PBS Great Performances to Feature Berkshires and Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Concert

It’s going to be a historic telecast, potentially one of the most popular in the Great Performances series which this summer tours the great summer festivals.

From the Berkshires, the Tanglewood Concert of July 14, 2012 will be taped ti air on Friday, August 19 (most stations). It is the 75th Anniversary Concert, with James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams, Keith Lockhart among the artists featured in this historic concert. Tanglewood is one of the world’s most beloved music festivals and serves as the summer home for the famed Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and is set right here, among those of us who live in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. You can find their complete day by day schedule in our Summer Calendar Section.

“Tanglewood 75th AnniversaryCelebration” will feature the BSO, the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, under the direction of conductors John Williams, Keith Lockhart and Andris Nelsons.

Performers will include pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and vocalist James Taylor, as well as the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor. The wide-ranging program, which will be taped on July 14, will include Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”; Leonard Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from On the Town; selections from the Great American Songbook; Franz Joseph Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D, 2nd and 3rd movements; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile for cello and strings; Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, for violin and orchestra; Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse”; and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.

“The BSO is one of the many great regional arts institutions to be featured on GREAT PERFORMANCES over its four decade history,” said David Horn, executive producer, GREAT PERFORMANCES. “GP has enjoyed a long association with the BSO and its summertime home at the Tanglewood festival, dating back to our extensive broadcast collaborations with Leonard Bernstein. We are delighted to return to Tanglewood for this 75th anniversary concert, which also represents a wonderful homecoming celebration for us.”

The Tanglewood concert is the seventh program in the PBS Arts Summer Festival, which includes documentaries from independent filmmakers that explore a wide spectrum of international art forms and offer an in-depth look at music, theater, art, architecture and cultural history from some of the world’s unique locations. Award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith will serve as weekly host for the Summer Festival, which begins Friday, June 29, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).

“Continuing on our commitment to bring the arts home for all Americans, we’re especially excited about the diverse and vibrant array of content this season viewers won’t find anywhere else,” said PBS Vice President of Programming, Donald Thoms. “From independent films featuring the art and architecture of the Middle East to the melodic sounds of South Texas mariachi musicians, the PBS Arts Summer Festival hostedby Anna Deavere Smith takes people beyond the spotlight of traditional arts programs, showcasing the scope of artistic mettle our world offers.”

So, you might be asking yourself, what other events are on the PBS docket for their Summer Arts Festivals series? It’s incredibly diverse, with Tanglewood the most traditional offering of the lot.

Broadcast date: Friday, June 29, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
MARIACHI HIGH spends a year in the life of the champion mariachi ensemble at Zapata High School as they compete and perform with astonishing musical virtuosity.

Broadcast date: Friday, July 6, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
Narrated by award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, ISLAMIC ART takes viewers to nine countries and across 1,400 years of cultural history to explore the astonishing artistic and architectural riches of this ancient religion.

Broadcast date: Friday, July 13, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
This profile of actor/playwright John Leguizamo looks at his unorthodox rise to success, while capturing his struggles to mount his latest one-man Broadway show and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at one of the industry’s most versatile actors.

Broadcast date: Friday, July 20, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
Architect Moshe Safdie’s extraordinary new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City provides the stunning backdrop for this performance-documentary profiling Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, the young musicians of the Kansas City Symphony and their vibrant artistic director and conductor Michael Stern.

Broadcast date: Friday, July 27, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
This music-documentary vibrates with the soul and energy of African-Cuban drummers, guajira guitarists, and the pulsing melodies of celebrated Cuban musician Raul Paz as he brings together fellow musical stars Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens for their first concert together for the Cuban people.

Broadcast date: Friday, August 3, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
For the first time, public viewers will get an exclusive look at Dr. Albert Barnes’ collection – thousands of magnificent works of art by some of the most famous names in art history, such as Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir and Matisse – and the new museum that now houses it.

Broadcast date: Friday, August 10, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET
The GREAT PERFORMANCES telecast of the “Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration” is made possible by the Irene Diamond Fund, The Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Victor and Sono Elmaleh, The Starr Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.

Anna Deavere Smith is well-known to television audiences for playing Gloria Akalitus on Showtime’s hit series “Nurse Jackie” and Nancy McNally on NBC’s “The West Wing.” But she made her name first in theater, where her acclaimed solo works explore American character and its multifaceted national identity. She has won numerous accolades, among them two Obies, two Tony nominations and a MacArthur fellowship. In her theater work, Smith is known for looking at controversial events from multiple points of view. She is author of the acclaimed plays Twilight: Los Angeles 1992Fires in the Mirror and House Arrest.  Her most recent, Let Me Down Easy – broadcast by GREAT PERFORMANCESon PBS this past January – tells the human side of the American health care story.

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