Tanglewood and Marlboro

In the North American summer, New England comes alive with the best of symphonic, chamber and choral music at the Tanglewood and Marlboro festivals.

Begin at the Marlboro Festival in leafy Vermont, a chamber music retreat where gifted young musicians and master artists perform together under the directorship of Mitsuko Uchida.

Continue to the energetic Tanglewood Festival in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, for works of Beethoven to Bernstein and Bartók by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with visiting artists Yo-Yo Ma, Yefim Bronfman, Igor Levit and the Boston Ballet.

Between performances, explore the quaint towns and villages of New England, home of American poet Emily Dickinson and novelist Edith Wharton, and the renowned museums of MASS MoCA, Norman Rockwell and the Clark Art Institute.

Meet Damien and fellow music lovers at 10:00am at the Boston Park Plaza hotel, and depart for Brattleboro in the mountains of historic southern Vermont. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.

Check in to your hotel in the early afternoon for some time at leisure, followed by a welcome briefing and dinner. Afterwards, head to the intimate Marlboro College Dining Hall for the first of the weekend’s chamber performances. The works selected for the Marlboro Music Festival concerts are chosen only a week prior, nominated for performance by the young Marlboro artists and ensembles after several weeks of intense rehearsals.


Today, head south to Amherst, a university town of three liberal arts colleges. Enjoy a guided tour of the Emily Dickinson museum, birthplace and home to the 19th century poet.

In the evening, attend the second performance of the Marlboro Music Festival. Held at Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium, the selected works will again display the talents and finesse of Marlboro’s developing young artists.


Start today with a panel discussion with Damien and artists of the Marlboro Music Festival . Spend the remainder of the morning exploring the collection of art galleries, shops and boutiques within the township of Brattleboro.

In the afternoon, return to Persons Auditorium for a matinee chamber performance by Marlboro’s young musicians.


This morning, depart Brattleboro for Lenox in western Massachusetts. En route, visit MASS MoCA, a dynamic contemporary visual and performing arts museum developed in the mid-1980s. In the early afternoon arrive in Lenox, home of the Tanglewood Music Center and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

After dinner, join concert-goers for a performance by the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer academy for advanced young musicians, for a programme including Haydn’s Symphony No. 97 and Franz Schreker’s 1916 Chamber Symphony for 23 Instruments. With each part written as a solo part, including celeste, harmonium and harp, fragments of Schreker’s work will sound invitingly familiar to the later film scores of Max Steiner and Erich Korngold.


In the morning, attend a talk by Damien on the upcoming Tanglewood performances. Afterwards, travel to Naumkeag, a Gilded Age forty-four room “cottage” estate. Its imaginative landscape designs are amongst the most impressive in New England, with the Chinese Garden re-opened in 2016 by Yo-Yo Ma. Next, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, the largest collection of Rockwell’s paintings and illustrations.

In the evening, travel to the Tanglewood campus for a vocal performance in the Seiji Ozawa Hall.


Today, become acquainted with the grounds of Tanglewood with a guided walking tour of the campus including visits to the Koussevitzky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, with insights into the history of Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Visit the Hancock Shaker Village, a preserved Shaker town with working farm, historical buildings and collection of Shaker artefacts.

In the evening, attend a performance by pianist Igor Levit, and the New York based JACK Quartet. Works include Beethoven’s Variations and Fugue in E flat, commonly known as the Eroica Variations, and Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon for string quartet, piano and speaker. (B)

Begin today with a guided tour of ‘The Mount’, home of American author Edith Wharton, first female winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1921. Then, visit the Bauhaus-inspired Frelinghuysen Morris House, for a guided tour of the home and collection of American and European Cubist art.

Tonight’s performance will feature three piano quartets by Mahler, Mozart and Brahms played by the Skride Quartet, a young European-based ensemble of emerging chamber musicians.


Attend a pre-performance talk by Damien in the morning. Afterwards, travel to the Chesterwood Museum, the studio of 19th century American sculptor Daniel Chester French, best known for his design of the statue of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial. Enjoy a guided tour of the Clark Art Institute, featuring European and American artworks from the Renaissance to the early twenthieth century, with a notable collection of Impressionist works.

This evening begins with a “Prelude Concert” at Tanglewood, featuring members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Afterwards, enjoy a performance in the Koussevitzky Music Shed of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4, with pianist Yefim Bronfman and conducted by Andris Nelsons.


Arrive at Tanglewood this morning for an introductory talk by a staff member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, followed by the opportunity to listen in on the Orchestra’s rehearsal.

Return in the evening for a “Prelude Concert” by the Tanglewood Music Center. After, enjoy a fully staged production of Bernstein’s ballet Fancy Free with the Boston Ballet in collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The rest of the programme includes Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra, a work written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s centennial in 1980, and Serenade (after Plato’s “Symposium”), for violin and orchestra with soloist Baiba Skride.


After breakfast, travel to the Tanglewood campus for a morning chamber music performance by the Tanglewood Music Center.

In the afternoon, enjoy premium seats for the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert, featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra with guest cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The programme includes three influential American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, with Copland’s An Outdoor Overture, Bernstein’s Three Meditations from Mass, and a world premiere for cello and orchestra by John Williams. The performance ends with Bartok’s epic five-movement Concerto for Orchestra, which was premiered in 1944 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a farewell dinner with Damien and fellow travellers.


This morning, head south to New York City.

Tour arrangements conclude on arrival at the Lexington Hotel in New York City in the early afternoon. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your onward travel arrangements including accommodation and flights.


Per person, twin-share

AUD 12,500

Single supplement*

AUD 3,000

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 1,000

*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.

Final payment due

11 June 2018

Tour code


Fitness level

Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline

Qantas/Air New Zealand
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.


In order to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme, all Australian and New Zealand passport holders require an ESTA pre-authorisation application (completed online in advance of travel).

Tour price includes

  • Premium (category 1) tickets to all included performances
  • Pre-performance talks by your tour leader, Damien Beaumont
  • Accommodation in superior hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wines with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Transportation throughout on comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
  • Gratuities for local guides and drivers
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
  • ESTA Pre-Authorisation application to visit the USA
  • Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
  • Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, room service etc.
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contract Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Brattleboro, Vermont – Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites ****
Lenox, Massachusetts – Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort ****

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted


Marlboro Music Festival
Initiated in 1951 as a gathering place of 20th century musicians, conductors and composers, Marlboro has been named “the music world’s most coveted retreat”, providing a place for young musicians to rehearse and be mentored by senior artists. The Guarneri String Quartet in 1964 was the first major chamber ensemble to form at Marlboro, with other Marlboro participants later forming or joining renowned ensembles such as the Takáks, Orio, Mendelssohn, Emerson and Tokyo Quartets. Composers-in-residence over the years have included Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, George Crumb, Elliott Carter, and in 2017 Australian composer Brett Dean. Over eight weeks in summer, young Marlboro artists explore more than 250 works between sixty ensembles, later recommending works for performance. As such, concert repertoire and ensembles of the Festival are not known until a week prior, invigorating a sense of musical adventure and spontaneity. Among the works performed at the 2017 Marlboro Music Festival were Stravinksy’s Pulcinella Suite, piano quintets by Mozart and Shostakovich, and lieder by Brahms, Wagner and Mahler.

Tanglewood Music Festival
Held every summer on the Tanglewood estate since 1937, the Tanglewood Music Festival has become a perennial highlight of the international music calendar. Under the direction of Serge Koussevitzky, conductor from 1924 to 1949, the Boston Symphony Orchestra established the Tanglewood Music Festival as a world-class event, celebrated for its repertoire that connected classical works with the best of contemporary American and European music. The Tanglewood estate is also home to the Tanglewood Music Center, a summer academy for young musicians administered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Festival of Contemporary music directed by Thomas Adès. Regularly favourites of the Tanglewood Music Festival are performances by the Boston Pops and film music concerts.