2017-18 BSO Season
BSO Music Director
Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra Announce the
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Very Dear Friends
I am very excited that it is our fourth season together at Symphony Hall. Our journey of musical collaboration is so rewarding, and each year we become a stronger musical family. You are such an important part of that family, so thank you for your wonderful support and for coming to concerts on a regular basis. At the end of each performance when we take our bows, we see your warm and enthusiastic response, and it is very fulfilling.
There are many things we are looking forward to in the 2017-18 season, including the 100th birthday celebration of the great American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. Also, I am happy we will continue our Shostakovich recording cycle with Symphonies Nos. 4, 11, and 14. As you can imagine, it was thrilling to win Grammy Awards for the first two Shostakovich CDs, and it has helped make us even more enthusiastic to do live recordings. Very soon we will release the complete Brahms symphonies!
We are looking forward to our beloved Conductor Emeritus, Bernard Haitink, leading a concert this season, as well as our Artistic Partner, Thomas Adès, who will appear both as a piano soloist and conductor. We would like to welcome our new Choral Director, James Burton. In addition, Jean-Yves Thibaudet will serve as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at Symphony Hall.
I am looking forward to seeing you at upcoming concerts, and thank you for your great devotion to the BSO!
Celebrating Leonard Bernstein
The 2017-18 season marks the centennial of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, who maintained a career-long relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, dating back to his time as a protégé of Serge Koussevitzky. To begin the celebration in September, Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in a special Opening Night program devoted entirely to Bernstein's music, featuring BSO principal flute Elizabeth Rowe, soprano Julia Bullock, and mezzo- soprano Frederica von Stade. In March, Maestro Nelsons leads Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero leads Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the American Boychoir.
Andris Nelsons and the BSO
Andris Nelsons leads twelve subscription programs during the BSO's 2017-18 season, ranging from music of Haydn, Mozarpt, and Beethoven to the premieres of BSO co- commissions by American composer Sean Shepherd and German composer Jörg Widmann. Soprano Camilla Nylund and tenor Jonas Kaufmann take the title roles in concert performances of Tristan und Isolde, Act II; pianists Thomas Adès, Kirill Gerstein, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet join forces for Bach's Concerto in D minor for three pianos as part of the BSO's first "Leipzig Week" marking the orchestra's new alliance with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; Susan Graham and the women of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus join Maestro Nelsons for Mahler's life-affirming Symphony No. 3; and Maestro Nelsons continues his survey of Dmitri Shostakovich's symphonies-being recorded live for future release by Deutsche Grammophon-with symphonies 4, 11 (The Year 1905), and 14, the latter featuring soprano Kristine Opolais and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.
Maestro Nelsons' programs also feature pianists Rudolf Buchbinder and Paul Lewis in concertos of Beethoven; violinists Leonidas Kavakos in Prokofiev and Gil Shaham in Tchaikovsky; Yo-Yo Ma and BSO principal violist Steven Ansell in Strauss's Don Quixote, and such other favorite works as Haydn's Symphony No. 103 (Drumroll), Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 (Scottish), Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 (Romantic), Mahler's Symphony No. 1, Strauss's Alpine Symphony, and Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2.
BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink teams with pianist Emanuel Ax to close the orchestra's 2017-18 subscription season with a program of Brahms and Dvořák. In January, BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès joins the Boston Symphony Chamber Players as pianist at Jordan Hall and leads the BSO in a program featuring Augustin Hadelich in Ligeti's Violin Concerto plus music of Beethoven, Stravinsky, and a suite from his own opera Powder Her Face. Adès is also one of the three soloists in Bach's D minor concerto for three pianos in February's "Leipzig Week in Boston" program. In October, BSO Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur pairs Beethoven's incidental music to Egmont with Grieg's incidental music to Peer Gynt. In May, BSO Assistant Conductor Moritz Gnann leads a varied program featuring BSO principal oboe John Ferrillo in Marcello's Concerto in D minor for oboe and strings and closing with Mozart's Symphony No. 40.
Artist-in-Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet
In 2017-18, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet-a frequent guest with the orchestra in a wide range of repertoire since his BSO debut at Tanglewood in 1992-will be the orchestra's first Artist-in-Residence, joining the BSO in February as one of the three piano soloists in Bach's Concerto in D minor under Andris Nelsons; as soloist that same month in Ravel's Piano Concerto for the left hand; and as soloist in March under Maestro Nelsons in Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety. Also in March, Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for music of Saint-Saëns and Dvořák at Jordan Hall.
Internationally Acclaimed Guests
The Boston Symphony Orchestra offers a typically stellar roster of guest conductors and soloists in 2017-18. The BSO performs Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust with soloists Susan Graham as Marguerite, Paul Groves as Faust, and John Relyea as Mephistopheles; and music of Ravel with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, marking the 90th anniversary of Ravel's conducting the BSO at Symphony Hall while visiting America in 1928. Also returning for two programs, François-Xavier Roth teams with the young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor making his BSO debut in Mozart and esteemed French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in Bartók. Russian-Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev makes his BSO debut with two programs, pairing with the young Canadian- Polish pianist Jan Lisiecki making his BSO debut in Chopin and Ukrainian-born violinist Vadim Gluzman in Brahms.
Other welcome returnees include Gustavo Gimeno, joined by violinist Hilary Hahn for Dvořák's Violin Concerto; Christoph von Dohnányi, joined by pianist Martin Helmchen for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3; Herbert Blomstedt, who leads an all-Mozart program culminating with the composer's final symphony, the Jupiter; Alan Gilbert, joined by violinist Leila Josefowicz for John Adams's Scheherazade.2, on a program with works by Sibelius and Debussy; and Giancarlo Guerrero, whose program pairs Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony with Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish.
Welcoming New TFC Conductor James Burton
For his first full season in his new position as BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton will prepare the TFC for BSO performances of works by Grieg, Berlioz, Mahler, Schumann, Ravel, and Bernstein: Grieg's incidental music to Peer Gynt under Ken- David Masur and Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust both in October; February performances under Andris Nelsons of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 and, as part of "Leipzig Week in Boston," Schumann's Nachtlied and Neujahrslied; Ravel's complete Daphnis et Chloé, also in February; and performances in March of Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, to be led by Giancarlo Guerrero.
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Gewandhausorchester Leipzig Alliance
In this unprecedented partnership in the world of orchestral music, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig Alliance will explore the many historic connections between these two world-famous orchestras, inspire new cultural exchanges, and create a wide spectrum of performance and educational programs designed to bring a new dimension of concert experience to each of the orchestras' respective audiences. The official kickoff of the BSO/GHO Alliance in Boston will take place at The Boston Public Library with a gala celebration on Monday, February 5, 2018, prior to the Boston Symphony's first "Leipzig Week in Boston," February 8-11.
Leipzig Week in Boston
As part of the new alliance, the BSO celebrates its first "Leipzig Week in Boston" February 8-11, when Andris Nelsons leads works by composers closely associated with the legacy of the GHO, which was founded in 1743. Opening the program will be J.S. Bach's Concerto in D minor for three pianos, BWV 1063, with Thomas Adès, Kirill Gerstein, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; among the soloists for GHO performances of that work in 1835 and 1840 were Felix Mendelssohn, Clara Wieck (later to become Clara Schumann), and Franz Liszt. Also on the program are Robert Schumann's Nachtlied ("Night-song") and Neujahrslied ("New Year's Song") featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus; the world premiere of a BSO/GHO co- commission by the young American composer Sean Shepherd; and the Symphony No. 3, Scottish, by Felix Mendelssohn, who was conductor of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig from 1835 to 1847. In addition to lectures, panel discussions, and exhibits aimed at bringing audiences closer to the history and repertoire of each orchestra, "Leipzig Week in Boston" will also include a special Symphony Hall concert by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, who will be joined by the Gewandhaus-Quartett for a performance of Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat for strings, Opus 20.
The BSO/GHO Alliance informally began in May 2016 when the BSO, as part of a European tour under Andris Nelsons to the major musical capitals of Austria, Germany, and Luxembourg, gave its debut performance in Leipzig's Gewandhaus. Mr. Nelsons takes on his new title with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in February 2018, this being in addition to his long-term commitment as Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director through 2022 and beyond.
A Special Concert by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and Gewandhaus-Quartett at Symphony Hall
As part of the new alliance between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Gewandhaus-Quartett joins the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in February for a special, non-subscription Symphony Hall concert to include the young Felix Mendelssohn's brilliantly dynamic Octet in E-flat for strings, Opus 20.
Sunday, February 11, 3pm,
Boston Symphony Chamber Players Gewandhaus-Quartett
Program to include
MENDELSSOHN Octet in E-flat for strings, Op. 20