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The 2020-2021 season is Andris Nelsons seventh as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, his contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In February 2018 Mr. Nelsons was also named Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. On October 5, 2020, the BSO and GHO jointly announced extensions to Mr. Nelsons current contracts. His contract with the BSO was extended until 2025, and his GHO contract until 2027. An evergreen clause in his BSO contract reflects a mutual intention for a long-term commitment between the BSO and Mr. Nelsons beyond the years of the agreement.
Mr. Nelsons’ two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between the institutions, have firmly established the Grammy Award-winning conductor as one of the most renowned and innovative artists on the international scene today. In fall 2019 Mr. Nelsons and the BSO hosted the Gewandhausorchester in historic concerts at Symphony Hall that included two performances by the GHO as well as concerts featuring the players of both orchestras together.
In the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons led the BSO in repertoire ranging from favorites by Beethoven, Dvořák, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, and the Latvian composer Arturs Maskats. The season also brought the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists. Mr. Nelsons’ work with the BSO resumes with his return to Boston at the start of 2021.
Andris Nelsons’ and the BSO’s ongoing series of recordings of the complete Shostakovich symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon has included the composer’s symphonies 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (The Year 1905), and most recently a two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). The cycle has earned three Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and one for Best Engineered Album. The next installment, featuring symphonies nos. 1, 14, and 15 and the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (arr. Rudolf Barshai), is scheduled for release in summer 2021. Future releases will go beyond the symphonies to encompass the composer’s concertos for piano, violin, and cello, and his monumental opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Mr. Nelsons’ other recordings with the orchestra include the complete Brahms symphonies for the BSO Classics label and a Naxos release of BSO-commissioned world premiere works by four American composers: Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis.
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. In November 2017, Mr. Nelsons and the BSO 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. A scheduled February 2020 tour to East Asia was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
In his capacity as BSO Music Director and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Mr. Nelsons 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 aspect of the alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. The two orchestras have jointly commissioned and premiered works from Latvian, American, and German and Austrian composers.
In addition to his Shostakovich recordings with the BSO, Mr. Nelsons’ exclusive partnership with Deutsche Grammophon includes two other major projects. With the Gewandhausorchester he continues his critically acclaimed Bruckner symphonic cycle under the Yellow Label, of which four volumes have been released to date. His recordings of Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker were released by Deutsche Grammophon in October 2019.
Mr. Nelsons frequently leads such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As an opera conductor, he has made regular guest appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Bayreuth Festival. 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 (2008-2015), Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany (2006-09), and Music Director of the Latvian National Opera (2003-07).
Andris Nelsons, conductor
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Her singular blend of technical prowess, keen musical insight,
and emotional depth have established Yuja Wang as one of the
world's finest performers.
The power of her interpretations emerges from a distinct
combination of her exceptional presence on stage and a natural
affinity and inquisitive approach to the repertoire, which ranges
from Mozart to Gershwin and beyond. 'Charismatic', 'breathtaking',
'flawless' and 'heartfelt' are just a selection of the superlatives
used frequently by critics worldwide.
Yuja's 2017-18 season features recitals, concert series, and
extensive tours with some of the world's most venerated ensembles
and conductors. She begins the summer of 2017 on tour with the
London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas and a programme
featuring Brahms' Piano Concerto No.2, followed by a performance of
the first concerto at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Lionel Bringuier. Later
engagements include concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and
Valery Gergiev, a series of performances at the Verbier Festival,
and a three-city German tour with the St. Petersburg
She also embarks on play-conduct tours with two of the best
chamber orchestras in the world, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, as well as joining the inaugural tour
of Jaap van Zweden with the New York Philharmonic and the final
tour of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's directorship with the Rotterdam
Philharmonic. Other notable appearances include concerts in Hong
Kong, Miami, Washington D.C., Prague, Tel Aviv, and Berlin.
Winter of 2017 sees Yuja reunite with violinist and frequent
collaborator Leonidas Kavakos for a European chamber tour, whilst
in the spring of 2018, Ms. Wang will embark on a vast-reaching
recital tour at premiere venues in the US and Europe; New York
City, San Francisco, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and beyond.
As part of its commitment to the arts, Rolex selected Yuja Wang
as one of its cultural ambassadors in 2009, a distinction she holds
to this day. She has been described by the New York Times as "one
of the best young pianists around" and hailed by the Sydney Morning
Herald for her "blistering technique." In July 2015 the Los Angeles
Times declared: "Hers is a nonchalant, brilliant keyboard
virtuosity that would have made both Prokofiev (who was a great
pianist) and even the fabled Horowitz jealous." This combination of
critical acclaim, audience ovations, return engagements at leading
international venues, and an exclusive recording relationship with
Deutsche Grammophon confirm Yuja Wang's status as one of this
century's most compelling and engaging artists.
Yuja's way of making music connects with a strikingly broad
demographic. It appeals to everyone, from classical music newcomers
to devoted pianophiles, and has attracted an exceptionally youthful
following. Her love for fashion, recognized by her induction into
Giorgio Armani's Sì Women's Circle, has also contributed to the
popular appeal of an artist who is armed with the ability to
challenge the status quo and to welcome fresh converts to the
Yuja Wang was born in Beijing and encouraged to make music at a
young age by her dancer mother and percussionist father, which
served as the catalyst for the never-ending thirst for
knowledge that has sustained her continued musical development.
She began piano lessons at the age of six, and her progress was
accelerated by studies at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music.
In 1999 she moved to Canada to participate in the Morningside Music
summer programme at Calgary's Mount Royal College, and thereafter
enrolled as the youngest ever student at Mount Royal Conservatory.
Wang's exceptional gifts were widely recognised in 2001 with her
appointment as a Steinway Artist, and again the following year when
she was offered a place at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis
Institute of Music, where she studied with Gary Graffman.
By the time Yuja graduated from Curtis in 2008, she had already
gained momentum following the spectacular success of her debut
three years earlier with the National Arts Center Orchestra in
Ottawa. Wang attracted widespread international attention in March
2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice in
performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, and within the span of just a few seasons she
was working with conductors of the highest calibre.
Over the past decade of her career, she has worked with such
pre-eminent Maestros as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim,
Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson
Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, and Zubin Mehta.
In January 2009, Yuja Wang became an exclusive Deutsche
Grammophon recording artist. Her debut album, Sonatas &
Etudes, prompted Gramophone to name her as its 2009 Young Artist of
the Year. Her 2011 release of Rachmaninov's Second
Piano Concerto and Paganini's Rhapsody with the Mahler Chamber
Orchestra and Claudio Abbado was nominated for a Grammy® Award
in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category. Subsequent
releases for the label include Fantasia, an album of encore pieces
by Albéniz, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin, and
others; a live recording of Prokofiev's Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra,
and an acclaimed coupling of Ravel's two piano concerti with
Fauré's Ballade, recorded with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and
Reviewers around the world have documented the full range of
Wang's work, capturing the essence of her musicianship and
observing the development of an artist blessed with consummate
technical abilities, an inexhaustible creative imagination, and an
Yuja Wang, piano
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Thomas Rolfs is principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, occupying the Roger Louis Voisin Chair; he is also principal trumpet of the Boston Pops Orchestra, occupying the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Chair. Mr. Rolfs began his career with the BSO in 1991, serving first as fourth trumpet and later as associate principal trumpet. Initially hired by Seiji Ozawa, he was promoted to associate principal trumpet by Ozawa and to principal trumpet by James Levine. Mr. Rolfs’ primary teachers were David Baldwin, Vincent Cichowicz, Arnold Jacobs, Manny Laureano, and Charles Schlueter. As a student, he was a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow in 1978, earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Minnesota, and received his master of music degree from Northwestern University. He then returned to Minnesota for a five-year tenure with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, Thomas Rolfs has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. At the request of John Williams, he was a featured soloist on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film Saving Private Ryan. He was also soloist in Williams’s Summon the Heroes for the nationally televised Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade on July 4, 2001, under Keith Lockhart’s direction. At the invitation of conductor Jaap van Zweden, he was posthorn soloist in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, also recording that work with the Dallas Symphony. Mr. Rolfs’ varied performance background also includes appearances with the National Brass Ensemble, Minnesota Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Empire Brass, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and American Ballet Orchestra. Mr. Rolfs is a founding member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet. As an educator, he has presented master classes throughout the world, including North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. A Yamaha Performing Artist, he collaborated on the development of the second and third generations of Yamaha’s New York C trumpet. A Tanglewood Music Center faculty member since 1998, he also teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University. Mr. Rolfs has been soloist with the BSO in Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Jolivet’s Concertino for trumpet, string orchestra, and piano, and Copland’s Quiet City. In July 2019, with Andris Nelsons conducting the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO), he gave the world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s BSO-commissioned Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra. In July 2017, with Andris Nelsons, the TMCO, and Håkan Hardenberger, he performed Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Dispelling the Fears for two trumpets and orchestra.
Thomas Rolfs, trumpet