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Andris Nelsons conducts Poulenc, Beethoven, and Nathan

Andris Nelsons conducts Poulenc, Beethoven, and Nathan

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leads the opening concerts of the orchestra’s 2019–20 season, which feature the world premiere of the second BSO commission by the young American composer Eric Nathan, his Concerto for Orchestra, which highlights the virtuosity of the BSO’s various instrumental sections. Two Poulenc works of diverse character frame the program: his exciting, neo-Baroque Concerto in D minor for two pianos—here featuring the Dutch duo-pianist brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen in their BSO debuts—and one of the most significant works first premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the French composer’s optimistic and lyrical Gloria, here with soprano Nicole Cabell and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. In addition, the TFC, six recent Vocal Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, and piano soloist Arthur Jussen join the BSO for Beethoven’s majestic Choral Fantasy.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Andris Nelsons, conductor View biography in full page >

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 Lucas and Arthur Jussen, pianos
Lucas and Arthur Jussen, pianos View biography in full page >

“You realise that this is not usual. This is not just two good pianists playing together. They sense each other’s most small, individual a little bit of interpretation.”Sir Neville Marriner

‘It is like driving a pair of BMWs’, remarked conductor Michael Schønwandt, after directing the Dutch brothers Lucas (25) and Arthur Jussen (21). Despite their young age, they have been part of the international concert world for years and are praised by both the press and audiences.

In addition to all major Dutch orchestras with which Lucas and Arthur have performed, they also received invitations from orchestras such as Mariinsky Orchestra, Dallas, Sydney and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, Camerata Salzburg and the Academy of

St Martin in the Fields. They collaborate with conductors such as Stéphane Denève, Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Jaap van Zweden.

The 2018/19 season begins with their debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet- Séguin, and is followed by the brothers’ presentation at the traditional Prinsengracht Concert, which is the climax of classical music in the Netherlands every summer, and takes place on the canals of Amsterdam. Further highlights of the season include performances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, SWR Symphonieorchester and the Münchener Kammerorchester. They continue to champion Dobrinka Tabakova’s new double concerto, which they premiered in Amsterdam last season, and look forward to its regional premieres in France with the Orchestre de Picardie and in the UK with the BBC Concert Orchestra. In recital the duo perform in Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Moscow’s Zaryadye Hall, Palau de la Música in Barcelona and in the Konzerthaus in Vienna and Dortmund. As ‘Junge Wilde’ of the Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Jussen brothers will perform a variety of programmes at the Konzerthaus Dortmund in the next three seasons. They will embark on an Asian tour in June 2019, appearing in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Kaohsiung and Macao.

Lucas and Arthur received their first piano lessons in their native town of Hilversum. It became clear quickly that they were great talents. As children, they were already invited to perform for the Dutch queen Beatrix. First awards at competitions followed shortly. In 2005, the brothers studied in Portugal and Brazil for nearly a year at the invitation of Portuguese master pianist Maria João Pires. In the following years they took lessons from both Pires and two renowned Dutch teachers. Lucas completed his studies with Menahem Pressler in the US and Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid. Arthur graduated from the Amsterdam Conservatory where he studied with Jan Wijn.

Recording exclusively with Deutsche Grammophon since 2010, their debut CD with works by Beethoven received platinum status and was awarded the Edison Klassiek audience award. A Schubert recording and their third CD Jeux, dedicated to French piano music, were subsequently released. In October 2015, they released their recording of Mozart’s piano concertos KV365 and KV242 together with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner. The album reached gold status and was listed by Gramophone UK amongst ‘The 50 Greatest Mozart Recordings’. Their most recent recording featuring works by Poulenc and Saint-Saëns was released in March 2017 (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Stéphane Denève). Their recording of the Poulenc Double Concerto was chosen as the best recording of this piece ever made by the French radio programme "La tribune des critiques de disques".

 

Lucas and Arthur Jussen, pianos
Nicole Cabell, soprano
Nicole Cabell, soprano View biography in full page >

Nicole Cabell, the 2005 Winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff and Decca recording artist, is one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos of today.  Her solo debut album, “Soprano” was named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone and has received an incredible amount of critical acclaim and several prestigious awards, including the 2007 Georg Solti Orphée d’Or from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique.

Nicole Cabell opens the new season with her first stage performances of Bess in Porgy and Bess with the English National Opera.  She will also make her Pittsburgh Opera debut as Mimi in La Bohème before returning to the Minnesota Opera for Violetta in La Traviata and to the Cincinnati Opera for Juliette in Roméo et Juliette.  In concert, Ms. Cabell will perform a set of songs on texts by Langston Hughes at the Metropolitan Museum, will sing the Mozart Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony and David Robertson before joining Master Voices and Ted Sperling at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.  Future engagements include returns to Atlanta, Japan, Montreal and Detroit.

Ms. Cabell’s last season included performances of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Flavia in Eliogabalo with the Dutch National Opera, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theatre, and Micaela in Carmen with the Atlanta Opera. Ms. Cabell was also heard in recital at the Frankfurt Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Harris Theater for Music in Dance in Chicago, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, and in Louisville, Kentucky.  In concert, Nicole Cabell performed with the Lake Forest Symphony (Sisters in Song, a joint program with Alyson Cambridge, which was just commercially released by Cedille Records), the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Cabell’s 2016-2017 season featured her debut as Bess in Porgy in Bess with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances of Mimi in La Bohème with the Minnesota Opera and the Cincinnati Opera and of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Angers Nantes Opera in France. In concert, she sang Shéhérazade with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Nashville Symphony and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Oregon Bach Festival.

The 2015-2016 season included Ms. Cabell’s debut at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in the title role of Handel’s Alcina and returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Violetta in La Traviata, to the Atlanta Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, to the Michigan Opera Theatre as Mimi in La Bohème and to the Cincinnati Opera in a new role: Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. On the concert stage, Ms. Cabell performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a solo recital in Baltimore.

Nicole Cabell’s 2014-2015 season included semi-staged concerts of Don Giovanni with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, her Opéra National de Paris debut (and role debut) as Mimi in La Bohème and Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with the Minnesota Opera as well as a return to Washington Concert Opera as Giulietta in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi.  In concert, she was heard with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5, with the Orchestre National de Lille in Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, with the San Diego Symphony in Strauss’ Four Last Songs, with the London Symphony Orchestra in Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue, in a Puccini-Strauss gala concert in Hong-Kong, as Bess in an abridged version of Porgy and Bess at Ravinia with Bobby McFerrin, at the Oregon Bach Festival in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, at Bard’s Music Festival in Villa-Lobos’ Forest of the Amazon and at SUNY Potsdam in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem

In the previous season Nicole Cabell made some exciting role debuts: first as Violetta in La Traviata with Michigan Opera Theatre (seen again later in the season at the San Francisco Opera), then as Medora in Il Corsaro with Washington Concert Opera.  She reprised the role of her triumphant San Francisco Opera debut: Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  In concert, Ms. Cabell made her Paris debut in Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, appeared several times in Spain, first with the Orquesta de Galicia in a Barber/Mahler program, then on tour with the RPO and Charles Dutoit in Poulenc’s Gloria.  In London, she was heard with the RPO in the same Poulenc piece as well as with the BBC Orchestra, first in Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with Keith Lockhart and later in Elgar’s The Apostles with Sir Andrew Davis.  Further concert appearances included duke Ellington’s Sacred Music at Carnegie Hall, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony and Charles Dutoit at Tanglewood, and finally in a Barber/Brahms program in Nashville with GianCarlo Guerrero.  Nicole Cabell also appeared in recital in Chicago. 

Awards include first place in both the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition and the Women's Board of Chicago Vocal Competition.  Nicole Cabell was a semi-finalist in the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and earned first place in the American Opera Society competition in Chicago.  She is the 2002 winner of the Union League's Rose M. Grundman Scholarship, and the 2002 Farwell Award with the Woman's Board of Chicago.  Nicole Cabell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.  

Nicole Cabell, soprano Alexandra Smither, soprano
Alexandra Smither, soprano View biography in full page >

Soprano Alexandra Smither is making a name for herself in the worlds of both old and new music. With a vocal technique described as “beautiful, elegant, and masterfully manipulated” (Schmopera), she was named one of Canadian Broadcasting Co’s 2017 “30 Young Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”. She was the grand prizewinner at the 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatée Competition, earning both first prize and the prize for best performance of the commissioned work, Nicole Lizee’s Malfunctionlieder. 

She made her debut with Houston Grand Opera as Younger Alyce in their production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, in which she “imbued her solo aria “My Darling Jim” with heartbreaking tenderness” (Texas Classical Review). She returned to Houston Grand Opera as Diana in Cruzar la cara de la Luna. In her 2018 New York debut at the Baryshnikov Arts Center of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza III she was called “an extraordinarily adept soprano, one who can shriek, gurgle, cackle, mutter, gesture, and declaim as well as sing beautifully” (The Threepenny Blog). 

As a 2017/2018 Soprano Fellow at the Tanglewood Festival, she made her Seiji Ozawa Hall debut at the Tanglewood Festival alongside Emanuel Ax and Bill Hudgins in Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen. The festival also brought performances of selections from Berg’s Sieben Fruhe Lieder with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, recital of French song, coached by Roger Vignoles, Bach cantatas under the baton of John Harbison, the premiere of Theo Chandler's Two Taylor Songs, and the premiere of a new work by Oliver Leith under the baton of Thomas Adès. Additionally, her “high bright voice embodied Max’s shrill ravings to perfection” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) in a memorial performance of Oliver Knussen’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, under the baton of Stefan Asbury.

Ms. Smither has held fellowships at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Songfest, Fall Island Vocal Arts, The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall, and the Music Academy of the West. Versatile in output, she has appeared in concerts ranging from Barbara Strozzi songs with acclaimed period ensemble Ars Lyrica, to the premiere of a work on climate change written for her at the Metropolis New Music Festival in Melbourne. Passionate about new works, she is a founding member of the Pushback Collective, a duo that explores, commissions, and promotes music that looks beyond the concert hall. 2019/2020 brings performances with Against the Grain Theatre, the California Symphony, National Sawdust and many more. She is absolutely thrilled to be making her Boston Symphony debut alongside her colleagues from Tanglewood. For more please visit www.alexandrasmither.com. 

Alexandra Smither, soprano
Paulina Swierczek, soprano Paulina Swierczek, soprano Katherine Maysek, mezzo-soprano
Katherine Maysek, mezzo-soprano View biography in full page >

Known for her vivid and touching vocal performances, mezzo-soprano Katherine Maysek is an artist equally at home on the stage and in the concert hall. Ms. Maysek loves the challenge of portraying many vastly different characters, be they within song, oratorio, or opera.

Ms. Maysek was a “standout” (The Wall Street Journal, August 2019) as Cherubino in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at The Glimmerglass Festival. She will reprise this role at The Château de Versailles Spectacles in her European debut this December. In 2018 she debuted at Glimmerglass as Dinah in Berstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Lapák the dog in Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Katherine made her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in a rare production of Max von Shillings’ Mona Lisa. Other operatic roles include Brother (Stefan Weisman’s (The Scarlet Ibis), Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Lisbé (Grétry’s mire et Azor), Meg Page (Falstaff), Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw), Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro).

Ms. Maysek has collaborated with the Concord Chorale, Burlington Choral Society, The Orchestra Now and the Blanche Moyse Chorale among others. Katherine’s concert repertoire includes Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with maestro Gerard Schwarz, Vivaldi’s Gloria with maestro James Bagwell and numerous Bach oratorios including the Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion and Mass in B minor.

Katherine has also appeared with the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Tanglewood Music Center, Boston Opera Collaborative, Mass Opera, Opera Saratoga and the Berkshire Opera Festival. Katherine received her bachelors degree from McGill University and her masters degree from Bard College Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program. www.katherinemaysek.com

Katherine Maysek, mezzo-soprano
Chance Jonas-O’Toole, tenor Chance Jonas-O’Toole, tenor Eric Finbarr Carey, tenor
Eric Finbarr Carey, tenor View biography in full page >

“[As Candide, he was] resonant, mellifluous and deft with dramatic nuance...” Tenor Eric Finbarr Carey will make several notable debuts in the 2019/2020 season on both the concert and operatic stages. This fall, he will appear as the tenor soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, with Emmanuel Music in Bach’s B Minor Mass, with Odyssey Opera as Guildford Dudley in the world premiere of Arnold Rosner’s The Chronicle of Nine , and with the Battenkill Chorale in Mozart’s Coronation Mass. In the spring, Carey will make another appearance with the BSO in a performance of Doug Balliet’s Beast Fights as a part of their chamber music series in Boston and Tanglewood. 

Other appearances this season include a return to Concerts in the Village for Haydn’s Creation, recitals with pianist Javier Arrebola, three main stage productions with the Opera Institute, and John Stainer’s Crucifixion at Brick Church, NYC. 

This past summer, Carey joined the Britten-Pears Festival Young Artist Program before returning to the Tanglewood Music Center as a second-year fellow where he was featured in the American premiere of Richard Ayres’s The Cricket Recovers conducted by Thomas Adés and a concert of Bach Cantatas with John Harbison. Other recent appearances include Les illuminations with The Orchestra Now, as well as Alfredo (La traviata), Thibodeau (Dolores Claiborne) and Schoolmaster (Cunning little vixen) with the Opera Institute at Boston University, where he is currently in residence. Awards include the Encouragement Award at the Gerda Lissner Song Competition, the Grand Finals at the Joy in Singing Competition, and First Place at both the Sparks and Wiry Cries Song Slam Competition and the Bard College Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition. He holds degrees from Bard College, Peabody Conservatory, and The Johns Hopkins University. www.ericfinbarrcarey.com.

Eric Finbarr Carey, tenor
William Socolof, bass-baritone
William Socolof, bass-baritone View biography in full page >

A native of White Plains, New York, bass-baritone William Socolof started his vocal and musical training at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. In 2019 he was honored to be selected as a participant with the distinguished Marlboro Music Festival, where he performed in various recitals and chamber music concerts. As a vocal fellow at Tanglewood Music Festival (2017–18), he appeared in Sondheim on Sondheim with the Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart, concerts of Bach Cantatas conducted by John Harbison, and premieres of new works by Michael Gandolfi and Nico Muhly. Socolof made his operatic debut at The Juilliard School in the 2016 production of Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata as “Melibeo”, and also appeared as “The Abbot” in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace. At Juilliard, he has appeared in numerous recitals, as well as chamber and new music concerts and continues to do so this December, performing with The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. Other operatic performances include Die Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte) at the Chautauqua Institution. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard, where he is also currently pursuing his Masters Degree.

William Socolof, bass-baritone
Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Fellows
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus, (TFC) View biography in full page >

Tanglewood Festival Chorus
James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
John Oliver (1939-2018), Founder

Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Mass led by Andris Nelsons, the British-born James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Ch

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins the BSO this season for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (October 25-30), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (November 29-December 1), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (February 21 and 22), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (February 28-March 2) all under Andris Nelsons, and Estévez’s Cantata Criolla (April 11-13) with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Also in October, the TFC performed Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna with James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, making his subscription-series conducting debut. Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Massled by Andris Nelsons, James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director. Mr. Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair on the Boston Symphony Orchestra roster.

Though first established for performances at the BSO’s summer home, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was soon playing a major role in the BSO’s subscription season as well as BSO concerts at Carnegie Hall; the ensemble now performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with the BSO on tour in Hong Kong and Japan, and on two European tours, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on those two occasions. The TFC made its debut in April 1970 at Symphony Hall, in a BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Its first recording with the orchestra, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with Seiji Ozawa, received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance of 1975. The TFC has since made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, with Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams. In August 2011, with John Oliver conducting and soloist Stephanie Blythe, the TFC gave the world premiere of Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere for mezzo-soprano and chorus, commissioned by the BSO for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Its most recent recordings on BSO Classics, all drawn from live performances, include a disc of a cappella music marking the TFC’s 40th anniversary; Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé (a 2009 Grammy-winner for Best Orchestral Performance), Brahms’s German Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). On July 4, 2018, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joined Keith Lockhart for the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” on the Charles River Esplanade.

Besides their work with the BSO, TFC members have also performed with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and in a Saito Kinen Festival production of Britten’s Peter Grimes under Seiji Ozawa in Japan. The ensemble had the honor of singing at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral; has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics; and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, John Sayles’s Silver City, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. TFC members regularly commute from the greater Boston area and beyond to sing with the chorus in Boston and at Tanglewood. For more information about the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and upcoming auditions, please visit www.bso.org/tfc.

 

 

James Burton
James Burton, conductor View biography in full page >

James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. He made his BSO subscription-series conducting debut in October 2018, leading the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna. In August 2019 he led the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his The Lost Words, a BSO co-commission, as part of the summer’s gala Tanglewood on Parade concert. In April 2020 he will conduct the Tanglewood Festival Concert in a post-concert Casual Friday performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil to celebrate the TFC’s fiftieth anniversary. Mr. Burton made his debut with the Boston Pops in December 2017, returned to the Pops podium last December—as he will again for Holiday Pops concerts in December 2019—and led the Pops this past June at Tanglewood in a program celebrating Queen with Marc Martel.

Born in London, James Burton holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister, and was a choral scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata. Opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, and the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and he has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera and Opera de Paris. Mr. Burton’s extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed in the inaugural season of Dubai’s Opera House in 2017. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. From 2002 to 2017 he was music director of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford. Well known for his inspirational work with young musicians, he was director of the National Youth Choir of Japan in 2017 and founded the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir in 2018. Mr. Burton has given conducting master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Tanglewood Music Center, and founded a scholarship for young conductors at Oxford. His growing composition portfolio includes works for commissioners including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the Exon Festival, where he was composer-in-residence in 2015. His works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair, endowed in perpetuity.

 

Program Notes Audio
POULENC - Concerto in D minor for two pianos and orchestra
BEETHOVEN - Fantasy in C minor for piano, chorus, and orchestra
Eric NATHAN - Concerto for Orchestra (world premiere; BSO commission)
POULENC - Gloria, for soprano, chorus, and orchestra
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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