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Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. With these positions, and in leading a pioneering alliance between two such esteemed institutions, Grammy Award-winning Nelsons is firmly underlined as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.
Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the BSO in the 2014/15 season and after one year, his contract was extended through the 2021/22 season. Last season, the BSO and Nelsons embarked on a tour to Japan together for the first time, notably with three performances in Suntory Hall. At the beginning of the 2018/19 seasons, Nelsons toured Europe together with the orchestra for the third time since Nelsons’ Music Directorship, visiting the London Proms, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris and Amsterdam. Nelsons gave his debut with the Gewandhausorchester in 2011, followed by regular performances at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig in subsequent years. In February 2018, Nelsons received the title of Gewandhauskapellmeister in a four-week inaugural festival, also marking the 275th anniversary of the orchestra. Three joint tours for the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Nelsons have been incorporated into the 2018/2019 season: two European tours, one in October 2018, including stops at London’s prestigious Royal Festival Hall, in Scandinavia and in Nelsons' native city, Riga, and the other in January 2019, to venues including the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris and Vienna’s Musikverein. The season’s third tour in May/June 2019 takes the orchestra and Nelsons to Japan and China, where they will appear together for the first time.
The 2018/19 season marks Nelsons’ final season as Artist-in-Residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and Nelsons’ first season as Artist-in-Residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Furthermore, Nelsons continues his regular collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he lead a tour through China last season in addition to his ongoing guest performances at the Musikverein in Vienna. In 2020, he will conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker’s prestigious New Year’s Day concert, broadcast to millions across the world. Throughout his career, Nelsons has established regular collaborations with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonia Orchestra. Nelsons has been a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
Andris Nelsons has an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, which has paved the way for three landmark projects. Nelsons and the BSO partner on recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies, and the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. The first and second instalments have both received consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral performance, the third has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and the fourth instalment will be released in February 2019. Nelsons and the yellow label also have embarked upon a project with the Gewandhausorchester that sheds new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, and pairs these distinctive symphonic pieces with works by Wagner. The most recent release appeared in April 2018 to widespread critical acclaim. Furthermore, Nelsons will record Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 2016-2019, and will return to Vienna to perform the complete cycle in 2020, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
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 2008-2015, Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany 2006-2009 and Music Director of Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.
Andris Nelsons, conductor
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Yo-Yo Ma's multi-faceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture's power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture's role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Mr. Ma strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.
Mr. Ma maintains a balance between engagements as a soloist with orchestras, recital and chamber music activities, and collaborations with a wide circle of artists and institutions. With partners from around the world and across disciplines, Mr. Ma creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society.
Expanding upon this belief, in 1998 Mr. Ma established Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions. In addition to presenting performances in venues from Suntory Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, Silkroad collaborates with museums and universities to develop training programs for teachers, musicians, and learners of all ages. Silkroad has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers and arrangers around the globe, and released seven albums, most recently a collection of music recorded for The Vietnam War, a documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Through his work with Silkroad, as well as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma seeks to expand the classical cello repertoire, frequently performing lesser-known music of the 20th century and commissions of new concertos and recital pieces. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, among them Osvaldo Golijov, Leon Kirchner, Zhao Lin, Christopher Rouse, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giovanni Sollima, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, and John Williams.
In addition to his work as a performing artist, Mr. Ma partners with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that champion culture's power to transform lives and forge a more connected world. Among his many roles, he is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant; artistic advisor at large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival; and UN Messenger of Peace. He is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum's board of trustees.
Mr. Ma's discography of over 100 albums (including 19 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. In addition to his many iconic renditions of the Western classical canon, he has made several recordings that defy categorization, among them "Appalachia Waltz" and "Appalachian Journey" with Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, "Obrigado Brazil" and "Obrigado Brazil - Live in Concert." Mr. Ma's recent recordings include: "Songs from the Arc of Life," with pianist Kathryn Stott; "Sing Me Home," with the Silkroad Ensemble, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album; "Bach Trios," with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile; "Brahms: The Piano Trios," with Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos; and "Six Evolutions - Bach: Cello Suites."
This year, Mr. Ma begins a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach's six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert will be an example of culture's power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013), and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award (2016). He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.
Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello