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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
Bo Skovhus, baritone
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Soprano Christine Goerke has appeared in the major opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera , New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Scala, Maggio Musical Fiorentio, Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, and the Saito Kinen Festival. She has sung much of the great soprano repertoire, beginning with the Mozart and Handel heroines and now moving into the dramatic Strauss and Wagner roles. She has also received acclaim for her portrayals of the title roles in Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Norma and Iphigenie en Tauride; Kundry in Parsifal, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Leonora in Fidelio, Eboli in Don Carlos, Dyer's Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Alice in Falstaff, and Madame Lidone in Dialogues des Carmelites.
Ms. Goerke has also appeared with a number of the leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Houston Symphony, Radio Vara (at the Concertgebouw), Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She has worked with some of the world's foremost conductors including James Conlon, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Claus Peter Flor, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the late Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers, Jeffery Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Edo de Waart
Ms. Goerke's recording of Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Her close association with Robert Shaw yielded several recordings included the Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes, Poulenc's Stabat Mater, Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Dvorak's Stabat Mater. Other recordings include the title role in Iphigenie en Tauride for Telarc and Britten's War Requiem, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
This season, Ms. Goerke's many engagements include her first fully staged performances of Brünnhilde in Die Walküe at both the Canadian Opera Company and the Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Florencia en el Amazonas at the Washington National Opera, and Elektra at the Michigan Opera Theatre. Other future plans include the full Ring Cycle at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera.
Ms. Goerke was the recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award.
Christine Goerke, soprano
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Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a
"luminous standout" (New York Times) and "equal parts poise,
radiance and elegant directness" (Opera News). Ms. Cooke
appears frequently this season singing Mahler, whose works she has
sung to great acclaim on four different continents. Sought after by
the world's leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music
ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music,
Ms. Cooke's season continues to bring world premiere performances
and unique artistic collaborations.
Ms. Cooke bookends her 2016-17 season with opera performances of
Hänsel und Gretel at the Seattle Opera and a world-premiere by
composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell titled The
(R)evolution of Steve Jobs at The Santa Fe Opera. Throughout the
season her orchestral engagements include the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra with Riccardo Muti leading Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible,
Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" with Royal Concertgebouw
Orchestra as well as Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick
Nézet-Séguin at Carnegie Hall, and a staged version of Verdi's
Requiem with Houston Grand Opera under Patrick Summers. Her season
also features performances with Atlanta Symphony for Christopher
Theofanidis' Creation/Creator conducted by Robert Spano, Milwaukee
Symphony for Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Edo de Waart, Duruflé's
Requiem with Cleveland Orchestra conducted Matthew Halls and also
with National Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles, Minnesota
Orchestra to sing and record Mahler's Symphony No. 2 conducted by
Osmo Vänskä, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra singing a concert of
Handel, Mahler, and Mozart, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with
Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony, Oregon Symphony
for Mozart's Requiem under Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and Nashville
Symphony for Harbison's Requiem that will also be recorded.
During the 2015-16 season, Ms. Cooke sang performances of
Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the San Francisco Symphony and
New World Symphony, both under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas,
and with the Tucson Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the
Louisiana Philharmonic, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Singapore
Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with Trevor Pinnock and the
National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as with the Mormon
Tabernacle Choir, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Nashville
and Seattle Symphonies. A frequent performer of contemporary works,
Ms. Cooke's season featured the world premiere of Marc Neikrug's
Canta-Concerto with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan
Her operatic engagements during the 2015-16 season included her
role debut as Magdalena in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
with San Francisco Opera under the baton of Sir Mark Elder. Ms.
Cooke also joined Harry Bicket and The English Concert in her role
debut as Medoro in Handel's Orlando on tour to Vienna's Theater an
der Wien, Birmingham's Town Hall, Valencia's Palau de la Música,
Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, London's Barbican Centre, and New
York's Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Cooke's past seasons have included performances with such
wide-ranging conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Pinchas Zukerman,
Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Riccardo Frizza, Jeffrey Kahane,
Jaap van Zweden, Robert Spano, Tugan Sokhiev, Andrés
Orozco-Estrada, Tugan Sokhiev, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Matthew Halls,
and Ludovic Morlot. Previous orchestral engagements have brought
her to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Seattle
Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester
Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston
Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, MDR Orchestra,
I Musici de Montreal, Colorado Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Orchestre
National de Lyon, Berkeley Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony,
Indianapolis Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and Columbus
Symphony. Ms. Cooke has performed with opera companies around the
world in the past including Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand
Opera, English National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Dallas
Opera, The Israeli Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. Previous
festival appearances have included Spoleto Festival USA, Caramoor
International Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Mostly Mozart
Festival, New York Festival of Song, Chamber Music Society of
Lincoln Center, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music
Northwest, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Cooke has
performed at such prestigious venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy
Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie's Zankel Hall and Weill
Recital Hall, Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Brooklyn Academy
of Music. On DVD, Ms. Cooke can be seen in a new production of
Hansel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera and the Grammy
Award-winning production of Doctor Atomic under conductor Alan
Gilbert. Ms. Cooke's recordings can be found on the Hyperion,
Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus
A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha
Cooke also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music
Festival, the Ravinia Festival's Steans Music Institute, the Wolf
Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan
Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle
Opera and Central City Opera's Young Artist Training Programs.
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
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Christopher Ventris has performed on the world’s most important stages, enjoyed enduring collaborations with many esteemed conductors and is considered internationally to be one of today’s finest tenors.While Wagner’s music has played an important role in Ventris’ international career, a diverse and wide-ranging repertoire has also been key in his lasting success.
Ventris made a long anticipated role debut last season as Tristan in Wagner’s epic Tristan und Isolde under Alain Altinoglu at Theatre de la Monnaie, to great acclaim: “In the love duet, he sang with honeyed warmth, blending handsomely with Isolde and the orchestra below ……..”. The current season brings further Tristan performances, this time semi-staged, at Royal Danish Opera and conducted by Lothar Koenigs alongside a return to the Metropolitan opera in a role debut as Tambour-Major (Wozzeck), conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and in William Kentridge’s production. In addition to concert performances of Die Walküre with the Dresden Philharmonie under Marek Janowski and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Vedernikov, he joins Robert Carsen’s production at Teatro Real Madrid under Pablo Heras-Casado and also returns to Staatsoper Hamburg as Parsifal.
Christopher Ventris appeared as Peter Grimes at Opernhaus Zürich and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Florestan (Fidelio) at Washington National Opera, Sergei (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) in Geneva, Madrid, London and Brussels, and Jimmy Mahoney (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) at both Berliner and Wiener Staatsoper. Števa in Janáček’s Jenůfa marked his debut at the Metropolitan Opera before graduation to Laca which he sang most recently in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s production at Opernhaus Zürich. Max (Der Freischütz) marked his debut at Teatro alla Scala and he appeared as Pfitzner’s Palestrina at Bayerische Staatsoper. His role debut as Prince Andrey Khovansky (Khovanshchina) at Wiener Staatsoper conducted by Semyon Bychkov, was subsequently seen at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2017 BBC Proms.
An acclaimed debut at Bayreuther Festspiele as Parsifal in Stefan Herheim’s new production, conducted by Daniele Gatti, led to a number of other appearances in the role including at Wiener Staatsoper (Franz Welser-Möst), Bayerische Staatsoper (Kent Nagano), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Bernard Haitink), Opéra national de Paris (Hartmut Haenchen), San Francisco Opera (Donald Runnicles) and is immortalised on DVD from Opernhaus Zürich (Haitink). Ventris has appeared as Siegmund (Die Walküre) at Wiener Staatsoper (Sir Simon Rattle), Bayreuth, Washington, Amsterdam, Budapest, at Semperoper Dresden, and features on CD live from Wiener Staastoper under Christian Thielemann. Ventris joined Philippe Jordan at Salzburger Festspiele in the title role of the lesser-performed Rienzi, made his role debut as Tannhäuser under Sir Mark Elder at Opéra national de Paris, and appeared as Lohengrin at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Real Madrid and The Dallas Opera.
Mauro Peter, tenor