One of the most highly-regarded music training programs in the country is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Each summer, Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) draws hundreds of talented high school and early college-age musicians and singers from all over the world.
"I never thought that music can be this powerful to somebody before," said Makana Medeiros, a percussionist.
Medeiros is spending his third summer at the campus in Lenox, Massachusetts.
"I love this place. I love the Berkshires, I love Tanglewood, I love the BSO, everything about this place," Medeiros said.
The program, which is run by Boston University's College of Fine Arts, is the only one of its kind associated with a top symphony orchestra.
"Our affiliation with the Boston Symphony and our proximity to the Boston Symphony and its summer home at Tanglewood makes us distinctive amongst other programs," said BUTI Executive Director Hilary Respass. "It's a source of great pride for us."
Students work with top faculty, composers, and successful program alumni like Nico Muhly.
"I really am a composer because I went to BUTI," Muhly told necn.
Muhly has returned for BUTI's 50th season with a special contribution: An arrangement to be performed at the institute's anniversary celebration concert.
"It's a piece that invites performers to make decisions about what instruments they use," Muhly said. "Something that reflects the kind of joy of being here and doing something with a big group."
"I don't think I've ever worked in percussion ensemble in a smaller setting with a composer of the piece I'm doing. That's really exciting," said Sofia Carbonara, a percussionist heading to University of Michigan in the fall.
As Carbonara and Medeiros look ahead to their college careers, they are discovering their passion for the arts.
"This program will change your life," said Medeiros.
"Tanglewood is an immersive environment. You're here for two weeks and it feels like you've been on another planet for a year. The magic of that is kind of irreplaceable," Muhly said.
BUTI has an impressive alumni list that includes Harry Connick Jr. and actress Lauren Ambrose, who is also a trained opera singer. The program's 50th anniversary celebration concert is Saturday, August 6, on the Tanglewood grounds. For ticket information, click here.