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Berkshires, Massachusetts

Berkshire County: Classical Music

The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts are home to some of New England’s most charming and scenic villages, and for nearly three million people a year it proves to be the ideal spot to escape the city crowds. It’s no wonder then that many of the world’s top classical musicians also choose to get away from their busy city lives and relax among the rolling mountains and peaceful rivers here. Perfectly situated between Boston and New York City, the Berkshires draw top talent from around the world, providing a chance to experience extraordinary world-class performances often in more relaxed, intimate, and unconventional environments. It might be sitting on a picnic blanket under the stars while listening to the Boston Symphony at its summer home here at Tanglewood, or relaxing beside a cozy fire for a midwinter concert with some of classical music’s rising young talents, or perhaps absorbing the history of the world’s longest running summer music festival devoted to performing on period instruments at the Aston Magna Music Festival. Whatever your ideal musical experience, you can find it here in the Berkshires, one of the world’s top classical music getaways. (Meg Reilly)

Berkshires Classical Music: Classical Music Around Berkshires

Below are our Berkshires Classical Music recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, ensemble/venue history and other points of interest in Berkshires Art.

Aston Magna

(June – July) Founded in 1972, the Aston Magna Festival is the oldest annual summer festival in America devoted to to music performed on period instruments. Some of the highlights of this historic festival have included the first complete performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and the first Mozart symphonies to be heard on period instruments in America. Each summer, Aston Magna performs at a number of venues in the greater …more…

Berkshire Choral Festival (Sheffield, MA)

(July 8 – August 5, 2012) This six-week festival — which offers weeklong programs in Vancouver and Salzburg in addition its “singing vacation” weeks in Sheffield, Massachusetts — has afforded experienced singers the experience of rehearsing and performing choral masterworks since 1982. Choral conductor apprenticeships and the undergraduate Berkshire Scholar program are also available for young adults. ...more...

Chamber Music Conference & Composers’ Forum of the East (Bennington, VT)

(July 15 – August 12, 2012) Having been in existence for more than 65 years, this distinctive conference at Vermont’s Bennington College is focused on the development of amateur chamber musicians. The conference prides itself on its ability to be customized to best suit the musical needs of the individual participants. While numerous coachings and informal playing opportunities are made available to the musicians — including the Composers’ Forum, which pairs a chamber ensemble with a composer and his or her new commission — all concerts and seminars are free to the public. ...more...

Marlboro Music (Marlboro, VT)

(July 14 – August 12, 2012) Started in 1951 by pianist Rudolf Serkin, the chamber music festival Marlboro Music has been the summer home of collaboration between established leading musicians and young professionals. Highlighted composers have included Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, and Shostakovich. ...more...