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The 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons’ sixth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, marks his fifth anniversary in that position. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons leads fifteen of the BSO’s twenty-six weeks of concerts this season, ranging from repertoire favorites by Beethoven, Dvořák, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, Arturs Maskats, and HK Gruber. The season also brings the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists, including a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, Act III—one of three BSO programs he will also conduct at Carnegie Hall—with Jonas Kaufmann and Emily Magee in the title roles. In addition, February 2020 brings a major tour to Asia in which Maestro Nelsons and the BSO give their first concerts together in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
In February 2018, Andris Nelsons became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester (GHO) Leipzig, in which capacity he also 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 highlight of the BSO/GHO Alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” thereby highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. For this season’s “Leipzig Week in Boston,” under Maestro Nelsons’ leadership in November, the entire Gewandhausorchester Leipzig comes to Symphony Hall for joint concerts with the BSO as well as two concerts of its own.
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. 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.
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 recent two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). This November, a new release on Naxos features Andris Nelsons and the orchestra in the world premieres of BSO-commissioned works by Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis. 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.
During the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons continues his ongoing collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, 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
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Renée Fleming is one of the most acclaimed singers of our time.
In 2013, President Obama awarded her America's highest honor for an
individual artist, the National Medal of Arts. Winner of the 2013
Best Classical Vocal Grammy Award, she has sung at momentous
occasions around the world, from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to
performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2014 she
became the first classical singer ever to perform "The
Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. In 2012, in another
historic first, she sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the
Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. In 2009, Renée
was featured in the televised We Are One: The Inaugural
Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President
Obama. She has performed for the United States Supreme Court, and
in 2014 she celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the
Berlin Wall in a televised concert at the Brandenburg Gate. Another
distinction was bestowed in 2008 when, breaking a precedent, Renée
became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan
Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.
On New Year's Eve, Renée appeared in the title role in a new
production of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera.
In April, she made her Broadway theater debut in Living on
Love, for which she was nominated for a Drama League Award.
She has appeared in virtually all of the world's greatest opera
houses and concert halls. Renée's recital schedule in recent years
has spanned the globe, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos
Aires, Quito, Bogota, Paris, Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong,
Beijing, Guangzhou, and Taipei.
Renée won her fourth Grammy Award for her album Poèmes.
Recipient of 14 Grammy nominations to date, she has recorded
everything from complete operas and song recitals to an album of
indie rock covers, Dark Hope, the jazz album Haunted
Heart and the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King. Known for bringing new audiences to
classical music and opera, Renée has sung not only with Luciano
Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo but also with Elton John, Sting, Lou
Reed, Josh Groban, Joan Baez and even the Muppets.
Her recent opera dvds include Strauss's Arabella and
Ariadne auf Naxos, and Donizetti's Lucrezia
Borgia. Other recent DVD releases include Handel's
Rodelinda, Massenet's Thaïs and Rossini's
Armida, all three in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD
series, and Verdi's La Traviata, filmed at London's Royal
With a multimedia profile rare among contemporary opera singers,
Renée has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts,
including the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series for
movie theaters and television, and Live from Lincoln
Center on PBS. She was the subject of an HBO
Masterclass documentary, and has been a frequent guest on
Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio. In 2013,
she joined with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
to present American Voices, a concert and 3-day festival
celebrating the best American singing in all genres. The festival
was the subject of a Great Performances documentary on PBS
Her book The Inner Voice was published by Viking Penguin
in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year.
An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is
now in its 12th US printing, and it is also published in France,
the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Russia. A Polish edition
will be released this autumn.
Renée is a champion of new music and has performed works by a wide
range of contemporary composers, including recent compositions by
Anders Hillborg, Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, André Previn, and
In 2010, Renée was named the first-ever creative consultant at
Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is currently curating the creation
of a world-premiere opera based on the best-seller Bel
Canto for Lyric Opera's 2015-2016 season. She is
currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall
Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Artistic Advisory
Board of the Polyphony Foundation. Among her awards are the
Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the Chevalier de la Légion
d'Honneur, Germany's Cross of the Order of Merit, Honorary
Membership in the Royal Academy of Music, Sweden's Polar Music
Prize, and honorary doctorates from Duke University, Harvard
University, Carnegie Mellon University, the Eastman School of
Music, and The Juilliard School.
Renée Fleming, soprano