• Susan Seligson

    Susan Seligson has written for many publications and websites, including the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Yankee, Outside, Redbook, the Times of London, Salon.com, Radar.com, and Nerve.com. Profile

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There are 9 comments on Advisory Panel to Weigh Future of Tanglewood Institute

  1. The words “scarce resources” and Boston University should never be used in the same sentence. I can’t even believe what I just read. Not sure what’s behind this but a program like this should not be on the chopping block.

  2. After over a decade of mismanagement at the School of Music, the fate of a program is being drilled down to an evaluation of the numbers. I truly hope the committee considers the context within which BUTI has operated, and understands how strengthening the College and the School in which it resides might yield a more financially sustainable program. BUTI and Tanglewood represent a prestige and opportunity, that once lost, will not be able to be replicated. If BU is serious about fine arts, BUTI should be supported even more, not eliminated.

  3. Given the enormous financial resources of the institution, I hope that BU will find a creative manner to support the Lenox location of BUTI. BU is also in the midst of a $1 billion dollar capital campaign. There should be at least a few alumni willing to cut a check for supporting BUTI in this iconic and world-class location.

    A final point… the cross subsidization of BUTI by other more “profitable” university units should not be considered odd. This is normal for any large non-profit whether it’s a hospital, university, etc. I think it comes down to commitment and priorities. I hope that the committee’s findings support a strategic reinvestment in BUTI, not cuts.




  4. You know…sometimes it is NOT all about the money. At a time when the performing arts are in jeopardy, it would be prudent of Boston University to be counted amongst those who actually support the performing arts. BUTI has a reputation for providing quality instrumental programs for young musicians. Surely Boston University sees the value in this.

  5. a few arguments not pointed out in this article:
    First of all, this program is part of history. I quote below from BU’s own literature regarding the program.

    “In 1966, the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf, invited Edward Stein, Dean of the Boston University College of Fine Arts, to create a summer training program for high school musicians as a counterpart to the BSO’s Tanglewood Music Center (TMC). Leinsdorf’s vision was of a program to challenge young musicians to perform at the highest level and allow them unprecedented access to the Tanglewood Music Festival. Stein approached Wilbur Fullbright, the newly appointed director of the Boston University School of Music at the College of Fine Arts. Fullbright’s enthusiasm for the project transformed Leinsdorf’s dream into reality, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute opened for its inaugural season in July 1966.”

    Such a prestigious selection for BU . How can anyone consider ending this legacy.

    Secondly, The article in BU Today did not stress the part of this program which is only possible if BUTI remains at the West St. campus. In addition to the BU programming which could exist anywhere, the uniqueness of the Tanglewood experience is the proximity to all the listening experiences offered without cost to these students. At no cost to them, BUTI students may attend all Boston Symphony concerts, all recitals by guest artists, all TMC concerts, and various rehearsals and Master Classes. This could not be replicated anywhere else.

    Thirdly, BU’s affiliation with this program puts it in the forefront of fostering the future of classical music for young people. As everyone knows, the public schools have cut back considerably on musical opportunities. I would hope BU would not do the same.

    Ways can be found to fund the renovations necessary to save the West St. Campus if it is a priority of your panel. I hope it will be.

  6. I attended BUTI (young artists orchestra) in the summers of 2007 and 2009. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The idea that others might not get to enjoy the same experience breaks my heart.

    It would be foolish of the university to consider this a “less profitable branch”. Such a program draws many new students to our university. I attended the summer before I started as a student in CFA and met a lot of the incoming class there. A program of this quality allows students the opportunity to play in an orchestra and in chamber groups with other high-level players their age, when many may not have played regularly with any group other than the school orchestra or band. It also introduces students to excellent instructors (most of whom TEACH HERE). Even students who only spend two weeks there in a workshop can meet the teacher they want to study with in college. This kind of environment is what inspires people to dedicate their lives to the music profession.

    It’s not exactly cheap for those attending, either. The current price to attend is $2805 for a 2-week program, $6580 for 6 weeks (the length of the majority of the programs) and $7490 for the full 8 weeks. It might cost slightly less than summer tuition on-campus, but the students are high school kids, so it should be.

    If you can’t look at it in anything other than financial terms (which would be a real shame), consider how many hundreds of thousands of dollars of future tuition would be lost to other schools if this program ceased to exist. Consider all the other music schools in the area – NEC, Boston Conservatory, Longy, Berklee, and all the universities with music programs within them – and realize that in order to compete, we need to keep bringing in high-level players. If we cut BUTI, our would-be BU students will do their pre-college networking in other programs with other teachers and end up elsewhere. We would lose our best student players to other schools, and the overall quality of the players here would drop over time. We are incredibly lucky to have some of the world’s best musicians teaching at this school, but even with great teachers, students don’t improve as much when they aren’t surrounded by people who play better than they do. It’s essential. You learn from your peers almost as much as you learn from your teacher, and that can make or break someone’s decision to attend one school over another.

    I would urge anyone with any power over the future of BUTI to take all of this into account and not to do anything rash. There are so many things all over campus that we don’t need. BUTI, however, is not something we can afford to cut.

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