Just in: Tanglewood chorus chief steps down

Just in: Tanglewood chorus chief steps down


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2015

John Oliver, founder of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in 1970 and its leader ever since, will steo down after this summer. Press release follows.


john oliver


John Oliver, the Founder and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, will step down from his leadership position with the ensemble as of the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season.  Mr. Oliver’s final concert as Conductor of the chorus will take place on Sunday, August 16, in connection with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and soloists, under the direction of Asher Fisch (further details available at www.tanglewood.org).

Mr. Oliver, who has consistently garnered high praise from critics and audiences alike for his work with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, founded the ensemble as the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1970.  He has prepared the TFC in more than 200 works for well over 1000 performances, including appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Europe and the Far East, as well as with visiting orchestras and as a solo ensemble.  The TFC, under the direction of Mr. Oliver, has been featured with the BSO in more than forty commercial releases, as well as on the BSO Classics label, with James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Leonard Bernstein, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams.  Click here to view John Oliver’s bio and photos.

In honor of his 45 years of service to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the BSO will give Mr. Oliver the Tanglewood Medal at a ceremony to take place during the 2015 Tanglewood season.  Mr. Oliver is only the second recipient of the Tanglewood Medal; Seiji Ozawa was the first recipient of the awardin 2012, when the medal was created as a new tradition in honor of the festival’s 75th anniversary that summer. In addition to taking on the newly created lifetime title of Founder and Conductor Laureate of the TFC, John Oliver will also assume the title of Master Teacher Chair at the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s preeminent summer music academy, beginning in summer of 2016.  In this new role, Mr. Oliver will work with TMC Fellows in a variety of capacities, the details of which will be announced at a later date.


  • JAMA11 says:

    When I lived in Boston, I always found the Tanglewood chorus a disappointment. Boston is fortunate to be surrounded by a number of colleges with brilliant and renowned choral programs (Boston U and Harvard chief among them) and going to hear Tanglewood with the BSO was always a little bit of a letdown.

  • Christy says:

    Thank you, John Oliver, for creating and maintaining such an incredible volunteer chorus. The sound produced by the TFC is always extraordinary and the repertoire often rare and complex. Their work in King Roger (sung from memory) just this past week was chill-inducing.

    He will be missed.