One voice fills an ampitheater of 300 people, sheering clear to the back wall. The bass beats like a pulse or a summer storm, and the keyboard melody washes underneath. The night is warm, and the crowd is moving in the current of sound.

Music in the Berkshires runs deep — in many traditions. In the 1950s, Louis Armstrong played the Music Inn and jazz legends taught in Lenox. In 1969, Janice Joplin opened the summer season of the Boston Symphony Orchestra here before she went on to Woodstock.

We have a growing center of classical music in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home at Tanglewood, and also of folk from Alice’s Restaurant onward. Indy rock, jazz and contemporary sound evolves at Mass MoCA in FreshGrass and Wilco’s Solid Sound festivals, Bang on a Can’s contemporary compositions and the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth … and they’re just the beginning.

Music in the Berkshires

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Tanglewood has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1938. Berkshire music lovers began a concert series in the 1930s, and it has expanded with popular music in early and late summer, folk and rock, comedy and jazz, and now with the Tanglewood Learning Institute.


Mass MoCA

A 150-year-old mill at the fork of the Hoosic River is now the largest contemporary art museum in the country, and one of the largest on the planet. New exhibits open each season, bringing artists from across the U.S. and the world — China, Kashmir, Israel, Nunavut — and long-term installations span many years, from Sol LeWitt’s rainbow swirl of murals to Laurie Anderson’s sound studio.


Guthrie Center

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant — even an evening of music with the Guthrie family. The church that made folk music history 50 years ago in Arlo Guthrie’s hit song is now a community center and the site of an annual folk music series in the summers.


Clark Art Institute

Renoir rubs elbows with Rodin, and the reflecting pool glows between northeast granite and classical marble. The Clark Art Institute holds a collection of Impressionists and more on a campus re-imagined by Tadao Ando.


Colonial Theatre

Brooklyn comedians play here, and tributes to Santana or Aretha Franklin. The Colonial Theatre acts as a year-round concert hall and 21st-century performance space, decked in gilt and red velvet out of another century.


Barrington Stage Company

Barrington Stage Company has been known for 25 years for re-imagining lavish musicals and taking on deep and timely challenges in its theaters. The company fills two stages in Pittsfield with concerts and performances from June to October and a festival of short plays in the winter.


Close Encounters

Close to 30 years ago, cellist Yehuda Hanani began presenting chamber concerts with conversation on a theme. The form was new then — it has become common now. And over the years, Hanani has created concerts with musicians and themes around the world as artistic director of Close Encounters with Music.


Dewey Hall

At the center of Sheffield’s town green, along Route 7, an old fieldstone and marble hall has acted as a community center for more than a hundred years. A community group hosts art shows and talks here, concerts, swing and contradances and the Dewey Hall Folk Series.


Egremont Barn

The old barn at the Egremont Village Inn gives refuge on a windy night. Tables gather around an informal stage with a piano. And concerts, comedy and karaoke have been drawing a community here at the Egremont Barn for pub comfort food and music.


North Berkshire dance

Contra and square dancing is a living New England tradition, as casual as dancing barefoot in the kitchen on a summer night. The North Berkshire Community Dance holds a monthly dance on second Saturdays at the Williamstown Community Preschool, with live music.


Red Lion Inn

The Red Lion Inn has stood centrally on Main Street since 1773, when it served as a stage coach between Boston and Albany. The old clapboard building has a history going back to the Revolution, and today it brings locals and visitors to its restaurants and shop of goods from local artists and artisans.


The Mount

Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, wrote many of her best-known novels in this house, in the 10 years she lived in Lenox — from The House of Mirth to Ethan Frome. Her house is now a museum, a center of writing, music and performance, landscape and gardens, dedicated to keeping her spirit alive.


Williams College

Williams College is named the top liberal arts college in the country, out in the Berkshire hills with an art museum, theater and music, talks and trails — and a spirit of making its own fun.