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Tanglewood music festival featured Friday on PBS with memories of Marvin Hamlisch

Dave Masko's picture

He once served as the “Pops Conductor” for the Tanglewood Music Festival making Friday’s PBS Arts Summer Festival concert that much more special for fans of the late Marvin Hamlisch.

The sudden death of famed composer Marvin Hamlisch Aug. 6 – who served as pops conductor at the popular Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts – shocked fans; while they will no doubt hear Hamlisch music during Friday’s close of the popular PBS Arts Festival that airs from Tanglewood Friday, Aug. 10, at 9/8c; while PBS advises viewers to check their local station for full broadcast information. In turn, fans of good music will be treated to appearances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the Boston Pops, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra — led by conductors John Williams, Keith Lockhart and Andris Nelsons — and iconic Tanglewood artists Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Peter Serkin and James Taylor.

Music that Marvin Hamlisch played featured Friday

The wide-ranging Tanglewood Concert program - which was taped July 14 – also includes 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 PBS Arts Summer Festival also ends its seasonal run on PBS with this Tanglewood Concert; while producers stated that the goal of the arts festival was to “expand the scope and diversity of the arts on television, with a multi-part weekly series and new original online content that takes viewers across the country and around the world.”

The festival is hosted by the award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Devere Smith who’s best known from her roles on “Nurse Jackie” and “The West Wing.”

At the same time, producers note on the PBS website that although this Tanglewood Concert was taped for airing Aug. 10 on the PBS Arts Summer Festival, there’s many music compositions that will remind fans of the late Marvin Hamlisch who collapsed after a brief illness and died on Monday in Los Angeles.

Hamlisch played Tanglewood back in the early 1990’s

Fans of the legendary Tanglewood Music Festival – located in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts – will not forget when the “great Marvin Hamlisch played Tanglewood in 1993,” writes a fan commenting on the recent death of this famed American composer. “Next to John Williams, Mr. Hamlisch was a wonderful Boston Pops conductor and we will miss him dearly.”

In turn, other reaction to the death of composer Marvin Hamlisch runs the gamet from memories of “The Way We Were” – that’s become a staple during numerous “Pops concerts” on PBS when everyday Americans can watch this famed music master conduct concerts that they would never be able to afford or see without PBS.

At the same time, Hamlisch was a staunch supporter of the arts on PBS, and the airing of the Tanglewood Music Festival just days after the master’s passing is “bittersweet, and special for music lovers,” stated another fan in a blog posting about Hamlisch’s recent passing.

Hamlisch claimed Tanglewood as one of his "Pops" stops

In addition to conducting at the Tanglewood Music Festival – that’s featured Friday on PBS – Hamlisch also held the position of “Principal Pops Conductor” for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra Pops and the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, states the official biography for Hamlilsch.

Meanwhile, fans of both the Tanglewood Music Festival and PBS "Pops" concerts, can search the PBS TV program website for various performances by Hamlisch when he conducted numerous concert programs that aired on public broadcasting.

Hamlisch was also featured on the PBS "American Masters" TV series; while an encore presentation of his life story will be announced shortly by PBS.

Hamlisch died Aug. 6, in Los Angeles, at age 68, following a brief illness, reported the L.A. Times Aug. 7; while quoting Barbra Streisand stating that "his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around."

At the same time – in pointing to classic American music venues such as the Tanglewood Music Festival – Hamlish is credited with leaving an original mark on American music while “adding to the great American songbook with works he himself composed.”

Image source of the late Marvin Hamlisch conducting. He was one of only 11 people to have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony; while also winning two Golden Globes and a Pulitzer Prize. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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