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Andris Nelsons conducts Wilson, Szymanowski and Copland

Andris Nelsons conducts Wilson, Szymanowski and Copland

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili joins Andris Nelsons and the BSO as soloist in the important Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1, a brilliant piece colored by both French Impressionism and German late Romanticism. American orchestral works open and close the concert. The St. Louis-born Olly Wilson, who died in March 2018 (and whose Sinfonia was commissioned by the BSO for its centennial), was a longtime faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. His well-traveled orchestral work Lumina is a scintillating, single-movement orchestral landscape. Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3, premiered by the BSO under Serge Koussevitzky in 1946, is a substantial, expressively rich work incorporating the composer's familiar Fanfare for the Common Man as the theme of its final movement.

Featured Performers

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Andris Nelsons, conductor View biography in full page >

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 Lisa Batiashvili, violin
Lisa Batiashvili, violin View biography in full page >

Lisa Batiashvili, Musical America's 2015 Instrumentalist of the Year, is this season's Artist-in-Residence with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Praised by audiences and fellow musicians for her virtuosity and "profound sensitivity" (Financial Times), the Georgian violinist has developed long-term relationships with some of the world's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, with whom she was Artist-in-Residence last season.

Highlights in Lisa's 2015/16 season include performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker and London Philharmonic Orchestra (both under Yannick Nézet-Séguin), Orchestre de Paris (Paavo Järvi), Wiener Philharmoniker (Esa-Pekka Salonen), London Symphony Orchestra (Daniel Harding) and New York Philharmonic (Semyon Bychkov), as well as a European tour with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Sakari Oramo). Recent and forthcoming invitations include concerts at home and on tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Last season Lisa also performed with Filarmonica della Scala and Staatskapelle Berlin (both under Daniel Barenboim), and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Sir Antonio Pappano).

Recording exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, Lisa's most recent release is an album dedicated to works by J.S. and C.P.E. Bach.

Lisa Batiashvili, violin
Program Notes Audio
WILSON - Lumina (10 min)
SZYMANOWSKI - Violin Concerto No. 1 (26 min)
COPLAND - Symphony No. 3 (42 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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