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Andris Nelsons conducts HK Gruber, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Andris Nelsons conducts HK Gruber, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The BSO and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig co-commissioned the prominent Viennese composer HK Gruber’s Short Stories from the Vienna Woods, the title of which winks at a famous waltz by Johann Strauss II. The French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet—as comfortable in jazz as he is in classical repertoire—collaborates with Andris Nelsons and the BSO once again in George Gershwin’s jazzy-bluesy Piano Concerto in F. Completing the concert is Rachmaninoff’s substantial, by turns dynamic and beautiful Symphony No. 3, one of his last works, which was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1936.

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 Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano View biography in full page >

For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed world-wide, recorded more than 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire – from Beethoven through Liszt, Grieg, and Saint-Saëns; to Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to contemporary composers Qigang Chen and James MacMillan. From the very start of his career, he delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, which he transcribed himself to play on the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art.

Thibaudet begins the Seattle Symphony's season with Khachaturian's Piano Concerto. In the summer of 2018, he toured Taiwan, China, and South Korea with Michael Tilson Thomas and Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra. He also expresses his passion for education and fostering young musical talent as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. The school has extended the residency for an additional three years and has announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice.

As one of the premiere interpreters of the solo part in Bernstein's Age of Anxiety, Thibaudet continues to perform the piece around the world as the composer's centennial year comes to a close. In addition to playing it with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the orchestra's first-ever appearance at the BBC Proms, he plays it with the Los Angeles and Brussels philharmonics and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In 2018-19 he renews many longstanding musical partnerships, including touring a program of Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, and Enescu with Midori, touring the great concert halls of Europe with Lisa Batiashvili and Gautier Capuçon, and performing chamber music with brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. With Gautier he also premieres Richard Dubugnon's Eros Athanatos, a fantaisie concertante for cello and piano, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. They go on to perform it with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra across Belgium, at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. With the Cleveland Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Thibaudet plays another piece that he introduced to the world: James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Other highlights include beginning 2019 with Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, then with Susanna Mälkki and the LA Phil. With Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, he takes Saint-Saëns' fifth piano concerto on tour to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Philharmonie Essen, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

Thibaudet’s recording catalogue has received two Grammy nominations, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, and Gramophone awards. In 2017 he released to great acclaim Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, variations on “I Got Rhythm,” and the Concerto in F. In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Thibaudet – one of the foremost champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5, released in 2007, he is joined by Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Thibaudet's Aria–Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are Thibaudet's own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations With Bill Evans.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the world of fashion, film and philanthropy. He played Aaron Zigman’s soundtrack for Wakefield, a drama by Robin Swicord, which was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work. Thibaudet was soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, and recorded Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood. 

Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At twelve, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age fifteen, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Program Notes Audio
HK GRUBER - Short Stories from the Vienna Woods (American premiere; BSO co-commission)
GERSHWIN - Piano Concerto in F
RACHMANINOFF - Symphony No. 3