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Andris Nelsons conducts Shostakovich, Beethoven, and Dvořák featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman

Andris Nelsons conducts Shostakovich, Beethoven, and Dvořák featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman joins BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons and the orchestra for two January programs. In this concert he plays Beethoven’s lyrical, warm Piano Concerto No. 4. Continuing the BSO’s immersion in the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, Andris Nelsons conducts Rudolf Barshai’s string-orchestra arrangement of the composer’s Eighth String Quartet, Op. 110 (1960), which the composer suggested was his most autobiographical work. (Barshai was an important conductor and champion of Shostakovich’s music.) The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony is the most important piece he composed during his years in the U.S., when he was director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. The beloved four-movement symphony uses musical elements shared by both North American and Czech folk music.

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 Yefim Bronfman, piano
Yefim Bronfman, piano View biography in full page >

Internationally recognized as one of today's most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors and recital series. His commanding technique, power and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.

In celebration of the 80th birthday of Maestro Temirkanov, Mr. Bronfman’s 2018-19 season begins with a European tour with St. Petersburg Philharmonic. This is followed by a Scandinavian tour with The Royal Concertgebouw and Maestro Gatti with orchestral concerts in Europe during the season including Paris (Orchestre National de France), London (LPO), Cologne (WDR), Rome (Santa Cecilia), Berlin (Philharmonic), and Vienna Philharmonic on tour. In the US he will return to orchestras in Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Dallas, and in recital can be heard in New York (Carnegie Hall), Berkeley, Stanford, Aspen, Madrid, Geneva, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Berlin, Naples, Rome and on tour in the spring with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena.

Mr. Bronfman works regularly with an illustrious group of conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jaap Van Zweden, Franz Welser-Möst, and David Zinman. Summer engagements have regularly taken him to the major festivals of Europe and the US. Always keen to explore chamber music repertoire, his partners have included Pinchas Zukerman, Martha Argerich, Magdalena Kožená, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Emmanuel Pahud and many others.

He has also given numerous solo recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. In 1991 he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking Mr. Bronfman's first public performances there since his emigration to Israel at age 15. That same year he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists. In 2010 he was honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University.

Widely praised for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, Mr. Bronfman has been nominated for 6 GRAMMY® Awards, winning in 1997 with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for their recording of the three Bartok Piano Concerti. His prolific catalog of recordings includes works for two pianos by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, the complete Prokofiev concerti with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, a Schubert/Mozart disc with the Zukerman Chamber Players and the soundtrack to Disney's Fantasia 2000. His most recent CD releases are the 2014 GRAMMY® nominated Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2 commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bayerischer Rundfunk; a recital disc, Perspectives, complementing Mr. Bronfman's designation as a Carnegie Hall ‘Perspectives' artist for the 2007-08 season; and recordings of all the Beethoven piano concerti as well as the Triple Concerto together with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tönhalle Orchestra Zürich under David Zinman for the Arte Nova/BMG label.

Now available on DVD are his performances of Liszt's second piano concerto with Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic from Schoenbrunn, 2010 on Deutsche Grammophon; Beethoven's fifth piano concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the 2011 Lucerne Festival; Rachmaninoff's third concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle on the EuroArts label and both Brahms Concerti with Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra (2015).

Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He is a 2015 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.

Yefim Bronfman, piano
Program Notes Audio
SHOSTAKOVICH (arr. BARSHAI) - Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a
BEETHOVEN - Piano Concerto No. 4 (35 min)
DVOŘÁK - Symphony No. 9, From the New World (40 min)