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BSO Appoints Sue Elliott as Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of Sue Elliott as the inaugural Judith and Stewart Colton Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute. A new concept in cultural education that launches in summer 2019, the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) will bring together musicians, artists, academics, and patrons, in person and through online technology and distance learning, to engage in compelling programming that relates to and deepens the experience of Tanglewood concerts and classical music.

“Along with Ray and Maria Stata Music Director Andris Nelsons and the entire BSO family, I welcome Sue Elliott and the impressive insights and experience she brings to the new position of Judith and Stewart Colton Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute,” said BSO Eunice and Julian Cohen Managing Director Mark Volpe. “With Sue at the helm, the opening of TLI will be a transformative moment for Tanglewood as it introduces an entirely new element of enrichment programs, alongside Tanglewood’s traditional concert schedule, the fundamental offering of the festival since 1937.”

Ms. Elliott’s wide-ranging background—she has held high level creative, administrative, and academic positions at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Seattle Opera, and Houston Grand Opera—includes decades of experience in the fields of music education, community engagement, creative program building, and distance learning, making her the ideal person to take on the role of Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Sue Elliott has been working at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where she launched and led the world’s first online professional development, certificate, and accreditation program for private music teachers at all stages of their careers. Through this professional community of practice, thousands of teachers now call the Conservatory their partner in lifelong learning. As Director of Education at Seattle Opera from 2010 to 2015, Sue redesigned the company’s public programs, which tripled annual events and participants and significantly increased program revenue. She commissioned its first community-inspired new work, An American Dream, which premiered in August 2015. Sue also produced the most successful Ring Cycle Festival in the company’s history, in conjunction with Wagner’s 2013 bicentennial. A popular lecturer at home and abroad, she co-hosted Saturday Night Opera broadcasts on Classical King FM and served as an advisory board member for ArtsEd Washington, University of Washington School of Music, KING FM, the Seattle Science Festival, and OPERA America.

Prior to her tenure in the Pacific Northwest, Sue spent 10 years at Houston Grand Opera (HGO). There, she created the award-winning Song of Houston initiative, pairing notable mainstage and community based commissions from Christopher Theofanidis, Huang Ruo, Jake Heggie, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Jose “Pepe” Martínez, and others, with groundbreaking education and community projects. After 11 years and 20 new works—including The Refuge; Now & Then: the blues; the East + West chamber opera series; and sold-out performances of the world’s first mariachi opera in nine cities around the world—Song of Houston has engaged more than 100 collaborating organizations and 500,000 people. Sue arrived at HGO as a stage manager, after having served in that capacity at the Canadian Opera Company, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. She was the first Canadian recipient of an OPERA America fellowship in Production and Stage Management.

An accomplished clarinetist and pianist, Sue holds a Master of Music Performance degree from the University of Southern California, an Artist Diploma from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from McGill University.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the Judith and Stewart Colton Director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute,” Elliott said. “This unprecedented initiative, offering year-round in-person and online programming for adults, will inspire curiosity, facilitate exploration, and foster discovery. Through TLI, our participants will engage more personally with music, art, and ideas; with BSO artists, TMC Fellows and faculty, scholars from around the world, other audience members, and collaborating organizations; and with influential stories and ideas from the past and from our time and place.”

The first season of the Tanglewood Learning Institute will revolve around four different carefully structured and curated weekend programs to include all or any combination of the following: talks and lectures, film presentations, panel discussions, master class and rehearsal access, musical demonstrations, and workshops, as well as other related activities drawing upon the themes of the weekend’s musical performances, including concerts by the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras taking place in the Shed. Full program details about the launch of the Tanglewood Learning Institute will be announced in early 2019.

The programs of the Tanglewood Learning Institute will take place in the four-building center for music and learning opening in 2019; these new buildings will also support the many performance and rehearsal activities of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed academy for advanced musical training. Located on the Tanglewood grounds in close proximity to Ozawa Hall, these new highly sustainable climate-controlled buildings will be the first Tanglewood venues to be available for year-round use to accommodate events and concerts by the BSO and its cultural partners, as well as others in the Berkshire community, throughout Tanglewood’s off-season.

The opening of the new four-building center for music and learning and the Tanglewood Learning Institute in summer 2019 represent a major new investment by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the future of Tanglewood through the Tanglewood Forever campaign. Tanglewood Forever donors will help support the BSO’s investment by expanding expand the scope and breadth of the festival through a heightened commitment to the Tanglewood Music Center; enhancing audience experience with enrichment and education programs—both on-site and through distance learning—through the new Tanglewood Learning Institute; and broadening Tanglewood’s reputation as one of the world’s premier festivals and summer home of the BSO since 1937.

Tanglewood Forever News and Updates

Tanglewood Forever Campaign, Continuing Through August 31, 2019, Surpasses $64 Million Goal

The donor-funded Tanglewood Forever campaign, which continues through August 31, 2019, has surpassed its $64 million goal, raising $70 million as of July 8, 2019. Fundraising efforts—also in support of the new year-round programming opportunities made possible by Tanglewood’s first-ever four-season venue, the Linde Center—will continue past Tanglewood forever campaign completion.

March Construction Update

As the Linde Center rounds into its final form, the new Ozawa Hall Gate structures continue to come together, providing a new glimpse at Tanglewood's future.

January Construction Update

As the new studios at the Linde Center for Music and Learning are tuned and acoustically calibrated, the structures at the Ozawa Gate continue to take shape.

Donate Today

You can help the BSO ensure that Tanglewood remains vibrant and unique among summer festivals by supporting Tanglewood Forever. Donate online now, or contact the BSO Development Office at 617-638-9267 or for more information.