tanglewood Music Center Director.

History of Tanglewood

In the spring of 1934, American composer/conductor Henry K. Hadley determined to establish a summer concert series in the Berkshires on the Dan Hanna property in Stockbridge. Gertrude Robinson Smith, a Berkshire summer resident from New York, acted as the local organizer for the series. The first Berkshire Symphonic Festival was held August 23rd, 25th, and 26th of 1934, with Hadley conducting 65 members of the New York Philharmonic. Due to its success, the organizers incorporated the Berkshire Symphonic Festival for the following year, during which Henry Hadley returned with 85 members of the New York Philharmonic. Determined to continue with the Festival in 1936 despite Hadley’s health issues and complications with musical programming, the organizers invited the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its conductor, Serge Koussevitzky, to perform. The 1936 concerts took place at Holmwood, a former Vanderbilt estate on the boundaries of Stockbridge, Lenox, and Lee. In late 1936, Mrs. Gorham Brooks and her aunt, Miss Mary Aspinwall Tappan, offered their 210 acre estate – Tanglewood – as a gift to the BSO, thus providing a permanent home for the Festival, and ensuring the BSO’s future role in it.

The Koussevitzky Music Shed, 1938-

At the Festival’s new home at Tanglewood, the 1937 concerts took place under an enormous tent; however, on August 12th, 1937, a severe thunderstorm disrupted the performance, prompting Festival President Gertrude Robinson Smith to initiate an on-the-spot fundraising drive for a permanent waterproof structure. Finnish-born architect Eliel Saarinen was selected by Koussevitzky but proposed an elaborate design that went far beyond the Festival’s immediate needs. After his second modified plan was rejected because it exceeded the $100,000 budget, Saarinen gave up on the project, and Joseph Franz, Stockbridge engineer and Festival Trustee, simplified the plans and oversaw the “Shed” to completion. The first concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed took place on August 4, 1938.

The Tanglewood Music Center, 1940-

In light of the donation of the Tanglewood estate to the BSO in 1937, Koussevitzky decided to pursue his dream to establish a music school, convincing BSO Trustees that a summer school in connection with the Festival would fulfill a vital musical need for America and bring the orchestra new importance and prestige. In 1940, Koussevitzky began assembling a faculty in composition, operatic and choral activities, and instrumental performance, first engaging composers Aaron Copland and Paul Hindemith to form the composition department of the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC). The TMC now offers 8-week summer programs in Instrumental, Vocal Arts, Composition, Conducting, Piano Activities, and Orchestra Library education, and it is the only summer music program in the U.S. with a major symphony orchestra taking up permanent residence and assuming an active role in the instruction of emerging musicians. The TMC has continued to flourish since the 1940s, and, with the exception of three years during World War II (1943-1945), the Music Center has operated continuously since its opening. Gunther Schuller served as the Music Center’s Artistic Director from 1975 to 1984, followed by Leon Fleisher from 1985 to 1997. Ellen Highstein was appointed Director of the Music Center in 1997 and currently serves in that capacity.

The composition department gave young composers the opportunity to have their works performed by members of the Music Center, and a number of them returned over the years to serve as faculty members themselves such as Foss, Druckman, Knussen, Antoniou, Golijov, and Gandolfi. Often called the Dean of American Composers, Copland headed the composition department, serving as chairman of the Faculty for 25 years. Gunther Schuller succeeded Copland as head of composition, followed by Michael Gandolfi, who is the current Composition Program Head.

The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO), consisting of TMC Instrumental Fellows, has been led primarily by BSO music directors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Erich Leinsdorf, Seiji Ozawa, and James Levine; and TMC faculty members, including Leonard Bernstein, Richard Burgin, Gustav Meier, Leon Fleischer. Beginning with the class of 1940, Koussevitzky also allowed select Conducting Fellows, including Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Richard Bales, Thor Johnson and Gaylord Browne, the opportunity to conduct the TMCO. To this day, aspiring conductors gain practical experience by conducting the TMCO. Starting in the late 1970s, BSO guest conductors also worked with the TMCO, providing the students with a wider range of experience.

In 1941, an official branch dedicated specifically to chamber music studies was established at the TMC, led by Gregor Piatigorsky. The newly built Chamber Music Hall and Theatre-concert Hall provided designated rehearsal and performance space. Chamber music thrived under the leadership of Gregor Piatigorksy, Richard Burgin, William Kroll, Gilbert Kalish, and Joel Smirnoff, along with coaches including BSO musicians, prominent contemporary composers, and other outside faculty.

Tanglewood Operas

A component of Koussevitzky’s plan for the Music Center was to include festive musical plays and scenic oratorios in an open-air theatre to be built on the slope of the Tanglewood property leading down to the lake. In 1939, Koussevitzky met with Herbert Graf, stage director of the Metropolitan Opera, to collaborate in the creation of an Opera department at the TMC, which opened in 1940 with Graf as the head, assisted by Boris Goldovsky and Richard Rychtarik. Opera scenes were performed in the gardens the first year, and then inside the newly built Theatre Concert Hall in 1941 and 1942. In 1946, Boris Goldovsky became the department head, beginning a 15 year period during which his pioneering program blossomed into an important training ground for opera in North America.

The Theatre-Concert Hall, 1941-

The Theatre-Concert Hall opened on July 13, 1941. The need for a theater capable of accommodating opera productions was obvious during the Music Center’s first season, when Handel’s Acis and Galatea was performed outdoors. Present at that performance was Mrs. Louis Curtis Bok, founder of the Curtis Institute, who pledged $10,000 toward construction of a Theatre-Concert hall. The 1200 seat structure was designed by Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero. The Theatre-Concert Hall served as the center of Music Center Activities until 1994 when Seiji Ozawa Hall and the Leonard Bernstein campus were completed.

Paul Fromm and the Festival of Contemporary Music

Since its earliest days, the TMC has provided a forum for discussion and experimentation in contemporary music. Beginning in 1956, Chicago businessman Paul Fromm, through his Fromm Foundation, began to underwrite dedicated new music programs and sponsoring the Fromm Players, a group of student performers concentrating on new music. In 1964, Erich Leinsdorf transformed these programs into what became known as the Festival of Contemporary Music (FCM). Over the years the range of FCM programming has reflected the broad taste and curiosity of its curators, which have included Gunther Schuller, Bruno Maderna, Oliver Knussen, John Harbison, Reinbert de Leeuw, Tan Dun, Bright Sheng, Robert Spano, Stefan Asbury, Augusta Read Thomas, Charles Wuorinen, George Benjamin, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, James Levine, and Michael Gandolfi.

Seiji Ozawa Concert Hall, 1994-

A Gala Opening Concert on July 7, 1994 inaugurated Tanglewood’s new concert hall named in Seiji Ozawa’s honor. Designed by the architectural firm William Rawn Associates in collaboration with acoustician R. Lawrence Kirkegaard and Associates, Seiji Ozawa Hall was the first concert facility to be constructed at Tanglewood in more than fifty years. The centerpiece of the Leonard Bernstein Campus, it became the new home for the Tanglewood Music Center, as well as a venue for recitals, prelude concerts, and recordings. Located on the Highwood estate adjacent to Tanglewood, which the BSO purchased in 1986, the concert hall is situated on the gentle slope of the southeastern section of the property so that outside listeners have a perfect view of the performers on stage.


Scope and Content

This collection contains audio recordings of approximately 2000 concerts, rehearsals, and speeches recorded by the Tanglewood Audio Department between 1963 and the present. Recordings were produced for performances taking place in the Tanglewood Chamber Music Hall, Tanglewood Theatre-Concert Hall, Koussevitzky Music Shed, and Seiji Ozawa Hall as well as for smaller performances taking place in the West Barn and the Tent Club at Tanglewood. The collection includes concerts performed by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO) and the TMC Chamber ensembles as well as those performed as part of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI); the TMC’s annual Tanglewood on Parade; and the annual Festival of Contemporary Music (FCM), which include performances by the members of the TMC, Collage, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Bang on a Can, the Tokk Ensemble, Emerson String Quartet, Boston Music Viva, and Netherlands Wind Ensemble.

Some recordings document opera performances given as part of the FCM, including a performance of Lukas Foss’ opera Griffelkin on July 7, 2002. Recordings of remarks by Henry Cabot, Erich Leinsdorf, and Thomas D. Perry at the Opening Exercises of the Tanglewood Music Center in the 1960s are also included. Despite being unrelated to TMC activities, prelude concerts by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and guest artist recitals are also included in the physical series when such concerts were performed in the Theatre-Concert Hall and Seiji Ozawa Hall; however, these recordings were not digitized for inclusion in the online digital collection since they are not recordings pertaining directly to the TMC.

Materials include reel-to-reel audio tapes dating from 1963 to 1993; digital audio tapes (DATs) dating from 1994 to 2000; compact discs (CDs) dating from 2001 to the present; and digital WAV and MP3 surrogate files created from the original analog formats dating from 1963 to 2015.

Arrangement of the Collection

This collection is arranged chronologically into 4 series based upon the recording format used by the Audio Department. (1) TMC-AV 452, TMC Concert Recordings on Reel-to-Reel tape, 1963-1993; (2) TMC-AV 451, TMC Concert Recordings on DAT, 1994-2006; (3) TMC-AV 449, TMC Concert Recordings on CD, 2001-Present; and (4) TMC Concert Recordings, Digital Surrogates, 1963-2015. Series 4 contains MP3 files created for web access via the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Digital Collections web page as well as WAV files created for digital preservation.


Sound recordings


Chamber music groups
Chamber-orchestra music
Choral music
Commissioned works
Composition (Music)
Instrumental music
Tanglewood Music Center Chamber Concerts
Tanglewood Music Center opening exercises
Tanglewood Music Center opera performances
Tanglewood Music Center rehearsals
Tanglewood on Parade
Vocal music

Corporate Subjects

Boston University Tanglewood Institute
Festival of Contemporary Music
Fromm Festival
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra
Tanglewood Music CenterVocal Department


Conditions Governing Access

TMC-AV 449 is open for listening on-site at the BSO Archives. For the Tanglewood Music Center Digital Audio Collection, we selected the following concert types for digitization: Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra performances, Opening Exercises, Festival of Contemporary Music performances, Tanglewood on Parade performances, and performances of works by Composition Fellows. We did not digitize BSO prelude performances or guest artist recital performances (unless such performances happened to be part of the overall Festival of Contemporary Music or Tanglewood on Parade performances).

Any audio that contains performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, or the Boston Pops Orchestra are masked from public access. In order to access TMC-AV 453 streaming audio available on the BSO Archives Digital Collections, users are asked to create a free account on WorldCat and submit a request form to the BSO Archives staff.

Physical and Technical Access

Reel-to-Reel recordings that have already been digitized are currently stored off-site at Iron Mountain. Advanced notice is required to access the original, analog tapes for these concerts.

MP3 files stream directly over the web via ContentDM on the BSO Archives Digital Collections page, so no software is necessary to access the digital files. It is recommended that users have a strong internet connection to stream the audio files without interruption. Digital preservation WAV files must be accessed on-site at the BSO Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives for information regarding use of this collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[TITLE OF ITEM], TMC Concert recordings, Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives, Symphony Hall, Boston, MA. Accessed on [DATE].

Acquisition Information

Materials from prior to 1990 were transferred to the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives by Tanglewood Audio Department staff in 1989. All other materials were transferred to the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives by Tanglewood Audio Department staff regularly from 1990 to the present.

Processing Information

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by: Karen Bailor

Date completed: January, 2017

Appraisal History

781 TMCO, Opening Exercises, and FCM concert recordings on Reel-to-Reel tapes and DATs, spanning 1963 to 2015, were reformatted for preservation and access in 2015 as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Grammy Foundation.

Analog recordings were transferred to CD by the Library of Congress, George Blood Audio, and in-house by BSO audio before digitization by in-house BSO Archives staff.

Related Material

TMC-AV 61 Audiovisual Cassette Collection—This collection includes audio and video cassettes of performances and events recorded live at Tanglewood between 1973 and 1981.

BSTT 440 Boston Symphony Transcription Trust audio recordings—Series 3, Tanglewood Chamber Music audio recordings (“T Series”) includes radio broadcasts of recitals and chamber concerts at Tanglewood between 1962 and 1965.

Separated Material

Reel-to-Reel tapes that have been digitized and made available in the Digital Collections are stored off-site at Iron Mountain.

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