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LEIPZIG WEEK IN BOSTONBoston Symphony Orchestra andGewandhausorchester Leipzig

Boston Symphony Orchestra and
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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To conclude “Leipzig Week in Boston,” an intermixed orchestra of BSO and Gewandhausorchester members plays three concerts under Andris Nelsons’ direction. Haydn’s 1792 Sinfonia concertante—here featuring soloists from both the BSO and the GHO—was written during the first of the composer’s wildly successful visits to England, for which he also wrote the twelve “London” symphonies. Richard Strauss’ Festive Prelude for organ and orchestra, featuring French organist Olivier Latry as soloist, was written for the opening of Vienna’s Konzerthaus in 1913; its only BSO performances were later that same year. The organ also has a major role in the Russian composer and mystic Alexander Scriabin’s lushly exotic Poem of Ecstasy (1908), which features kaleidoscopic orchestral effects and rich, post-Romantic harmonies. Completing the program is Schoenberg’s intoxicating Verklärte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”) for strings, an 1899 tone poem considered to be the composer’s first masterpiece.

Featured Performers

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, Dvoˇrák, 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 Olivier Latry, organ
Olivier Latry, organ View biography in full page >

French organist Olivier Latry is one of the most distinguished concert organists in the world today. One of three titular organists at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, he is also professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory of Music, organist emeritus with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and artist in residence at the Dresdner Philharmonie for 2017-2019. He maintains a full schedule of concert performances, appearing regularly as a soloist at prestigious venues and festivals with leading orchestras around the world. Highlights in recent years have included the premiere of Benoît Mernier’s organ concerto for the inauguration of the new organ at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 2017, the premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s Ascending Light for organ and orchestra with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2015, and the premiere performances of Kaija Saariaho’s Maan Varjot for organ and orchestra with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre National de Lyon, and Philharmonia Orchestra in 2014. In addition to concerts and teaching, Mr. Latry has made many acclaimed recordings. Among his most recent are last year’s Cypres Records release “A Wake of Music,” on which he plays the newly restored organ of the Salle Henry Le Bœuf in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and a 2016 recording for Warner Classics, “Voyages,” on the Philharmonie de Paris’s new Rieger organ. In recognition of his distinguished work in the fields of organ performance and teaching, Mr. Latry has received many prestigious awards and honorary degrees including, in 2009, the International Performer of the Year award of the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists and, in 2010, an honorary doctor of music degree from McGill University. Mr. Latry was born in 1962 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, where he began his musical studies. He later attended the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, studying organ with Gaston Litaize. Olivier Latry has appeared with the BSO twice before, first in March 2013 as soloist in Saint-Säens’s Organ Symphony (No. 3) under Christoph Eschenbach, and then in March 2015, with Andris Nelsons conducting, for the premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s Ascending Light, the BSO’s first-ever commission for organ solo and orchestra.

Olivier Latry, organ
John Ferrillo, oboe
John Ferrillo, oboe View biography in full page >

John Ferrillo joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as principal oboe at the start of the 2001 Tanglewood season, occupying the Mildred B. Remis Principal Oboe Chair, having appeared with the orchestra several times in previous seasons as a guest performer. From 1986 to 2001 he was principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mr. Ferrillo grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts, and played in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute, where he studied with John de Lancie and received his diploma and artist’s certificate. He also studied with John Mack at the Blossom Festival and has participated in the Marlboro, Craftsbury, and Monadnock festivals. Prior to his appointment at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Ferrillo was second oboe of the San Francisco Symphony, and was a faculty member at Illinois State University and West Virginia State University. A former faculty member of the Mannes School of Music and Juilliard School of Music in New York City, he has taught and performed at the Aspen and Waterloo festivals and currently serves on the faculties of the New England Conservatory, Boston University, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. His previous BSO appearances as soloist have included Ligeti’s Double Concerto for flute and oboe, with BSO colleague Elizabeth Rowe, which they will perform again on the final subscription concerts of the current season; Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings, also with BSO colleagues; Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto; two collaborations with violinist Pinchas Zukerman at Tanglewood in music of J.S. Bach; Wayne Barlow’s The Winter’s Past, led by Leonard Slatkin in a 2014 Tanglewood program celebrating the conductor’s 70th birthday; Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat for oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, K.297b, with BSO colleagues on the opening program of the 2014-15 season; and, most recently, in May 2018, Marcello’s Concerto in C minor for oboe and strings with Moritz Gnann conducting. As principal oboe of the BSO, Mr. Ferrillo is also a faculty member at the Tanglewood Music Center and a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, with whom he can be heard in BSO Classics recordings of Mozart’s Quartet in F for oboe and strings, K.370; William Bolcom’s Serenata Notturna for oboe and strings, and Dutilleux’s Les Citations for oboe, harpsichord, double bass, and percussion. 

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John Ferrillo, oboe Richard Svoboda, bassoon
Richard Svoboda, bassoon View biography in full page >

Richard Svoboda has been principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players since 1989; as the BSO’s principal bassoon he occupies the Edward A. Taft Chair. An active chamber music collaborator, orchestral soloist, and recitalist, he is currently on the faculties of the New England Conservatory, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Sarasota Music Festival, and has given master classes throughout the world. Prior to his BSO appointment he was principal bassoon of the Jacksonville Symphony for ten seasons. Mr. Svoboda’s solo appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra have included John Williams’s bassoon concerto Five Sacred Trees with the composer conducting and Weber’s Concerto for Bassoon with Seiji Ozawa. He made his first solo appearance with the BSO in April 1991, in Haydn’s B-flat Concertante for violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon; played the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s BSO-commissioned Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in 2013 with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting; has appeared with the orchestra on two occasions in Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings, under Seiji Ozawa and Charles Dutoit; and made his most recent solo appearance with the BSO in September 2014, with Marcelo Lehninger conducting, in Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat for oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, K.297b. Mr. Svoboda premiered Michael Gandolfi’s Concerto for Bassoon in 2007 and in 2011, along with his daughter, clarinetist Erin Svoboda, premiered Gandolfi’s Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon, collaborating on both occasions with Yoichi Udagawa and the Melrose Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Svoboda has more than thirty recordings to his credit with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Chamber Players, as well as the soundtracks to Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. His recordings include Gandolfi’s Concerto for Bassoon with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; “Le Phénix, 18th-Century French Music for Bassoon,” including music of Boismortier, Corrette, and Devienne; and a CD of early 20th-century European music. Mr. Svoboda is married and the proud father of four daughters. He and his family reside in Melrose. For further information, please visit

Visit for more information about the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.

Richard Svoboda, bassoon
Frank-Michael Erben, violin
Frank-Michael Erben, violin View biography in full page >

Frank-Michael Erben comes from a family of musicians in Leipzig and began playing the violin at five. Following studies at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig, he won the first concertmaster chair in the Gewandhausorchester at twenty-one. In 2007 he was also named first concertmaster of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. Under such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt, and Riccardo Chailly, he has performed violin concertos of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius and appeared as soloist with renowned orchestras throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. He regularly gives master classes on violin and chamber music internationally, at such venues as Tokyo’s Geidai University of Arts and the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. The Kirishima Music Festival in Japan has honored him with the title of guest professor. Since 1993, Mr. Erben has led the Gewandhaus Quartet (established in 1808), giving more than 800 performances with that ensemble worldwide. The Gewandhaus Quartet has performed for Emperor Akihito of Japan and Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, among others. At the Palacio Real in Madrid it has performed on a quartet of instruments in the holdings of the Spanish royal family and made by Antonio Stradivarius. For his work on Beethoven’s chamber music, he was named an honorary member of the Beethoven Society in Bonn. His complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets with the Gewandhaus Quartet was honored with the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. The city of Leipzig has awarded him the Internationaler Mendelssohn-Preis. Frank-Michael Erben has also been active as a conductor for several years. In addition to several German orchestras, including the Gewandhausorchester, he has conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra Hezlya in Tel Aviv. From 2009 to 2014 he was music director of the Leipziger Symphonieorchester. Mr. Erben plays a violin made by the Italian violin maker J.B. Guadagnini in Milan, 1755.

Frank-Michael Erben, violin Christian Giger, cello
Christian Giger, cello View biography in full page >

Born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, cellist Christian Giger studied with Susanne Basler at the conservatory in Winterthur and with Boris Pergamenschikow at the Hochschule für Music in Cologne, where he also studied chamber music with the legendary Amadeus Quartet. He graduated with distinction in 1992, the same year he became principal cello of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. As soloist, he has performed concertos of such composers as Britten, Dvoˇrák, Elgar, Haydn, Lalo, Frank Martin, and Saint-Säens, as well as Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos. He has collaborated with conductors including Herbert Blomstedt, Charles Dutoit, Samuel Friedman, Leopold Hager, Richard Hickox, and Dmitrij Kitaenko, to name a few. Mr. Giger has performed at numerous festivals, including the Concerti per L’Europa, Kyburgiade Winterthur, Rheingau, and Schleswig-Holstein festivals. His partners in chamber music include Mirijam Contzen, Maria Graf, Stefan Hussong, Sharon Kam, Vassily Lobanov, Robert McDuffie, Emmanuel Pahud, Mariana Sirbu, and Dénes Várjon. With his wife, pianist Yuka Kobayashi, he frequently appears in recital at the Gewandhaus and regularly tours Japan. Mr. Giger founded the International Chamber Music Festival Leipzig and is now artistic director of the Lindensaalkonzerte in his hometown of Markkleeberg. An avid educator, he also teaches at the Leipzig Hochschule for Music and the Gewandhaus Orchestra Academy. In 2019 he received the special prize of the Mayor of Markkleeberg for the Lindensaalkonzerte. Mr. Giger has been a member of the faculty of the International Summer Music Academy Leipzig (presented by the Leipzig Hochschule and the Juilliard School), the International Summer Academy Schloss Heiligenberg, and the Aiyoshidai Chamber Music Seminar, as well as an instructor for the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, and has given master classes in Tokyo, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He records for Dabringhaus & Grimm (MDG), his most recent release being Patterns in a Chromatic Field, an eighty-minute piece for cello and piano by Morton Feldman.

Christian Giger, cello
Program Notes Audio
STRAUSS - Festive Prelude, for organ and orchestra
HAYDN - Sinfonia concertante in B-flat for oboe, bassoon, violin, and cello
SCHOENBERG - Verklärte Nacht (October 21 & November 2)
SCRIABIN - Poem of Ecstasy
Audio Concert Preview (coming soon) - Full Program Notes
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