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Andris Nelsons conducts Bernstein and Shostakovich featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons continues the orchestra's season-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein's centennial with the composer's Symphony No. 2, Age of Anxiety, which features a dynamic, jazz-influenced piano part eminently suited to the style of this week's soloist, Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Following intermission comes Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4, which continues the BSO and Andris Nelson's multi-season survey of the composer's complete symphonies. Shostakovich completed this dark but powerfully majestic work in 1936, but fears of official Soviet condemnation following a scathing criticism of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk led him to cancel the symphony's premiere. The Fourth was first performed only in 1961.

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 Jean- Yves Thibaudet, piano
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For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed world-wide, recorded over 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today's finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire - from Beethoven through Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, and Saint-Saëns; to Ravel, Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to contemporary composers Qigang Chen and James MacMillan.

In 2016-17 Thibaudet is Artist-in-Residence with Orchestre National de France,  Wiener Symphoniker, and the Colburn School in Los Angeles. As part of his residency in Paris, he performs Saint-Saëns's Piano Concerto No. 5 with Stéphane Denève and Khachaturian's Concerto for Piano with Semyon Bychkov; he also curates a special performance with selected students for Radio France. The Vienna residency sees a chamber music programme with principals from the orchestra, performances of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy under Music Director Philippe Jordan, as well as concerts featuring the Grieg and Gershwin concertos - the latter televised by Austrian broadcaster ORF. At Colburn he enters the third year of his residency - the first of its kind - where his passion for education and fostering young musical talent is invested through individual lessons, masterclasses, and performances with students.

Other season highlights include performances of Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Gustavo Dudamel and Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela as part of the season-opening concerts at Carnegie Hall and on tour in Europe. He tours China with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, opens the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra season under Music Director Marin Alsop and performs James MacMillan's Concerto for Piano No.3 - a piece he premiered in 2011 - with the Brussels and Los Angeles philharmonic orchestras under Stéphane Denève.

Thibaudet's recording catalogue of more than 50 albums has received two Grammy nominations, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d'Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, as well as Gramophone and Echo awards. This season he releases Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin (2010), which featured big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, variations on "I Got Rhythm" and the Concerto in F. In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Thibaudet - one of the foremost interpreters and champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5, released in 2007, he is joined by long-standing collaborator Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Thibaudet's Aria-Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are Thibaudet's own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations With Bill Evans.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the world of fashion, film and philanthropy. This season he features in Aaron Zigman's soundtrack for Wakefield, a drama by Robin Swicord released in September 2016. He was soloist in Dario Marianelli's award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Music Score) and Pride and Prejudice, andrecorded Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood. 

Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At twelve, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age fifteen, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d'Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honour given by France's Victoires de la Musique. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.

Jean- Yves Thibaudet, piano
Program Notes Audio
BERNSTEIN - Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety (35 min)
SHOSTAKOVICH - Symphony No. 4 (60 min)
Full Program Notes - Audio Concert Preview
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