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Andris Nelsons and John Williams conduct Beethoven, John Williams and Bartók featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin 

Andris Nelsons and John Williams conduct Beethoven, John Williams and Bartók featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin 

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Led by both Music Director Andris Nelsons and Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams, the BSO presents a special pair of concerts to welcome back live audiences to Symphony Hall after a nearly 20-month absence. Opening the concert, Mr. Nelsons leads Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture, the first work ever performed by the BSO in 1881. Mr. Williams then takes the podium for the first Boston performances of his own Violin Concerto No. 2, written for superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, which she premiered at Tanglewood in 2021. Completing the program is Bartók’s uniquely dramatic Concerto for Orchestra, one of the BSO’s most famous commissions, originally premiered by Serge Koussevitzky in 1944.

Featured Performers

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

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 John Williams, conductor
John Williams, conductor View biography in full page >

In a career spanning five decades, John Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of one of the country's treasured musical institutions, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world's great orchestras. He remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices.

Mr. Williams has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films. His nearly 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood's most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler's List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Empire of the Sun.   Mr. Williams also composed the scores for all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Memoirs of a Geisha, Far and Away, The Accidental Tourist, Home Alone, Nixon, The Patriot, Angela's Ashes, Seven Years in Tibet, The Witches of Eastwick, Rosewood, Sleepers, Sabrina, Presumed Innocent, The Cowboys, The Reivers, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, among many others. His most recent film project was The Book Thief.  He has worked with such legendary directors as Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, and Robert Altman. He adapted the score for the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, for which he composed original violin cadenzas for renowned virtuoso Isaac Stern. He has appeared on recordings as pianist and conductor with Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman, and others. Mr. Williams has received five Academy Awards and a total of forty-nine Oscar nominations, making him the Academy's most-nominated living person. He also has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), twenty-one Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records.

A composition student of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mr. Williams also studied piano at the Juilliard School with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. He began his career in the film industry working with such accomplished composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for more than 200 television films for the groundbreaking, early anthology series Alcoa Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Chrysler Theatre, and Playhouse 90. His more recent contributions to television music include themes for NBC Nightly News ("The Mission"), the theme for what has become network television's longest-running series, NBC's Meet the Press, and the prestigious PBS arts showcase Great Performances.

Mr. Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies, and concertos for flute, oboe, violin, clarinet, viola, and tuba. His cello concerto was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood in 1994. Mr. Williams also has filled commissions by several of the world's leading orchestras, including a bassoon concerto for the New York Philharmonic, a trumpet concerto for the Cleveland Orchestra, and a horn concerto for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "Seven for Luck," a seven-piece song cycle for soprano and orchestra based on texts by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, was premiered by the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in 1998. And at the opening concert of their 2009-10 season, James Levine led the Boston Symphony in the premiere of Mr. Williams's "On Willows and Birches," a new concerto for harp and orchestra.

In January 1980, Mr. Williams was named nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, succeeding the legendary Arthur Fiedler. He currently holds the title of Laureate Conductor, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993, after fourteen highly successful seasons. He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood.

One of America's best-known and most distinctive artistic voices, Mr. Williams has composed music for many important cultural and commemorative events, including "Liberty Fanfare" for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, "American Journey" for the America's Millennium concert in Washington, D.C., on New Year's Eve 1999, and "Soundings" for the gala opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In the world of sport, he has contributed musical themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Mr. Williams holds honorary degrees from twenty-one American universities, including The Juilliard School, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Southern California. He is a recipient of the 2009 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government. In 2003 he received the Olympic Order, the IOC's highest honor, for his contributions to the Olympic movement. He served as the Grand Marshal of the 2004 Rose Parade in Pasadena, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor in December 2004. In January 2009, Mr. Williams composed and arranged "Air and Simple Gifts" especially for the inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama.

John Williams, conductor
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin View biography in full page >

Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical phenomenon and virtuoso who, for more than 40 years, has been a fixture in all the world’s major concert halls, making her mark in classical music as a soloist, mentor and visionary.

Since her recital debut at the 1976 Lucerne Festival and solo debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Herbert von Karajan at the 1977 Salzburg Whitsun Festival, Ms. Mutter has frequently performed with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Boston Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and has collaborated with the most prominent composers and musicians of our time.
Ms. Mutter is as equally committed to the great canonical works as to the future of music, and has given the world premieres of 26 works, many written for her, by composers including Unsuk Chin, Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutoslawski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir André Previn, Wolfgang Rihm and John Williams.

Ms. Mutter’s 2018/2019 season includes a six-city tour of China in October 2018 with the Sinfonia Varsovia featuring works by Krzysztof Penderecki on the occasion of his 85th birthday. In November 2018, Ms. Mutter returns to the Staakskapelle Berlin with the German premiere of Williams’ Markings for Solo Violin, Strings, and Harp for the Deutsche Grammophon‘s 120th Anniversary Jubilee Concert conducted by Manfred Honeck, followed by appearances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Edinburgh and Glasgow performing Penderecki’s “Metamorphosen” with the conductor on the podium.

In March 2019, Ms. Mutter returns to North America for a five-city tour of the U.S. and Canada featuring the world premiere of Currier’s Piano Trio at Carnegie Hall on March 12. Ms. Mutter then embarks on an extensive tour performing Mozart’s Violin Concertos with the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin—consisting of members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker—in May and June 2019 with performances throughout Germany, Austria, Spain, Greece, and the U.S.

Dedicated to fostering the careers of emerging musicians, Ms. Mutter founded the “Association of Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation e.V.” in 1997, to which the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation was added in 2008. Since 2011, she has regularly shared the spotlight on stage with the foundation’s exclusive ensemble of fellows, The Mutter Virtuosi. She has featured them in recordings, including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,andSchubert’s “Trout” Quintet with Daniil Trifonov.

The four-time Grammy® Award winner released an all-Penderecki album in August 2018 titled Hommage à Penderecki, which included the world premiere recording of the composer’s Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano. The album marks the culmination of Ms. Mutter’s season-wide celebration of Penderecki’s 85th birthday in 2018, which has included recitals across U.S. and Europe, performed with the London Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and at Carnegie Hall.
                                                                                                                   
Ms. Mutter has received international awards and honors, including the Polish Gold Medal for Merit to Culture, the Bavarian State Foundation Culture Prize, the Romanian Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Grand Officer, the insignia of a Commander of the French Order of Arts and Literature, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum for her services to music education and young artists, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, and the German Grand Order of Merit, among numerous others.

 

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
Program Notes Audio
BEETHOVEN - Overture, The Consecration of the House
John WILLIAMS - Violin Concerto No. 2
BARTÓK - Concerto for Orchestra
Full Program Notes - Available Here