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The Boston Pops plays real pop music at Tanglewood this summer, starting with a collaboration with Trey Anastasio on June 29

The Boston Pops Orchestra will perform in the Shed with four pop artists this summer: Trey Anastasio, Jason Mraz, Beck, and DISPATCH.

[CORRECTION, April 15: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Trey Anastasio would be performing with the Boston Pops at Tanglewood on June 27. The correct date is June 29.]

Lenox — When it comes to programming music that “kids these days” are likely to enjoy, Boston Pops Music Director Keith Lockhart is nothing if not a good sport, but I am not sure he always gets credit for it. And don’t forget: Keith has kids of his own. Who cares? You do! You care because you might very well enjoy hearing Phish frontman and guitarist Trey Anastasio on June 29 or alt-rock singer-songwriter Beck on July 23 or roots rock band DISPATCH on August 31. Tickets for DISPATCH are already on sale, and tickets for Anastasio and Beck go on public sale April 17 at 10 a.m. on Tanglewood’s website, along with tickets for Boyz II Men, who perform on their own, without orchestra, on June 27. And it probably won’t be nonagenarians who do most of the buying. It will be kids (i.e., individuals under the age of 80.)

Photographs of Trey Anastasio, almost always show him smiling broadly. What you are actually seeing is Trey’s way of radiating the jam band ethos, which is friendly, inclusive, and relaxed. Best of all, as a guitarist, Trey makes up all the notes as he plays them. That is an uncommon skill within the ranks of professional orchestras, notwithstanding Mike Block’s persistent efforts over the years to interest the classical music world in improvisational playing techniques. So there is considerable novelty to the idea of a guy like Anastasio engaging classical musicians in a tradition closely associated with people like Jerry Garcia, the Allman Brothers, and other prominent noodlers. The Boston Pops will never be a jam band, but it comes pretty close when it works with people like Anastasio, Warren Haynes, and other musicians of their ilk.

Pop musicians are accustomed to using their ears to stay in the groove. They seldom work with conductors, and when they do, it is a pretty cool feat. Orchestral musicians of the caliber you find in the Boston Pops also have excellent ears and use them to their fullest advantage, especially when performing chamber music. But they rely on a conductor when listening isn’t enough to keep an 80-piece band together. (Pop musicians call it “staying in the groove.” Classical musicians refer to it as “having good ensemble.”)

There is pop music, and there is pop music that Keith Lockhart likes well enough to perform with the Boston Pops. As the leader of America’s Orchestra, Mr. Lockhart cares about the music Americans love, including the music his own children prefer. So he programs Sousa marches, Broadway hits, movie scores, gospel, blues, jazz, and the occasional collaborator with a rock musician.

Here is the updated Popular Artist schedule for Tanglewood:

  • John Fogerty: The Celebration Tour with Special Guests George Thorogood and the Destroyers & Hearty Har (June 20)
  • Roger Daltrey with Very Special Guest KT Tunstall (June 22)
  • Kool & the Gang and En Vogue (June 23)
  • Boyz II Men (June 27)
  • Jon Batiste (June 28)
  • Trey Anastasio with the Boston Pops (June 29)
  • Brandi Carlile (June 30)
  • Jason Mraz with the Boston Pops (July 2)
  • James Taylor and his All-Star Band (July 3 and 4, both dates sold out)
  • An Evening with Pretenders (July 16)
  • Beck with the Boston Pops (July 23)
  • Judy Collins, Rufus Wainwright, and Indigo Girls (August 30)
  • DISPATCH with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops (August 31)

Tickets for Anastasio and Beck go on public sale April 17 at 10 a.m. on Tanglewood’s website, along with tickets for Boyz II Men.

More popular artists dates may be announced in the coming weeks.


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