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Opening Night
All-Bernstein Program

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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In several concerts this season the BSO celebrates the centennial of the great Leonard Bernstein, the legendary conductor, Broadway and concert composer, pianist, educator, and personality whose talent changed the course of American music. Born in Lawrence, MA, in 1918, Bernstein attended Boston Latin School and Harvard University. A member of the very first class of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1940 and a protégé of legendary BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky, Bernstein remained a dynamic, irrepressible, and inspiring presence at Tanglewood for fifty years. Led by Andris Nelsons, this Opening Night program features popular vocal selections sung by host Frederica von Stade and acclaimed soprano Julia Bullock, as well as BSO principal flute Elizabeth Rowe. Bookending the program are the composer's delightfully varied Divertimento and familiar, vibrant music drawn from West Side Story.

Featured Performers

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 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 Elizabeth Rowe, flute
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BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2004 and holds the Walter Piston Principal Flute Chair. Prior to joining the BSO, Ms. Rowe held titled positions with the orchestras of Fort Wayne, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Regularly featured in front of the orchestra, she has been soloist with the BSO in Elliott Carter's Flute Concerto (including its American premiere performances under James Levine in February 2010, followed by later performances in Boston and San Francisco); the Ligeti Double Concerto for flute and oboe with Christoph von Dohnányi conducting and BSO principal oboe John Ferrillo; Gabriela Lena Frank's Illapa, Tone Poem for Flute and Orchestra, with Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting; Mozart's G major flute concerto, K.313, with which she made her first BSO appearance as a concerto soloist in August 2008, under André Previn's direction at Tanglewood; Frank Martin's Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings in October 2012; Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5 and 2 at Tanglewood in 2012 and 2013, respectively; Mozart's C major concerto for flute and harp in 2016 in Boston and at Tanglewood, with BSO principal harp Jessica Zhou; and, most recently, Leonard Bernstein's Ḥalil in September 2017, in the BSO's season-opening all-Bernstein program with Andris Nelsons conducting. In November 2017, she and Ms. Zhou perform Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp with Andris Nelsons and the BSO during the orchestra's tour that month to Japan. Noted for her insightful teaching, Ms. Rowe attracts flute students from around the country to her lessons and master classes. She works regularly with students at the New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center and is a frequent guest artist at the New World Symphony. She previously taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and University of Maryland. A member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, she can be heard in a wide variety of chamber works throughout the season at NEC's Jordan Hall and in several recordings. Elizabeth Rowe grew up in Eugene, Oregon. She received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California, where she was a Trustee Scholar and a student of Jim Walker, former principal flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Rowe's connection to the Boston Symphony Orchestra dates back to the summer of 1996, when she was a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow and performed as principal flute under Seiji Ozawa's direction in the TMC production of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opera's 1946 American premiere at Tanglewood.

Elizabeth Rowe, flute
Julia Bullock, soprano
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Soprano Julia Bullock has been hailed as an "impressive, fast-rising soprano… poised for a significant career" (The New York Times).  Equally at home with opera and concert repertoire, she has captivated audiences with her versatile artistry and commanding stage presence.  This season, Ms. Bullock appears as Clara in Porgy and Bess with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Robertson, Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress at Aix en Provence, and Kitty Oppenheimer in the BBC Symphony's production and recording of John Adam's Dr. Atomic, conducted by John Adams.  She also performs twice with the Los Angeles Philharmonic: in John Adams' El Niño, and in the role of "A Girl" in West Side Story at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.  Ms. Bullock is featured in a recital program with tenor Ian Bostridge presented by the LA Phil, entitled Night and Dreams: A Schubert & Beckett Recital, directed by Yuval Sharon.Her busy season also includes the premiere of a work by Jonathan Berger with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a ​continued collaboration with the International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E) on "Perle Noir: Meditations for Joséphine," in performances at Mostly Mozart and Da Camera, a concert presented by the Resonant Bodies Festival (a New York-based contemporary music festival that celebrates new vocal works), and a performance of Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Baltimore Symphony, conducted by Marin Alsop.

She has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle, the New World Symphony with Christian Reif, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.  In summer 2015, Ms. Bullock made her debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing Bernstein's West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1 with Alan Gilbert in New York City parks, at Bravo! Vail, and in Santa Barbara.  She made her San Francisco Symphony debut in West Side Story in Concert, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; an album of the concert was released on the orchestra's label in 2014.  The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "The evening's most remarkable showstopper, Julia Bullock, appeared out of nowhere to deliver a full-voiced stunningly paced account of 'Somewhere'-for just a moment, it seemed as though nothing Bernstein ever wrote was quite as magical as that one song." 

She sang the lead role in the Berlin Philharmonic's Orchestra Academy performance of Saariaho's La Passion de Simone, directed by Peter Sellars, which she reprised at the Ojai Festival in 2016.  She performed the title role in Purcell's The Indian Queen at the Perm Opera House, Teatro Real, the Bolshoi, and the English National Opera, and she has toured South America as Pamina in Peter Brook's award-winning A Magic Flute.  Other opera roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Monica in The Medium, and the title roles in Cendrillon, The Cunning Little Vixen, and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges.

Ms. Bullock's contextually-driven recital and educational outreach programs have taken her across the United States to venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, San Francisco Performances, University of Florida Performing Arts, and the Levine School of Music.  She has sung numerous times with the New York Festival of Song, and in art song young artist programs at Caramoor and Songfest.  She has also participated in master classes with bass-baritone José van Dam, soprano Jessye Norman, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Ms. Bullock's accolades include a 2016 Sphinx Foundation Medal of Excellence, a 2015 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, Lincoln Center's 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, First Prize at the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and First Prize at the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She holds the Lindemann Vocal Chair of Young Concert Artists.  Her management is also supported by the Barbara Forester Austin Fund for Art Song.  From 2003 to 2005, Ms. Bullock participated in the Artists-in-Training program with the Opera Theater of St. Louis.  She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and graduated with an Artist's Diploma from the Juilliard School in 2015.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ms. Bullock integrates her musical life with community activism.  She has organized  and participated in benefit concerts in support of the FSH Society, the Music and Medicine Initiative for New York's Weill Medical Center, and the Shropshire Music Foundation, a non-profit that serves war-affected children and adolescents through music education and performance programs in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Uganda.  www.juliabullock.com

Julia Bullock, soprano Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano and host
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Described by the New York Times as "one of America's finest artists and singers," Frederica von Stade continues to be extolled as one of the music world's most beloved figures. Known to family, friends, and fans by her nickname "Flicka," the mezzo-soprano has enriched the world of classical music for four and a half decades.

Ms. von Stade's career has taken her to the stages of the world's great opera houses and concert halls. She began at the top, when she received a contract from Sir Rudolf Bing during the Metropolitan Opera auditions, and since her debut in 1970 she has sung nearly all of her great roles with that company. In January 2000, the company celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut with a new production of The Merry Widow specifically for her, and in 1995, as a celebration of her 25th anniversary, the Metropolitan Opera created for her a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. In addition, Ms. von Stade has appeared with every leading American opera company, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. Her career in Europe has been no less spectacular, with new productions mounted for her at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and the Paris Opera. She is invited regularly by the finest conductors, among them Claudio Abbado, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas, to appear in concert with the world's leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Washington's National Symphony, and the Orchestra of La Scala.

With impressive versatility, Ms. von Stade has effortlessly traversed an ever-broadening spectrum of musical styles and dramatic characterizations. A noted bel canto specialist, she excelled as the heroines of Rossini's La cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia and Bellini's La sonnambula. She is an unmatched stylist in the French repertoire: a delectable Mignon or Périchole, a regal Marguerite in Berlioz' La damnation de Faust, and, in one critic's words, "the Mélisande of one's dreams." Her elegant figure and keen imagination have made her the world's favorite interpreter of the great trouser roles, from Strauss' Octavian to Mozart's Sesto, Idamante and - magically, indelibly - Cherubino. Ms. von Stade's artistry has inspired the revival of neglected works such as Massenet's Cherubin, Thomas' Mignon, Rameau's Dardanus, and Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Her ability as a singing actress has allowed her to portray wonderful works in operetta and musical theater including the title role in The Merry Widow and Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.

Though she retired from full-time performances in 2010, she continues to make appearances across the United States. To open the 2016-17 season, Ms. von Stade will sing with Tony award-winning Broadway star Liz Callaway, Daniel Rodriguez, and Matthew Lee Robinson in the New York premiere of the 45-minute cantata Street Requiem - composed in 2014 by Australian's Kathleen McGuire, Andy Payne and Jonathon Welch - at Carnegie Hall. She will also make her Arizona Opera debut by joining The 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration concert celebrating the company. In January, the mezzo-soprano will perform on a gala benefit concert with Sarasota Ballet in Florida. The spring finds Ms. von Stade singing with Hawaii Opera Theater in Three Decembers - composed by Jake Heggie based on the play by Terrence McNally - before going to Peabody Conservatory to give a master class.

Ms. von Stade enjoys close collaborations with several contemporary composers, including Jake Heggie, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Dominick Argento, among others. She created the role of Tina in The Dallas Opera's world premiere production of Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers (a work written for her), as well as the role of Madame de Merteuil in Conrad Susa's Dangerous Liaisons and Mrs. Patrick De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, both for San Francisco Opera.  Ms. von Stade created the role of Myrtle Bledsoe in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's A Coffin in Egypt at Houston Grand Opera, a role she later reprised at Opera Philadelphia, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, and with the Chicago Opera Theater. Ms. von Stade will also create the role of Mrs. Edward "Winnie" Flato in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally's Great Scott directed by Jack O'Brien, with performances at The Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera.

Ms. von Stade's orchestral repertoire is equally broad, embracing works from the Baroque to those of today's composers. She has garnered critical and popular acclaim in her vast French repertoire as one of the world's finest interpreters of Ravel's Shéhérazade, Berlioz's Les nuits d'été, and Canteloube's Les chants d'Auvergne, as well as the orchestrated songs of Debussy and Duparc. She is continually in demand for the symphonic works of the great Austrian and German composers including Mozart and Mahler, as well as the new works of American composers.

It was the American composer Richard Danielpour who in 1998 helped Ms. von Stade to realize an artistic and personal dream when he wrote Elegies. The work, scored for orchestra, mezzo-soprano and baritone, is a tribute to Ms. von Stade's father, Charles von Stade, who was killed in the final days of World War II, and is based on the text of letters Mr. von Stade sent to his wife during the war. It is through these letters that Ms. von Stade came to know her father, who died two months before her birth. In January 1998 the Jacksonville Symphony, led by Roger Nierenberg, offered the world premiere of Elegies with performances in Florida and in New York's Carnegie Hall. Elegies is available on SONY Classical and has been performed throughout North America and Europe.
Unparalleled in her artistry as a recitalist, Ms. von Stade combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional musicianship with a rare gift for communication, enriching audiences throughout the world. Here, too, her repertoire encompasses a rich variety, from the classical style of Mozart and Haydn to Broadway; from Italian "Arie antiche" to the songs of contemporary composers - who compose especially for her - such as Dominick Argento and Jake Heggie.

She has made over seventy recordings with every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums. Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy's Premio della Critica Discografica, and "Best of the Year" citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. She has enjoyed the distinction of holding simultaneously the first and second places on national sales charts for Angel/EMI's Show Boat and Telarc's The Sound of Music.

Ms. von Stade appears regularly on television, through numerous PBS and other broadcasts. In 2002 she was seen on national television in a concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as part of the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. In 2001 she participated in the opening of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts performing in a concert together with Sir Elton John, Andre Watts, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Other highlights of recent television appearances include a gala concert with the San Francisco Symphony to open the 1998-99 season at New York's Carnegie Hall and a "Live from Lincoln Center" television event opening the 1999 season of the Mostly Mozart Festival, both broadcast throughout North America. She can be seen in "Live from the Met" performances as Cherubino, Hansel, and Idamante, and through PBS broadcasts of her celebration of the art of American song with Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne, Dawn Upshaw and Jerry Hadley in a program at New York's Town Hall titled "I Hear America Singing," as well as a program with Tyne Daly which included arias, art songs and popular crossover material. Also seen on PBS were a holiday special, "Christmas with Flicka," shot on location in Salzburg, "A Carnegie Hall Christmas" with Kathleen Battle, and an evening of operatic and musical theater selections with Samuel Ramey and Jerry Hadley titled "Flicka and Friends." Her recent portrayals in Dangerous Liaisons and The Aspern Papers were broadcast throughout North America. She can also be seen in the Unitel film of the classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production of La cenerentola.

Ms. von Stade is the holder of honorary doctorates from Yale University, Boston University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (which holds a Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice), the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and her alma mater, the Mannes School of Music. In 1998 Ms. von Stade was awarded France's highest honor in the Arts when she was appointed as an officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 1983 she was honored with an award given at The White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts.

Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano and host
Program Notes Audio
BERNSTEIN - Divertimento for Orchestra (16 min)
BERNSTEIN - Ḥalil, for flute and orchestra (16 min)
BERNSTEIN - Vocal Selections (17 min)
BERNSTEIN - Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (23 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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