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Andris Nelsons conducts Grieg and Mahler featuring pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and soprano Genia Kühmeier

Andris Nelsons conducts Grieg and Mahler featuring pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and soprano Genia Kühmeier

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes joins Andris Nelsons and the BSO for his countryman Edvard Grieg’s powerful Piano Concerto, a staple of the virtuoso repertoire. German soprano Genia Kühmeier makes her BSO debut as soloist in the last movement of Mahler’s sunlit, expansive Symphony No. 4, completed in 1900. The Fourth is the last of the composer’s three Wunderhorn symphonies, which feature vocal settings of texts from the folk-poem collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a preoccupation of Mahler’s for more than a decade. The final movement is an expansion of his 1892 song “Das himmlische Leben” (“Heavenly Life”).

Featured Performers

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

Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. These two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between both institutions, have firmly established Grammy Award-winning Nelsons as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today. Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. These two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between both institutions, have firmly established Grammy Award-winning Nelsons as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2014/15 season. This season, the BSO and Nelsons embark on a major tour throughout Asia, giving their first concerts together in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The orchestra also continues its appearances at Carnegie Hall as part of the Great American Orchestras series, with a special concert performance Tristan und Isolde featuring Jonas Kaufmann. Since his appointment as Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig in February 2018, Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester have completed a number of successful tours, including their first Asia tour together in May/June 2019, performing in Japan and China. This season, the orchestra looks forward to two European tours, which will include performances at the BBC Proms, the festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, special highlight for Nelsons, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester: three joint performances in Boston will be given as part of the alliance between the two orchestras, and the Gewandhausorchester will perform additional concerts

During the 2019/20 season, Nelsons continues his regular collaborations with the Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he conducts Furthermore, th anniversary, the Wiener Philharmoniker and Nelsons present a cycle of Beethoven's symphonies at the Musikverein and on tour at the Philharmonie de Paris, Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich, and collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Andris Nelsons has an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, which has paved the way for three landmark projects. Nelsons and the BSO partner on recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies and the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. The fourth and most recent instalment was released in February 2019. Each of the first three releases of the cycle have received Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral Performance, the third additionally winning in the Best Engineered Album, Classical category. Nelsons and the yellow label also have embarked upon a critically acclaimed project with the Gewandhausorchester that sheds new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, and pairs these distinctive symphonic pieces with works by Wagner. The most recent instalment was released in May 2019. Finally, Philharmoniker will be released in October 2019.

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 2008-2015, Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany 2006-2009 and Music Director of the Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano View biography in full page >

The New York Times calls Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight,” and the Wall Street Journal names him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won international acclaim, playing concertos and recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras, while building an esteemed and extensive discography. He is the founding director of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, was co-artistic director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, and has served as music director of California’s Ojai Music Festival. A Gramophone Hall of Fame inductee, he received honorary doctorates from Norway’s University of Bergen and New York’s Juilliard School.

Andsnes launched the season with the release on Sony Classical of Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes, his first recording of the composer’s music in more than a decade. In concert, he played Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with London’s Philharmonia and the Staatskapelle Dresden, and looks forward to reprising it with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in Italy and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB) in Asia. He rejoins the RSB for Mozart, whose concertos also take him to the Munich Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with which he tours Germany, France, and Portugal. The tour marks the launch of “Mozart Momentum 1785/86,” a major new multi-season project that sees him and the orchestra explore one of the most creative and seminal periods of the composer’s career.

In recital this season, Andsnes debuted a colorful solo program of Schumann, Bartók and Janáček with dates in Paris, Frankfurt, and Florence He also joins baritone Matthias Goerne for Schubert lieder in Paris, Essen, and Barcelona, and returns to Norway for his fourth summer at the helm of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival. 

Perhaps Andsnes’s most ambitious achievement to date is “The Beethoven Journey,” his epic four-season focus on the composer’s music for piano and orchestra, with more than 230 live performances in 108 cities across 27 countries. The project was chronicled in the documentary Concerto – A Beethoven Journey and captured on the Sony Classical series The Beethoven Journey. The first volume was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, the second recognized with BBC Music’s coveted “2015 Recording of the Year Award,” and the complete series chosen as one of the “Best of 2014” by the New York Times.

Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical, having previously recorded more than 30 titles, many of them bestsellers, for EMI Classics. He recently received his ninth Grammy nomination, for Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & other works for two pianos four hands, recorded with Marc-André Hamelin for Hyperion. His many other international prizes include six Gramophone Awards, and two of his albums were named “Best CD of the Year” by the New York Times and awarded coveted Penguin Guide “Rosettes.”

Andsnes has received two of Norway’s top tributes: Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and the Peer Gynt Prize. He has been honored as a New York Philharmonic’ Artist-in-Residence, as the first Scandinavian to curate Carnegie Hall’s “Perspectives” series, and as been the subject of a London Symphony Orchestra Artist Portrait Series. The recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award, he was named one of Vanity Fair’s “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory. He is currently an Artistic Adviser for the Prof. Jirí Hlinka Piano Academy in Bergen, where he lives with his partner and their three children.

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Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Genia Kühmeier, soprano Genia Kühmeier, soprano
Program Notes Audio
GRIEG - Piano Concerto
MAHLER - Symphony No. 4 (58 min)