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Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven and Shostakovich featuring
pianist Paul Lewis

Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven and Shostakovich featuring pianist Paul Lewis

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The BSO and Andris Nelsons continue their multi-year survey of the complete Shostakovich symphonies with his Symphony No. 11, which the BSO has never performed. Conceived to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first, failed Russian Revolution (thus the nickname The Year 1905), it was completed in 1957 and earned Shostakovich the prestigious Lenin Prize, a sign of considerable official approval. In keeping with its subject matter, the symphony makes extensive reference to Russian revolutionary songs. To begin the program, English pianist Paul Lewis is soloist in Beethoven's lyrical and poetic Piano Concerto No. 4, which famously opens with a disarmingly intimate passage for solo piano.

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 Paul Lewis, piano
Paul Lewis, piano View biography in full page >

Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. His cycles of core piano works by Beethoven and Schubert have received unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide, and consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire. His numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D'or de l'Annee, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. He holds honorary degrees from Liverpool, Edge Hill, and Southampton Universities, and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours.

He appears regularly as soloist with the world's great orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, LAPhilharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw, Cleveland, Tonhalle Zurich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philharmonia, and Mahler Chamber Orchestras. He has performed Beethoven concerto cycles with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors he has worked with include Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Manfred Honeck, and Bernard Haitink.

The 18/19 season saw the conclusion of a two year recital series exploring connections between the sonatas of Haydn, the late piano works of Brahms, and Beethoven's Bagatelles and Diabelli Variations. He celebrates the 2020 Beethoven anniversary year with a recital programme that includes the Diabelli Variations, Piano Sonata no.13 in E flat major 'quasi una fantasia', and Piano Sonata no.14 in C sharp minor, 'Moonlight', and Beethoven Concerto cycles in Tanglewood (Boston Symphony and Andris Nelsons) Erl (Salzburg Mozarteum and Andrew Manze) and at the Palau de la Musica Barcelona, and Teatro Massimo in Palermo.

Paul Lewis’ recital career takes him to venues such as London's Royal Festival Hall, Alice Tully and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus. He is also a frequent guest at the some of the world's most prestigious festivals, including Tanglewood, Ravinia, Schubertiade, Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lucerne, and the BBC Proms where in 2010 he became the first person to play a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in a single season. His multi-award winning discography for Harmonia Mundi includes the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, concertos, and the Diabelli Variations, Liszt’s B minor Sonata and other late works, all of Schubert’s major piano works from the last six years of his life including the 3 song cycles with tenor Mark Padmore, solo works by Schumann and Mussorgsky, and the Brahms D minor piano concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding. Future recording plans include a multi-CD series of Haydn sonatas, Beethoven's Bagatelles, and works by Bach.

Paul Lewis studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately withAlfred Brendel. He is co-Artistic Director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK.

 

Paul Lewis, piano
Program Notes Audio
BEETHOVEN - Piano Concerto No. 4 (35 min)
SHOSTAKOVICH - Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905 (63 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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