Woodstock site ready to Rachmaninoff

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:58

    BETHEL, N.Y. - A performing arts and music center on the original Woodstock concert site will open July 1 with a performance by the New York Philharmonic. The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts also announced it will host a two-day Woodstock anniversary concert the weekend of Aug. 12-13. No artists have been lined up for that show. The 4,800-seat summer pavilion is up the hill from the stage that drew some 400,000 fans in August 1969 to listen to the likes of The Who and Janis Joplin. In the ‘90s, portions of the old farm 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of New York City were bought by local millionaire Alan Gerry, who created a not-for-profit foundation to operate a performance site. The first-night performance by the New York Philharmonic will feature pianist Lang Lang and soprano Audra McDonald and be led by conductor Bramwell Tovey. There also will be a jazz festival on July 22-23. While the original Woodstock artists were mostly rockers, Bethel Woods hopes to attract a diverse audience to this rural corner of Sullivan County by featuring everything from classical to rock. A gallery and interpretive center are due to open next year. “It is my fondest hope that this performing arts center will recapture the magic of this historic site and make our region one of the country’s top performing arts destinations,” said Gerry, chairman of the Gerry Foundation. Bethel Woods is located on Route 17B, about 3 miles west of White Lake, N.Y. For more information, call 866-781-2922 or visit www.bethelwoods.us .