Outdoor concert series are as much about the experience of music as the music itself. For those fortunate enough to head to the Berkshires for the summer, the name “Tanglewood” evokes many romantic memories. It’s not just the sight of the iconic Shed and its lawn or the sound of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—it’s the complete sensory experience of gorgeous music surrounded by the natural beauty of the Berkshires, the gilded “summer cottages” of the East Coast elite, and the acclaimed restaurants, boutiques, and spas that have sprouted up to accommodate them.
For city dwellers in particular, the setting of Tanglewood combines with the music for an all-encompassing experience that goes far beyond an evening trip to the symphony. For those that cherish the Berkshires and rue the end of summer, then Barbados’ Apes Hill Club in St. James offers equally luxurious second homes, an extraordinary casual but elegant setting, and great symphonic music under the stars that allows you to reclaim the magic of summer in the midst of a cold, Northeastern winter.
Imagine perfect blue skies, exotically colored birds amid tropical forests, dazzling panoramic views of both the Caribbean and the Atlantic, and the lush rolling greens of a world-class golf course—with the occasional back-nine appearance of the playful green monkeys that lend Apes Hill its name.
Imagine the smell of cool sea breezes and coconut oil. Imagine the taste of island cuisine so fine that Zagat named Barbados the “dining capital of the Caribbean” and of rum or ginger beer mixed with saltwater on your lips. Imagine the feel of white sand under your feet and warm sun on your skin in the middle of December. Imagine the sound of galloping horses at Apes Hill’s prestigious polo club, the wind rustling through the palm and banyan trees, and the sweet evening song of whistling tree frogs.
And, of course, imagine the unique appeal of Apes Hill as the home of the Classical/Pops Festival. The music is provided by a diverse, all-star cast of artists—from Broadway luminaries like Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis to the big band sounds of Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, from bluegrass-inflected chamber trio Time for Three to an assemblage of accomplished performers from some of the top ensembles in the world, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
One of the most exciting new annual events on everyone’s musical calendar, the Classical/Pops Festival offers a great destination for classical music lovers who also appreciate contemporary popular music and the Broadway, jazz, opera, and film composer collaborations that form our modern musical influences. When it comes to enjoying a relaxed atmosphere that embodies the spirit of Tanglewood, few places in the world can compete with Barbados and Apes Hill.