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The 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons’ sixth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, marks his fifth anniversary in that position. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons leads fifteen of the BSO’s twenty-six weeks of concerts this season, ranging from repertoire favorites by Beethoven, Dvořák, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, Arturs Maskats, and HK Gruber. The season also brings the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists, including a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, Act III—one of three BSO programs he will also conduct at Carnegie Hall—with Jonas Kaufmann and Emily Magee in the title roles. In addition, February 2020 brings a major tour to Asia in which Maestro Nelsons and the BSO give their first concerts together in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
In February 2018, Andris Nelsons became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester (GHO) Leipzig, in which capacity he also brings the BSO and GHO together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance including a BSO/GHO Musician Exchange program and an exchange component within each orchestra’s acclaimed academy for advanced music studies. A major highlight of the BSO/GHO Alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” thereby highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. For this season’s “Leipzig Week in Boston,” under Maestro Nelsons’ leadership in November, the entire Gewandhausorchester Leipzig comes to Symphony Hall for joint concerts with the BSO as well as two concerts of its own.
In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In November 2017, he and the orchestra toured Japan together for the first time. They have so far made three European tours together: immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, when they played concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam; in May 2016, a tour that took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg; and, after the 2015 Tanglewood season, a tour that took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals.
The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. His recordings with the BSO, all made live in concert at Symphony Hall, include the complete Brahms symphonies on BSO Classics; Grammy-winning recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Shostakovich’s symphonies 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (The Year 1905) as part of a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a recent two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). This November, a new release on Naxos features Andris Nelsons and the orchestra in the world premieres of BSO-commissioned works by Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is also recording the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.
During the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons continues his ongoing collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009, and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.
Andris Nelsons, conductor
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THE TRAINING GROUNDS FOR THE MUSICIANS OF
The Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Program is the Boston
Symphony Orchestra's summer academy for advanced musical study. The
TMC offers an intensive schedule of study and performance for
emerging professional instrumentalists, singers, conductors, and
composers who have completed most of their formal training in
Serge Koussevitzky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music
director from 1924 to 1949, founded the school with the intention
of creating a premier music academy where, with the resources of a
great symphony orchestra at their disposal, young musicians would
sharpen their skills under the tutelage of Boston Symphony
Orchestra musicians and other specially invited artists.
The Berkshire Music Center opened formally on July 8, 1940, with
both speeches (Koussevitzky, alluding to the war then raging in
Europe, said, "If ever there was a time to speak of music, it is
now in the New World") and music, including the first performance
of Randall Thompson's Alleluia for unaccompanied chorus, which was
written for the ceremony and arrived less than an hour before the
event was to begin, but which made such an impression that it is
sung every summer at the TMC's Opening Exercises. The TMC became
Koussevitzky's pride and joy for the rest of his life. He assembled
an extraordinary faculty in composition, operatic and choral
activities, and instrumental performance; he himself taught the
most gifted conductors.
Koussevitzky continued to develop the Tanglewood Music Center
until 1950, a year after his retirement as the BSO's music
director. Charles Munch, his successor in that position, ran the
TMC from 1951 through 1962, working with Leonard Bernstein and
Aaron Copland to shape the school's programs. In 1963, new BSO
Music Director Erich Leinsdorf took over the school's reins,
returning to Koussevitzky's hands-on leadership approach while
restoring a renewed emphasis on contemporary music. The TMC's
annual Festival of Contemporary Music, produced in association with
the Fromm Music Foundation, was begun in 1963.
In 1970, three years before his appointment as BSO music
director, Seiji Ozawa became head of the BSO's programs at
Tanglewood, with Gunther Schuller leading the TMC and Leonard
Bernstein as general advisor. Leon Fleisher served as the TMC's
Artistic Director from 1985 to 1997. In 1994, with the opening of
Seiji Ozawa Hall, the TMC centralized its activities on the Leonard
Bernstein Campus, which also includes the Aaron Copland Library,
chamber music studios, administrative offices, and the Leonard
Bernstein Performers Pavilion adjacent to Ozawa Hall. In 1998,
Ellen Highstein was appointed to the new position of Director of
the Tanglewood Music Center, operating under the artistic
supervision of Seiji Ozawa. Maestro James Levine took over as Music
Director of the BSO in 2005 and has continued the tradition of
hands-on involvement with the TMC, conducting both orchestral
concerts and staged operas, as well as participating in
masterclasses for singers, conductors, and composers.
It would be impossible to list all the distinguished musicians
who have studied at the Tanglewood Music Center. According to
recent estimates, 20 percent of the members of American symphony
orchestras, and 30 percent of all first-chair players, studied at
Today, alumni of the Tanglewood Music Center play a vital role
in the musical life of the nation. Tanglewood and the Tanglewood
Music Center, have become a fitting shrine to the memory of Serge
Koussevitzky, a living embodiment of the vital, humanistic
tradition that was his legacy. At the same time, the Tanglewood
Music Center maintains its commitment to the future as one of the
world's most important training grounds for the composers,
conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists of tomorrow.
Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellows