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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
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Mikko Nissinen became Artistic Director of Boston Ballet
and Boston Ballet School in 2001. Born in Helsinki, Finland,
Nissinen began his dance training at age ten with The Finnish
National Ballet School, and launched his professional dance career
at age 15 with The Finnish National Ballet. In 1978, he won First
Prize at The National Ballet Competition in Kuopio, Finland. He
continued his studies at The Kirov Ballet School for one year.
Nissinen went on to dance with The Finnish National Ballet, Dutch
National Ballet, Basel Ballet and a decade with San Francisco
Ballet as a principal dancer. During Nissinen's performance career
his vast repertoire ranged from classical to contemporary works. As
a guest artist, he danced with many different companies and
partners and at numerous international galas.
Nissinen directed the Marin Ballet in San Rafael, California
from 1996-1998, and Alberta Ballet, in Calgary, Canada from
1998-2001, also serving as Alberta Ballet's Executive Director from
1999-2000. Under Nissinen's leadership, Alberta Ballet's global
visibility, national stature, performance schedule and touring were
As Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, Nissinen has defined
the Company's image, cultivating a compelling and dynamic
collection of classical, neo-classical and contemporary repertoire,
ranging from such full length classical ballets as
Petipa's The Sleeping
Beauty, Clerc's La
Bayadère, Nureyev's Don
Quixote, Bournonville's La
Onegin, and Ashton's
Cinderella, to masterworks by George Balanchine,
to new works and world premieres by some of the finest contemporary
choreographers including Alexander Ekman, William Forsythe, Jiří
Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Peter Martins, Mark Morris and Christopher
Wheeldon. In 2005 Nissinen appointed Jorma Elo as Resident
Choreographer, who has since created a distinct identity for the
Company, with many world premieres unique to Boston Ballet. Firmly
committed to developing the art form and the future of dance,
Nissinen actively promotes progressive new work and creations,
commissioning emerging choreographers such as Helen Pickett and
Jose Martinez. Nissinen's own choreography includes productions
of Swan Lake and an award
winning The Nutcracker. This
three-part balance of Boston Ballet's repertoire has established
the Company as one of the leading ballet organizations in America,
acclaimed for its excellence, artistry and versatility
Audiences and critics alike have noted the Company's
remarkable development under Nissinen's regime;
The New York Times stated "Boston Ballet
has come a vast distance. Its dancers are striking by national and
international standards" and The Boston
Globe called Boston Ballet's transformation one
of the "biggest arts stories of the decade".
Commencing in the winter 2008, for a year and a half,
Nissinen served as Executive Director of Boston Ballet, during
which time he provided full organizational leadership, initiated a
major redesign of the organization's image, branding and website,
and facilitated the Company's move to its permanent performance
home, The Boston Opera House. Under his direction, Boston
Ballet has toured nationally and internationally for the first time
in 16 years, to Spain, Korea, Canada, Finland, London England,
Washington D.C and New York City.
Additionally, Nissinen heads Boston Ballet School, the
largest ballet school in North America, which annually enrolls over
5,000 students in its recreational and pre-professional programs in
three studio locations. He also overseers Boston Ballet's Education
and Community Outreach Initiatives, which serve over 4,000 children
and youth who participate in the nationally-recognized and
acclaimed programs: Citydance, Adaptive Dance and ECI On
His broad knowledge of dance, its history, and arts
organization business leadership makes him a popular presenter at
conferences including Harvard University, Harvard Business School
and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a fellow at the
2002 Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in the Arts at the
Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has juried the Prix de
Lausanne, Benois de la Danse, Japan Grand Prix, the Helsinki
International Ballet Competition and the New York International
Ballet Competition. He served as Jury President of the Boston
International Ballet Competition. He is a member of the Artistic
Committee for the New York Choreographic Institute, an advisory
board member of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and the recipient
of the Finlandia Foundation's 2008 Arts and Letters Award, the 2007
United Nations Association of Greater Boston Leadership Award, and
Boston's Guide for the Arts 2009 Ambassador for the Arts Award.
Nissinen is a dual Finnish and American citizen.
Boston Ballet Mikko Nissinen, artistic director
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Baiba Skride's natural approach to her music-making has endeared her to some of today's most important conductors and orchestras worldwide. She is consistently invited for her refreshing interpretations, her sensitivity and delight in the music. The list of prestigious orchestras with whom she has worked include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and NHK Symphony. Notable conductors she collaborates with include Christoph Eschenbach, Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Andris Nelsons, Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jukka Pekka Saraste and John Storgårds.
European highlights in 2015/16 include her return to Berlin Philharmonic with Andris Nelsons playing Shostakovich violin concerto No.1 and her debut with the Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam with Britten's violin concerto. Skride is Artist in Residence with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with which she gives concerto and chamber music performances. She returns to Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Scottish National, Zurich Opera Orchestra and Hamburger Philharmoniker.
After her return to Boston Symphony with Gubaidulina's Offertorium last November, she was invited for a concerto and chamber music performance at Tanglewood Music Festival 2015 with Christian Zacharias. This is followed by her highly anticipated debuts with New York Philharmonic and Eschenbach playing Bartok violin concerto No.2, with National Symphony of Washington and Toronto Symphony. She returns to the orchestras of Seattle, Detroit and Naples.
Earlier in 2015/16 Skride performs with Helsinki Philharmonic and Storgards at the Palacio des Bellas Arte in Mexico, before she gives her debuts with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de Sao Paulo and Filharmonica de Minas Gerais. She crosses the Hemispheres again for a tour with the New Zealand Symphony. In Asia she returns to Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music highlights include performances at the Concertgebouw and Wigmore in duo recitals with her sister, pianist Lauma Skride. They will be joined by Daniel Müller-Schott for trio performances including the Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival and in Bonn. Other partnerships this season include her trio with Sol Gabetta and Bertrand Chamayou.
In August 2015 Skride releases her fifth disc for Orfeo, featuring the Nielsen and Sibelius concertos and 2 Serenades with Tampere Philharmonic/ Santtu-Matias Rouvali. The preceding CD with the Szymanowski concertos with Oslo Philharmonic/Petrenko and Mythes with Lauma Skride received the Award of the German Record Critics and was nominated for the BBC Music Magazine Award. Earlier recordings include a Schumann CD with Danish National Symphony/ Storgårds, a Stravinsky and Martin concerto CD with BBC National Orchestra of Wales /Fischer, a Brahms box with Stockholm Philharmonic/ Oramo, a Tchaikovsky CD with CBSO/ Nelsons.
Skride was born into a musical Latvian family in Riga where she began her studies, transferring in 1995 to the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Rostock. In 2001 she won the 1st prize of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Since November 2010 Skride plays the Stradivarius ''Ex Baron Feilitzsch'' violin (1734), which is generously on loan to her from Gidon Kremer.
Baiba Skride, violin