Everything You Need to Know About the South Mountain Concerts

The South Mountain Concerts in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, are a favorite musical endeavor for locals and visitors to the Berkshires alike. This venue offers great chamber music concerts and has a rich local history. From its beginnings in the early 1900s as a performance hall to its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, this building has always supported chamber music. Indulge in a piece of the past along with some local history during your stay in the Berkshires at the Brook Farm Inn! Here is everything you need to know about the South Mountain Concert Hall and South Mountain Concerts coming up this year.

South Mountain Concert Hall History

The host of the South Mountain Concerts is the famous historic venue, South Mountain Concert Hall. This performance hall was built in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1918 by Chicago native Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Coolidge moved to the Berkshires to improve her husband’s health and was a long-time supporter of chamber music. She was, in fact, a patron of the art, establishing the Berkshire String Quartet, which first gave concerts in her own home. Just two years later, Coolidge had a performance hall constructed on her property.

This performance hall was assembled to resemble a church, featuring a cupola on the roof, along with a porte cochere (carriage porch). The timber for the performance hall was taken from an old textile mill, and the seats were pews taken from a church. Coolidge also had cabins built for housing for the performers. Thus, the South Mountain Performance Hall became the venue for the very first South Mountain Concerts. In 1973, the hall was initiated on the National Register of Historic Places.

2016 South Mountain Concerts

The slated 2016 South Mountain Concerts will take place in September and October. These prestigious chamber music performances will feature some premier artists. The schedule includes a show on every Sunday from September 4 to October 9. The South Mountain Concerts kick off with Wu Han on piano, David Finckel on cello, and Philip Setzer on violin. This trio will be performing on September 4. The Juilliard String Quartet will then be playing on September 11. Tickets range between $35 and $40 per show. Next up will be the Dover String Quartet on September 18, followed by the Emerson String Quartet on September 25. The Johannes String Quartet and Richard Stoltzman on clarinet will finish up the South Mountain Concerts this fall on October 9.

After the South Mountain Concerts

After enjoying these exclusive South Mountain Concerts, explore the rest of the culture that the Berkshires has to offer. Indulge in a spa experience at Brook Farm Inn to relax and rejuvenate. Then, explore the area with a hiking trip or enjoy more performance art with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. When you arrive back at Brook Farm Inn, you will experience a great night’s sleep before waking up to gourmet breakfast in the morning. We can’t wait to see you here in the beautiful Berkshires. For more to do and see in the area, download our free vacation guide!

What is So Fascinating About the Lenox Library?

The Lenox Library is a historic landmark, hosted in a 200-year-old courthouse building since 1874. The library itself has a rich history, from its famous visitors to its special collections, featuring the Tanglewood Papers. The Lenox Library also hosts modern youth programs and a distinguished lecture series, which keep the library active in the community while also continuing a tradition in furthering the literary and intellectual.

200-year-old Courthouse Building

Since 1874, the Lenox Library has been housed in the same building, which is now designated a National Register Historic Building. The Greek Revival structure with magnificent ionic columns, elaborate cupola, and a stately facade, was constructed on Main Street in 1815-1816. Designed by Captain Isaac Damon, it served as the county courthouse until 1868. Adeline Schermerhorn bought the building shortly after in 1871 specifically to use as a public library and reading room for the residents of Lenox. The Lenox Library Association, which was incorporated in 1856, moved into the courthouse building in 1874. It shared the space in the 1890s with Lenox’s town doctor, a jail, offices for the Lenox National Bank, as well as the town’s first telephone switchboard and fire alarm system.

Famous Associates

The Lenox Library had a strong relationship with surrounding cottages. From the mid-1800s to early 1900s, famous tenants took summer vacations in the surrounding homes. Some of these characters included the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Morgans, Sloanes, and Westinghouses. Their summer homes in Lenox gave the area an established reputation for housing culture and style. During these years, the Lenox Library was a civic center for the entire community.

Music Collection

The Tanglewood Papers are housed at the Lenox Library. These historic papers document the history of the Berkshire Symphonic Festival and Berkshire Music Center before the founding of Tanglewood, as well as the official founding of Tanglewood and its music pavilion, The Shed. The collection is available through appointment with the music and reference librarian.

Youth Programs

The Lenox Library is a great resource for kids, hosting several youth programs such as homework help centers and a summer reading program. The website also hosts a page of book series suggestions based on grade ranges and youth reference databases that are free to any Massachusetts library card holders. Kid’s search engines and information portals are also available as wonderful resources.

Lenox Library Distinguished Lecture Series

A monthly distinguished lecture series is hosted at Lenox Library, featuring intellectuals and artists that all seek to inspire with words. The series covers a range of cultural endeavors, from literature, art, and music to science, history, and politics. These free lectures are open to the public, and speakers have included a Nobel Prize Winner, an actor from Shakespeare & Company, a professor at Boston University, and several authors.

Keep Things Literary at Brook Farm

With its extensive poetry collections in the bed and breakfast library, Brook Farm Inn holds literature very dear. A good selection of popular novels are available alongside both traditional and contemporary poetry collections for guests to browse and read during their stay. The inn also hosts poetry readings in the library at tea time, during which guests can also enjoy homemade scones and strawberry jam! For information on what else to do during your stay in Lenox, download our free vacation guide.