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The 2018-19 season is Andris Nelsons’ fifth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons leads fourteen of the BSO’s twenty-six subscription programs in 2018-19, ranging from orchestral works by Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Copland to concerto collaborations with acclaimed soloists, as well as world and American premieres of pieces newly commissioned by the BSO from Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Andris Dzenītis, and Mark-Anthony Turnage; the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and concert performances of Puccini’s one-act opera Suor Angelica. 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. In February 2018, he became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he brings both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance. Immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, Maestro Nelsons and the BSO made their third European tour together, playing concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam. Their first European tour, following the 2015 Tanglewood season, took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals; the second, in May 2016, took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg.
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 new two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). 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.
The 2018-19 season is Maestro Nelsons’ final season as artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and marks his first season as artist-in-residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. In addition, he continues his regular collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, 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
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She could be called a Renaissance woman
for our times. Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and
committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a
central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that
extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic
expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has
established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a
compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.
Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano
studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before
going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was
accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first
prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued
to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until, in 1987, she
gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year,
renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the
Orchestre de Paris.
This marked the launch of Grimaud's musical career, characterised
ever since by concerts with most of the world's major orchestras
and many celebrated conductors. Her recordings have been critically
acclaimed and awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes
Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique,
Diapason d'or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo),
Midem Classic Award and the Echo Award.
Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under
Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York
Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 - just two of many notable
musical milestones - Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut:
in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation
Her love for the endangered species was sparked by a chance
encounter with a wolf in northern Florida; this led to her
determination to open an environmental education centre. "To be
involved in direct conservation and being able to put animals back
where they belong," she says, "there's just nothing more
fulfilling." But Grimaud's engagement doesn't end there: she is
also a member of the organisation Musicians for Human Rights, a
worldwide network of musicians and people working in the field of
music to promote a culture of human rights and social change.
For most people, establishing and running an environmental
organisation or having a flourishing career as a musician would be
accomplishment enough. Yet, remarkably, Hélène Grimaud has also
found time to pursue writing, publishing three books that have
appeared in various languages. Her first, Variations
Sauvages, appeared in 2003. It was followed in 2005
by Leçons particulières, and in 2013
by Retour à Salem, both semi-autobiographical
Despite her divided dedication to these multiple passions, it is
through Grimaud's thoughtful and tenderly expressive music-making
that she most deeply touches the emotions of audiences.
Fortunately, they have been able to enjoy her concerts worldwide,
thanks to the extensive tours she undertakes as a soloist and
recitalist. She is also an ardent and committed chamber musician
who performs frequently at the most prestigious festivals and
cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators,
including Sol Gabetta, Thomas Quasthoff, Rolando Villazón, Jan
Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen and the Capuçon brothers.
Recent performance highlights have included two collaborations
with the Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon -
firstly, tears become… streams become…, a large-scale
immersive installation at New York's historic Park Avenue Armory,
whose Drill Hall floor was flooded to become an immense field of
water, and secondly, Neck of the Woods, a piece
devised for the Manchester International Festival combining music,
visual art and theatre, in which Grimaud shared the stage with
legendary actress Charlotte Rampling. She also appeared at the
opening-night gala of the new Philharmonie de Paris and gave two
summer concerts at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (New
York State) in her role as 2015 Artist-in-Residence. Her recital at
the Philharmonie Essen in May, meanwhile, was crowned by the award
of the 2015 Klavier-Festival Ruhr Prize, honouring her exceptional
career and extraordinary artistry.
In her diary for the 2015/16 season are appearances with Valery
Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at St Petersburg's White Nights
Festival and at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden's Summer Festival.
She plays Beethoven with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di
Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano and Brahms with the
Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She also
tours Asia and Europe, playing concertos by Ravel, Brahms and
Mozart and giving a recital programme inspired by water.
In 2016, Grimaud released Water, a live recording of
the performances from tears become… streams
become… which brings together works by nine composers:
Berio, Takemitsu, Fauré, Ravel, Albéniz, Liszt, Janáček, Debussy,
and Nitin Sawhney, who has written seven shortWater
Transitions for the album as well as producing it.
Grimaud has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since
2002, and Water follows the September 2013
release of her album of the two Brahms piano concertos, the first
concerto with Andris Nelsons conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony
Orchestra and the second recorded with the Vienna
Philharmonic. Classic FM said: "Hélène Grimaud
turns her thrilling, deeply personal brand of music-making to
Brahms's first and second Piano Concertos. Throughout her playing
is sensitive, graceful, and commanding without ever feeling
forced." Limelightmagazine called it an "utterly
remarkable, inspired and inspiring recording".
Duo, the album she recorded with cellist Sol Gabetta just
prior to the Brahms concertos, won the 2013 ECHO Award for "chamber
recording of the year". Previous releases include her readings of
Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 23 on a 2011 disc
which also featured a collaboration with singer Mojca Erdmann in
the same composer's Ch'io mi scordi di te?.Grimaud's
2010 release, the solo recital album Resonances,
showcased music by Mozart, Berg, Liszt and Bartók, while her other
DG recordings include a selection of Bach's solo and concerto
works, in which she directed the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
from the piano; a Beethoven disc with the Staatskapelle Dresden and
Vladimir Jurowski which was chosen as one of history's greatest
classical music albums in the iTunes "Classical Essentials"
series; Reflection and Credo (both
of which feature a number of thematically linked works); a Chopin
and Rachmaninov Sonatas disc; a Bartók CD on which she plays the
Third Piano Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra under
Pierre Boulez; and a DVD release of Rachmaninov's Second Piano
Concerto with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the direction of
Hélène Grimaud is undoubtedly a multi-faceted artist. Her deep
dedication to her musical career, both in performances and
recordings, is reflected and reciprocally amplified by the scope
and depth of her environmental and literary pursuits.
Hélène Grimaud, piano