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Andris Nelsons conducts Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich featuring pianist Daniil Trifonov

Andris Nelsons conducts Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich featuring pianist Daniil Trifonov

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Andris Nelsons and the BSO continue their Shostakovich symphony cycle, being recorded live for release on Deutsche Grammophon, with the composer's final work in the genre, No. 15. Composed in summer 1971 and premiered the following January, the Fifteenth is distinctive in its very surprising quotation from Rossini's William Tell Overture, as well as other musical allusions. The composer's mysterious, introspective late style is evident in the second movement, with its long cello solo. The Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has won universal acclaim for both his technical brilliance and his expressive intensity. Both qualities are needed in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, one of the most enduringly popular concertos in the repertoire, which is powerful, lyrical, and Russian to the core.

Featured Performers

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

Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. These two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between both institutions, have firmly established Grammy Award-winning Nelsons as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today. Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. These two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between both institutions, have firmly established Grammy Award-winning Nelsons as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2014/15 season. This season, the BSO and Nelsons embark on a major tour throughout Asia, giving their first concerts together in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The orchestra also continues its appearances at Carnegie Hall as part of the Great American Orchestras series, with a special concert performance Tristan und Isolde featuring Jonas Kaufmann. Since his appointment as Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig in February 2018, Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester have completed a number of successful tours, including their first Asia tour together in May/June 2019, performing in Japan and China. This season, the orchestra looks forward to two European tours, which will include performances at the BBC Proms, the festivals in Salzburg and Lucerne, special highlight for Nelsons, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester: three joint performances in Boston will be given as part of the alliance between the two orchestras, and the Gewandhausorchester will perform additional concerts

During the 2019/20 season, Nelsons continues his regular collaborations with the Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he conducts Furthermore, th anniversary, the Wiener Philharmoniker and Nelsons present a cycle of Beethoven's symphonies at the Musikverein and on tour at the Philharmonie de Paris, Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich, and collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Royal Opera House in 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 fourth and most recent instalment was released in February 2019. Each of the first three releases of the cycle have received Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral Performance, the third additionally winning in the Best Engineered Album, Classical category. Nelsons and the yellow label also have embarked upon a critically acclaimed 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 instalment was released in May 2019. Finally, Philharmoniker will be released in October 2019.

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 the Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Daniil Trifonov, piano
Daniil Trifonov, piano View biography in full page >

Moments before Daniil Trifonov performs, profound silence invariably takes possession of his audience. Its intensity depends not on concert hall convention; rather, it arises naturally from the Russian pianist's power to transcend the mundane and communicate music's timeless capacity to bind communities together. Out of that silence comes a rare kind of music-making. "What he does with his hands is technically incredible," observed one commentator shortly after Trifonov's triumph in the final of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011. "It's also his touch - he has tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that." That view was expressed not by a professional critic but by one of the world's greatest pianists, Martha Argerich. She concluded that her young colleague was in possession of "everything and more", an opinion that has since been boldly underlined in print, online and over the airwaves by a succession of previewers and reviewers. The Washington Post wrote of the "visceral experience" of hearing Trifonov's playing; the Süddeutsche Zeitung, meanwhile, described his debut concert at last year's Verbier Festival as "a real culture shock", such was its blend of poetic insight, wit, nuance and inventive brilliance.

"The moment I signed to Deutsche Grammophon is, of course, perhaps the most significant event in my life to date" In February 2013, Deutsche Grammophon announced the signing of an exclusive recording agreement with Daniil Trifonov. His debut recital for the yellow label, recorded live at Carnegie Hall, combines Liszt's formidable Sonata in B minor, Scriabin's Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp Minor Op. 19, the "Sonata-Fantasy", and Chopin's 24 Preludes Op. 28. Future plans include concerto albums and further recital recordings.

"The moment I signed to Deutsche Grammophon is, of course, perhaps the most significant event in my life to date," he recalls. "It's the greatest honour to record my first CD for the label, especially in such a great hall as Carnegie Hall."

Since winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, Trifonov has travelled the world as recitalist and concerto soloist. His list of credits include debut recitals at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Tokyo's Opera City, the Zurich Tonhalle and a host of other leading venues. He has also appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. Forthcoming debuts include concerto performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Moscow Philharmonic.

For all the demands of his busy performance schedule, Trifonov still finds time to study with Sergei Babayan and take composition lessons at the Cleveland Institute of Music. "I'm looking forward to future projects with Deutsche Grammophon," he says. Exploring the vast piano literature, he adds, is the work of a lifetime. "In the coming years I hope to learn as many new pieces as possible and also leave time for composition, as composing partly influences piano playing."

"I was going to a piano lesson. It was winter and very slippery, so I fell down and broke my arm and could not play normally for more than three weeks." Daniil Trifonov was born in Nizhny Novgorod on 5 March 1991. The old system of Soviet communism and the once mighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had been dissolved by the time Daniil's parents, both of them professional musicians, celebrated their son's first birthday. For all the social and economic upheavals of the time, the Trifonovs recognised their son's prodigious musical talents and supported his formal training. "I started playing piano when I was five and was also composing and always playing some concerts," Daniil recalls. He gave his first performance with orchestra at the age of eight, an occasion etched in the soloist's memory by the loss of one of his baby teeth midway through the concert. "It was quite an experience! But the first understanding of how important piano playing is for me came when I broke my left arm at the age of 13. I was going to a piano lesson. It was winter and very slippery, so I fell down and broke my arm and could not play normally for more than three weeks."

Physical injury focused young Daniil's mind on what making music meant to him. It also heightened his emotional connection to the piano and its repertoire. Scriabin's impassioned music - mystical, transcendent and technically demanding - became a near-obsession of Trifonov's early teens. The composer's harmonic language and vibrant tone colours touched the aspiring performer's soul and inspired him to enter Moscow's Fourth International Scriabin Competition, where the 17-year-old secured fifth prize. Inspiration also flowed from Trifonov's study of historic recordings of great pianists, which he borrowed from his teacher Tatiana Zelikman at Moscow's famous Gnessin School of Music. "When I was studying with Tatiana Zelikman in Moscow she had a great collection of old recordings and a lot of LPs, so I was fed by those recordings." Trifonov absorbed lasting lessons from the recorded legacy of Rachmaninov, Cortot, Horowitz, Friedman, Sofronitsky and other representatives of a golden age of pianism. "Among pianists who inspire me nowadays are Martha Argerich, Grigory Sokolov and Radu Lupu," he adds.

"Mr Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair," noted the New York Times. "He is also a thoughtful artist . . . [who] can play with soft-spoken delicacy, not what you associate with competition conquerors." Daniil Trifonov himself became an inspiration in the summer of 2011. He began by winning the 13th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel-Aviv before returning home to secure first prize, the Gold Medal, and Grand Prix at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition. Trifonov also won the Audience Award and the Award for the best performance of a Mozart concerto. His work was already known to influential critics and concert promoters thanks to his appearance a year earlier at the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. The media's broad and deep response to his Moscow victory guaranteed that the whole world knew about the 20-year-old Russian. "Mr Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair," noted the New York Times. "He is also a thoughtful artist . . . [who] can play with soft-spoken delicacy, not what you associate with competition conquerors." At the beginning of 2012, cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht heralded the young man's meteoric progress and neatly described him as "A pianist for the rest of our lives"

Daniil Trifonov, piano
Program Notes Audio
RACHMANINOFF - Piano Concerto No. 3
SHOSTAKOVICH - Symphony No. 15
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes