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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
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In 2017-18, his fourth season as the BSO's Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in twelve wide-ranging subscription programs at Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at New York's Carnegie Hall in March. Also this season, in November, he and the orchestra tour Japan together for the first time, playing concerts in Nagoya, Osaka, Kawasaki, and Tokyo. In addition, in February 2018 Maestro Nelsons becomes Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he will bring both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance; under his direction, the BSO celebrates its first "Leipzig Week in Boston" that same month. In the summer of 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons' contract with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was extended through the 2021-22 season. Following the 2015 Tanglewood season, he and the BSO undertook a twelve-concert, eight-city tour to major European capitals as well as the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals. A second European tour, to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg, took place in May 2016.

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 first CD with the BSO-live recordings of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture and Sibelius's Symphony No. 2-was released in November 2014 on BSO Classics. April 2017 brought the release on BSO Classics of the four Brahms symphonies with Maestro Nelsons conducting, recorded live at Symphony Hall in November 2016. In an ongoing, multi-year collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon initiated in 2014-15, he and the BSO are making live recordings of Shostakovich's complete symphonies, the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and other works by the composer. The first release in this series (the Symphony No. 10 and the Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance and Gramophone Magazine's Orchestral Award. The second release (symphonies 5, 8, and 9, plus excerpts from Shostakovich's 1932 incidental music to Hamlet) won the 2017 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Also for Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is recording the Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

In 2017-18, Andris Nelsons is artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and continues his regular collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic, leading that orchestra on tour to China. He also maintains regular collaborations with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Maestro Nelsons has also been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he conducts a new David Alden production of Lohengrin this season.

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. Mr. Nelsons is the subject of a 2013 DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled "Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire."

Andris Nelsons, conductor Paul Lewis, piano
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There are many prized recordings of the Beethoven sonatas from past masters and current artists. But if I had to recommend a single complete set, I would suggest Mr. Lewis's distinguished recordings." Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

"One of the most highly prized recording marathons of recent years....  An unmissable benchmark."  Gramophon


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, the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, 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 Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw, Cleveland, Tonhalle Zurich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philharmonia, and Mahler Chamber Orchestras.



Plans for the 2016/17 season include Beethoven concerto cycles with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra, appearances with the Orchestre de Paris and Daniel Harding, the Philharmonia with Andris Nelsons, the Chicago Symphony with Manfred Honeck, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Bernard Haitink. The 2017/18 season sees the start 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. 
 


Paul Lewis's 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 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 with Alfred Brendel. He is co-Artistic Director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK, and the Leeds International Piano Competition.

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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