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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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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
"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
"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
"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