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BSO Announces 11-Concert European Tour in May 2025

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Andris Nelsons, will return to Europe in May 2025 with an all-Shostakovich repertoire commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Russian composer. In what will be Mr. Nelsons’ seventh international tour over his decade-long tenure with the orchestra, it will also signify the BSO’s first performances in Riga, Latvia, Nelsons’ birthplace and hometown. Beginning on May 8 and 9 in Vienna’s esteemed Musikverein where the BSO last performed in 2018, the 2025 European tour also takes the orchestra to Prague, Czech Republic, where it last played in 1993, and Leipzig, Germany, where it previously performed in 2018. 

As part of its ongoing alliance with the Gewandhausorchester (Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, GHO), which Nelsons also leads, the BSO’s six solo and joint appearances in Leipzig over the course of eight days are the culmination of the tour, from May 16–24. Previously announced in October (link here), the Shostakovich Festival Leipzig will explore the Russian composer’s 15 symphonies and six concertos with a third Festival Orchestra composed from the ranks of the Tanglewood Music Center and the GHO’s Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy and led by Nelsons and former BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina. This first-ever Shostakovich Festival Leipzig, presented by the Leipzig Gewandhaus, will also feature the composer’s complete string quartets, Nelsons conducting the Gewandhausorchester in two performances of the landmark 1934 opera Lady Macbeth in Mtsensk, song recitals, film screenings, choral and chamber music, and more. 

Andris Nelsons, who just finished his tenth season as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is widely acclaimed as one of the preeminent Shostakovich interpreters of his generation. With the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he has recorded the composer’s complete symphonies and concertos, as well as the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, for Deutsche Grammophon, a project that has so far won four Grammy Awards. Prior to embarking for Europe, in late April and May 2025, the BSO will perform Shostakovich programs at Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, including the Symphonies Nos. 6, 8, 11, and 15 that make up the tour’s repertoire. 

An artistic partner for these concerts is Latvian violinist Baiba Skride who will perform Shostakovich’s harrowing Violin Concerto No. 1 in all four of the tour’s cities. Skride is a longtime collaborator with Nelsons who made her BSO debut in 2013 with the same Shostakovich concerto. Remarking positively on this performance, The Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler wrote, “she plays the concerto as a whole with poise, subtlety, and self-possession.” A recording of the work during Skride's most recent performance with Nelsons and the BSO in Boston in January 2023 is scheduled to be released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2025. 

French cellist Gautier Capuçon performs Shostakovich’s dramatic First Cello Concerto with the BSO in Leipzig on May 17. In his most recent performances with the BSO in April 2023 in Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, Capuçon was praised for his “ravishing, dark-coffee tone” (Wall Street Journal) and “suave virtuosity and keen coloristic imagination” (The Boston Globe). 

Statement from Andris Nelsons, Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director:

"The musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and I are thrilled to return to Europe and to share our passion for the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. Shostakovich’s music allows us to experience his personal fate, as it reflects the facets of human existence: from fear, darkness, biting irony and sarcasm, to childlike playfulness, joy and burgeoning hope."

“I look forward to our returns to Vienna, Prague, Leipzig, and our first performances in my hometown, Riga. My conducting career started there with the Latvian National Opera many years ago, and I am excited for audiences to experience the truly amazing gifts of the BSO, and for the orchestra to discover the culture, history and hospitality of Latvia. We are also thrilled to be performing again with our brilliant soloists, Baiba and Gautier, who both bring so much intensity and feeling to Shostakovich’s music. To end the tour, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is proud to continue its friendship with the Gewandhausorchester by reuniting for the Shostakovich Festival in Leipzig, culminating in a joint performance of Shostakovich’s 7th symphony at the Gewandhaus.” 

Statement from BSO President and CEO Chad Smith:

“Andris and the BSO’s decade-long exploration of Dmitri Shostakovich’s music has brought an unprecedented level of attention to one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. By exploring Shostakovich’s complete oeuvre, we have shed light on facets of his career that are often overlooked here in the United States, and in doing so learned a tremendous amount about him. On our tour of Europe, we will share what we have come to learn not only with audiences in Vienna, Prague, Riga, and Leipzig, but with a host of guest musicians from our second home, the Tanglewood Music Center; Andris’ Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; and the young professional musicians of the Mendelssohn-Orchesterakademie. Together, we will perform a complete cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies and other major works in a marathon eight-day residency at the Shostakovich Festival Leipzig, further strengthening our partnerships across institutions and borders and providing valuable experience to rising musicians in the US and Europe."
“Touring with the BSO isn’t just about bringing our music out of Boston—it’s about traveling to peoples’ homes, to directly learn from and share with one another through an exchange of art and culture. While all of our destinations are world-class musical capitals with an enormous amount to offer, I am especially looking forward to the BSO’s very first visit to Riga, where Andris was born, raised, and discovered his love of music. I can’t wait to learn more about Andris, his artistry, and the people and places that have shaped his life on a musical and personal level."

Click here to download the complete press release.

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