The Berkshires is a vibrant hub for the arts and is internationally recognized as home to some of the finest cultural attractions, museums and historical sites. Tucked in among the charming New England towns are world-class festivals and art centers that span the original and cutting-edge to the Old World. Year-round the Berkshires attracts almost three million visitors, many of whom have chosen the area as their ideal vacation retreat, and for good reason. In terms of food for the senses, there’s something wondrous about this place.
Tanglewood in Lenox is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where each year visitors relax under the sun and stars to enjoy music on the lawn, in the Koussevitzky Shed or in Seiji Ozawa Hall. Here acclaimed conductors, soloists and musicians flock to present many forms of music, from classical to contemporary to jazz. Baroque and classical music are also presented by the Aston Magna Festival in Great Barrington (America’s oldest annual summer festival), the Berkshire Choral Festival, Close Encounters with Music, the Butternut Summer Concerts, Richmond Performance Series, Sevenars Concerts, South Mountain Concerts, the Music and More Series, the Tanner Pond Concerts, the Taubman Institute & International Piano Festival, Opus Berkshires, Armstrong Chamber Concerts, the Williams College Department of Music performances, Williamstown Chamber Concerts and Berkshire Friends of Music.
If it’s jazz that moves you, come to the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, which caps the summer season for three days with renowned performers, and to the Williamstown Jazz Festival, where musicians, dancers, films and college jazz bands create a vivid spring event. The annual Berkshire Jazz Festival features greats such as Chuck Mangione, Maynard Ferguson and Spyro Gyra, performing on three stages at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington. The Berkshire Opera Company, also in Great Barrington, presents professional opera and two outstanding choruses: Berkshire Lyric Theatre and the Berkshire Choral Festival.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown is both an art museum and a research center that possesses rich collections of European and American art, and is perhaps best-known for its extraordinary collection of French Impressionist paintings. Surrounded by 140 acres of expansive lawns, meadows and walking trails, the Clark displays exceptional examples of European and American painting and sculpture, master prints and drawings, English silver and porcelain, and early photographs.
In North Adams, MASS MoCA’s 13-acre factory campus, with its enormous unobstructed indoor spaces, irregular courtyards, elevated walkways, towers and industrial buildings, presents modern works that have seldom, if ever, been exhibited because of size, materials or complex technological requirements. The world’s largest museum of modern art, MASS MoCA also embraces performing arts, new media, film and other formats to further physically engage and challenge the visitor.