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Andris Nelsons conducts Ives and Beethoven

Tanglewood

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For the second year in a row, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its traditional season-ending performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Sunday, August 27. The performance features soprano Katie Van Kooten in her BSO and Tanglewood debuts; mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford; tenor Russell Thomas; and bass-baritone John Relyea, along with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Maestro Nelsons and the BSO open the program with Charles Ives's tribute to Western Massachusetts, "The Housatonic at Stockbridge" from Three Places in New England.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Andris Nelsons, conductor
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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 will lead 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 5, 8, 9, and 10, the initial releases in a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a new two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 4 and 11, The Year 1905. 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 Katie Van Kooten, soprano Katie Van Kooten, soprano
Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano Russell Thomas, tenor
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A native of Miami, Tenor Russell Thomas is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene, most recently as the First-Prize winner of the prestigious "Viñas Competition" in Barcelona (First Prize, Audience Favorite and Best Tenor) and at the "Competizione dell'Opera" in Dresden.

Russell Thomas' current season begins with his role debut as Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY for his return to the Welsh National Opera.  He will then be heard in two operas at his home company, the Metropolitan Opera, first as Foresto and Uldino in a new Pierre Audi/Riccardo Muti production of Verdi's ATTILA, then as the Steersman in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER.  Later in the season, Mr. Thomas will add two more Verdi parts to his repertoire: the tenor solo in his MESSA DA REQUIEM for the Basel Opera and Cassio in OTELLO with the Cincinnati Opera.  Future plans include returns to the Metropolitan Opera and a debut with the Frankfurt Opera, all in leading roles.

Mr. Thomas' recent projects included Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Metropolitan Opera, his debut as the Duke of Mantua in RIGOLETTO with the Arizona Opera, and the Steersman in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER with Atlanta Opera.  Russell Thomas also reprised his role of the Prince for John Adams' A FLOWERING TREE with Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Perth International Festival and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.  Among other notable debuts were the role of Mao Tse-Tung in Mr. Adams' NIXON IN CHINA with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the composer conducting as well as concerts of Schubert's MASS NO. 6 with the Houston Symphony and Hans Graf. He also performed George Walker's LILACS with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall and Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium, conducted by Charles Dutoit, as well as the tenor soloist in Michael Tippett's A CHILD OF OUR TIME as part of the Honor! Festival at Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium.  In addition, Mr. Thomas appeared at Carnegie's Weill Hall for the Marilyn Horne Foundation in a joint recital that was part of the mezzo's 75th birthday celebration.

Further engagements included Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE for Welsh National Opera, Malcolm in MACBETH for the Metropolitan Opera, as well as appearances at Festival d'Aix-en-Provence where he reprised his role of the Sultan in ZAIDE and A FLOWERING TREE at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, among other concert and recital engagements.

In the 2006/2007 season the tenor returned to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, while creating the role of the Prince in the world premiere of John Adams' A FLOWERING TREE for Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. The work was also the vehicle for his Berlin Philharmonic debut under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, as well as his San Francisco Symphony debut. Other engagements this season included debuts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Michigan Opera Theatre as Tybalt in ROMEO ET JULIETTE, concerts with the London Symphony at the Barbican Centre in London and recitals in Miami and NYC with renowned pianist Ken Noda.

In the 2005/06 season the tenor covered Tamino and performed the 1st Prisoner in FIDELIO at the Metropolitan Opera, and returned to the Seattle Symphony for Mozart's MASS IN C-MINOR, and the finale of Strauss' IDOMENEO. Other appearances included the Sultan in Mozart's ZAIDE at the Vienna Festwochen, the Barbican Centre in London, and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in a new Peter Sellars production. During the 2003/04 Season Mr. Thomas performed Orff's CARMINA BURANA with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Ernesto in DON PASQUALE with Spokane Opera, and appeared in recital in NYC, Miami, and Manchester, VT. In the 2004/05 Season he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Herald in DON CARLO and covered Tito in Mozart's LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. Other appearances that season included debuts with the Seattle Symphony and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and a summer at the Marlboro Music Festival where he returned in 2006 to perform Mozart's IDOMENEO. In 2006 he was awarded 1st Place at the Liederkranz Competition as well as the George London Foundation Competition and was a major award recipient of the Lee Schaenen Foundation. In 2005 he was a winner in the Young Concert Artist Competition, George London Foundation Compeition, and the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition, as well as 1st place winner of the 2004 Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition.

Mr. Thomas has also performed with the Florida Grand Opera (Roderigo in OTELLO, Mayor Upfold in ALBERT HERRING, Ivan in Wargo's THE MUSIC SHOP, Male Chorus in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA), Seattle Opera (Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE and Rodolfo in LA BOHEME) and Tulsa Opera (Nemorino in L'ELISIR D'AMORE, Borsa in RIGOLETTO, Ruiz in IL TROVATORE, Janicku in Janacek's DIARY OF ONE WHO VANISHED).

Other notable appearances include his 2001 Tulsa Philharmonic debut with Simon Estes in a benefit for the Simon Estes Foundation, Handel's MESSIAH with the New Jersey Symphony, Rossini's STABAT MATER with Florida Grand Opera Chorus, and the U.S. Premier of Lorenzitti's MESSE A GRANDE SYMPHONIE with the Miami Bach Society. Mr. Thomas also recorded Thomas Sleeper's ACELDAMA: FIELD OF BLOOD for Albany Records.

An alumnus of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera, Russell Thomas was also a member of Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, a Roger R. Hinkley artist at the Florida Grand Opera, a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St Louis, an apprentice at the Sarasota Opera and was proud to take part in the 2005 and 2006 Marlboro Music Festivals.  He holds a Bachelor's Degree of Music in Performance from the New World School of the Arts.

Russell Thomas, tenor
John Relyea, bass-baritone
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John Relyea continues to distinguish himself as one of today's finest basses.

Mr. Relyea has appeared in many of the world's most celebrated opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera (where he is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and a former Adler Fellow), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Vienna State Opera, Theater an der Wien, and the Mariinksy Theater. 

His roles include the title roles in Attila, Le Nozze di Figaro, Bluebeard's Castle, Don Quixotte, Attila, and Aleko; Zaccaria in Nabucco, Bertram inRoberto le Diable, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Colline in La Bohème, Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Giorgio in I puritani, Banquo in Macbeth, Garibaldo inRodelinda, Méphistophélès in both Faust and La Damnation de Faust, the Four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Escamillo in Carmen, Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Caspar in Der Freischutz, Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia, and King René in Iolanta.

Mr. Relyea also remains in high demand throughout the concert world where he appears regularly with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. 

He has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Blossom, Cincinnati May, Vail, Lanaudière, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne and Mostly Mozart festivals, and in the BBC Proms.

In recital, he has been presented at Weill Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Wigmore Hall in London, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, and the University of Chicago Presents series.

The many conductors with whom Mr. Relyea has worked with include Harry Bicket, Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Sir Roger Norrington, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Ilan Volkov.

Mr. Relyea's recordings include the Verdi Requiem (LSO Live), Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (EMI), Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI), and the Metropolitan Opera's DVD presentations of Don Giovanni, I Puritani and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Deutsche Grammophon), and Macbeth (Metropolitan Opera HD Live Series).

This season, Mr. Relyea returns to the Metropolitan Opera as the Water Sprite in Rusalka and appears in a new production of I Lombardi at the Hamburg State Opera. He also appears in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Hamburg NDR. Mr. Relyea is the winner of the 2009 Beverly Sills Award and the 2003 Richard Tucker Award.

John Relyea, bass-baritone
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
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Tanglewood Festival Chorus
James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
John Oliver (1939-2018), Founder

Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Mass led by Andris Nelsons, the British-born James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director. He occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair on the Boston Symphony Orchestra roster. This season the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins the BSO for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (October 25-30), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (November 29-December 1), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (February 21 and 22), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (February 28-March 2) all under Andris Nelsons, and Estévez’s Cantata Criolla (April 11-13) with conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

Though first established for performances at the BSO’s summer home, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was soon playing a major role in the BSO’s subscription season as well as BSO concerts at Carnegie Hall. Now numbering more than 300 members, the ensemble performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with the BSO on tour in Hong Kong and Japan, and on two European tours, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on those two occasions. The TFC made its debut in April 1970, in a BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Its first recording with the orchestra, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with Seiji Ozawa, received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance of 1975. The TFC has since made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, with Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams. In August 2011, with John Oliver conducting and soloist Stephanie Blythe, the TFC gave the world premiere of Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere for mezzo-soprano and chorus, commissioned by the BSO for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Its most recent recordings on BSO Classics, all drawn from live performances, include a disc of a cappella music marking the TFC’s 40th anniversary; Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé (a 2009 Grammy-winner for Best Orchestral Performance), Brahms’s German Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). On July 4, 2018, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joined Keith Lockhart for the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” on the Charles River Esplanade.

Besides their work with the BSO, TFC members have also performed with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and in a Saito Kinen Festival production of Britten’s Peter Grimes under Seiji Ozawa in Japan. The ensemble had the honor of singing at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral; has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics; and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, John Sayles’s Silver City, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. TFC members regularly commute from the greater Boston area and beyond to sing with the chorus in Boston and at Tanglewood. Throughout its history, the TFC has established itself as a favorite of conductors, soloists, critics, and audiences alike.

 

 

James Burton
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James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the new position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. Born in London, Mr. Burton began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister. He was a choral scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge, and holds a master's degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata; in early 2016 he made his debut with the Orquestra Sinfònica Nacional with concerts in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Opera credits include Don Giovanni and La bohème at English National Opera, Così fan tutte at English Touring Opera, The Magic Flute at Garsington, and Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica at the Prague Summer Nights Festival. He has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Paris, English National Opera, Opera Rara, and Garsington Opera, where he was honored with the Leonard Ingrams Award in 2008. He has also conducted in London's West End and led a UK tour of Bernstein's Wonderful Town in 2012. His extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed at the Dubai Opera house in its inaugural season earlier this year. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. He returned to Manchester in 2014, preparing the choirs for a Grammy-nominated recording under Sir Mark Elder of Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony. From 2002 to 2017 he was music director of the chamber choir Schola Cantorum of Oxford, touring all over the world and recording with Hyperion Records. He collaborates regularly with leading young musicians and in 2017 appeared as guest director of the National Youth Choir of Japan and the Princeton University Glee Club, as well as the Genesis Sixteen. He teaches conducting, and has given master classes at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music. In 2011 he founded a conducting scholarship with Schola Cantorum of Oxford. His compositions and arrangements have been performed internationally, and his orchestral arrangements for Arlo Guthrie have been performed by the Boston Pops, by many other leading U.S. orchestras, and at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. His commissions have included the music for the 2010 World Equestrian Games opening ceremony, a setting for chorus and orchestra of Thomas Hardy's The Convergence of the Twain commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, and a recent Christmas carol premiered by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, live on BBC Radio 3. His choral works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair, endowed in perpetuity.

Program Notes Audio
IVES - “The Housatonic at Stockbridge” from Three Places in New England
BEETHOVEN - Symphony No. 9 (65 min)