Andris Nelsons, the orchestra’s music director, is scheduled for frequent presences on the podium. John Williams, who turns 90 this year and served as director of the Boston Pops, will be feted with a gala performance on Aug. 20. Garrick Ohlsson plays Brahms’s complete works for solo piano over four programs; Paul Lewis joins the orchestra for all five Beethoven piano concertos. There will be a host of free concerts featuring the young fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center.
Familiar guests like Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma and Michael Tilson Thomas will be joined by debuting artists such as the conductors JoAnn Falletta, Cristian Macelaru and Earl Lee, the pianist Alexander Malofeev and the violist Antoine Tamestit. Classics by Rachmaninoff and Ravel will be served alongside new music from composers including Helen Grime, Fazil Say, Richard Danielpour, Jessie Montgomery, Julia Adolphe, Caroline Shaw and Elizabeth Ogonek.
Beginning on June 17 with Ringo Starr and ending on Sept. 3 with Judy Collins, pop artists return for the first time since 2019 — also including the Tanglewood favorite James Taylor, Brandi Carlile and Earth, Wind & Fire.
The absence of Tanglewood, a regional staple and huge moneymaker for the Boston Symphony, which has summered there since 1937, was keenly felt in 2020, even by an orchestra with secure finances and the largest endowment in its field.
The thinned-out 2021 season drew a respectable attendance of 148,000, versus more than 340,000 in 2019. But it is hoped that the bucolic campus will be altogether more alive this year. Ozawa Hall will reopen, joining the main concert space, the Shed. So will the Linde Center, which was inaugurated in 2019 as a site for master classes, lectures, rehearsals and recitals — among them, this summer, the pianist Stephen Drury playing the mighty set of variations on “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!” by Frederic Rzewski, who died in June.