Boston Symphony Orchestra: Feasibility Study and Plan for Tanglewood Learning Institute

BU Tanglewood Institute
Image of String Quartet Playing Outdoors
Photo: Strafton McCrady

Team: Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert

In order to enhance the summer program offerings at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the Orchestra contracted with WolfBrown to assist in a feasibility study and plan for a Tanglewood Learning Institute. The Institute was to provide a variety of adult education experiences utilizing the considerable musical and intellectual resources of the Tanglewood campus.  The result of the plan included a comprehensive model program that has exceeded all initial expectations, housed in the first new building constructed at Tanglewood for many years.

A Working Group of BSO staff and board members oversaw the planning process, which included the development of a concept paper, follow-up interviews, a facility review, a demand survey that went to over 120,000 Tanglewood audience members and over 3,700 amateur musicians, and two focus group sessions. Based on potential audience interest revealed in the surveys, WolfBrown provided a multi-year plan for a Tanglewood Learning Institute that included different operating and financial scenarios (ranging from a relatively small program to one that was considerably more ambitious).  Also included was a marketing plan, an initial space needs assessment (resulting in the plan for a new building), and several proposed program offerings derived in part from the focus group sessions.