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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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Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, Carolyn Sampson
has enjoyed notable successes in the UK as well as throughout
Europe and the US.
On the opera stage her roles for English National Opera have
included the title role in Semele and Pamina
in The Magic Flute. For Glyndebourne
Festival Opera she sang various roles in Purcell's The
Fairy Queen, now released on DVD. In 2012 she sang
Anne Truelove The Rake's Progress in Sir
David McVicar's new production for Scottish Opera.
Internationally she has appeared at Opéra de Paris, Opéra de Lille,
Opéra de Montpellier and Opéra National du Rhin. She also sang the
title role in Lully's Psyché for the Boston
Early Music Festival, which was released on CD and was subsequently
nominated for a Grammy in 2008. In the 16/17 season she
debuts the role of Mélisande Pelléas and
Mélisande for Scottish Opera.
Carolyn Sampson's numerous concert engagements in the UK have
included regular appearances at the BBC Proms and with orchestras
including The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English
Concert, Bach Collegium Japan, Britten Sinfonia and The Sixteen.
She is a frequent guest with the Hallé and has performed with City
of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.
In Europe her many appearances have included concerts with
Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Freiburg
Baroque Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk,
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa
Cecilia, Gürzenich Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig
Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the
Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra.
In the US Carolyn Sampson has featured as soloist with San
Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St Paul
Chamber Orchestra and is a regular guest at the Mostly Mozart
Festival. In October 2013 she made her Carnegie Hall recital
debut to a sold-out audience in the Weill Recital Hall.
Carolyn works with conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Markus
Stenz, Ivor Bolton, Philippe Herreweghe, Harry Bicket, Trevor
Pinnock, Riccardo Chailly, Louis Langrée, Harry Christophers,
Robert King and William Christie.
A consummate recitalist, Carolyn Sampson appears regularly at
the Wigmore Hall where a recital of lute songs with Matthew
Wadsworth was recorded on the Wigmore Live label and released to
huge critical acclaim. She has given regular recitals at the
Saintes and Aldeburgh Festivals as well as the Amsterdam
Concertgebouw. In the 14/15 season Carolyn was a "featured
artist" at London's Wigmore Hall.
Carolyn has built up a partnership with the pianist Joseph
Middleton over recent years. Her debut song recital disc,
'Fleurs', with Joseph was released early in 2015 featuring songs by
composers from Purcell to Britten, and was nominated in the solo
vocal category of the Gramophone Awards. They recently released
their second recital disc together, 'A Verlaine Songbook',
exploring settings of the poetry of Paul Verlaine for BIS
Carolyn's Harmonia Mundi recording of
Poulenc's Stabat Mater and Sept
Répons de Ténèbres was awarded the Choc de l'Année
Classica 2014. Other recordings include
Mozart's Requiem with Bach Collegium Japan
and her recording of Purcell songs for BIS which was selected as
Editor's Choice in the December 2007 issue of Gramophone Magazine.
Her many recordings for Hyperion with The King's Consort include a
highly acclaimed CD of Mozart sacred music 'Exsultate jubilate'
which was selected as BBC Music Magazine's "Record of the Month"
and was also the recipient of an ECHO Award. She recorded a
highly-acclaimed CD of Stravinsky's Les
Noces and Mass for Harmonia
Mundi and Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly for the Decca
Her recent recording with Ex Cathedra on the Hyperion label, 'A
French Baroque Diva' - celebrating Marie Fel, a star soprano of
Rameau's time won the recital award in the 2015 Gramophone
Recent highlights include Carolyn's debut with Yannick
Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, concert performances
of Semele with Concerto Köln and Ivor
Bolton, recordings and concerts with both Bach Collegium Japan and
the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, two BBC Prom 2016 performances
(Mozart's Mass in C minor with BBC Scottish
Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov, and a duet programme with
Iestyn Davies), a tour of Orlando (Dorinda)
with the English Concert, concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic,
Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, as well as further recording plans
and recitals with Joseph Middleton and Matt Wadsworth including the
Lincoln Centre New York, San Francisco, Wigmore Hall, and
Carolyn Sampson, soprano