BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2014-15 SEASON
ANDRIS NELSONS TO MAKE HIS CARNEGIE HALL DEBUT AS BSO MUSIC DIRECTOR, LEADING THE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN THREE PROGRAMS, APRIL 15-17
APRIL 15 CONCERT FEATURES PIANIST RICHARD GOODE IN MOZART’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 27 ON A PROGRAM INCLUDING STRAUSS’S EIN HELDENLEBEN AND THE NEW YORK PREMIERE OF GUNTHER SCHULLER’S DREAMSCAPE
CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF JOINS MR. NELSONS AND THE BSO APRIL 16 FOR BEETHOVEN’S VIOLIN CONCERTO ON A PROGRAM WITH SHOSTAKOVICH’S SYMPHONY NO. 10 AND PASSACAGLIA FROM ACT II OF LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK
ANDRIS NELSONS LEADS THE BSO IN MAHLER’S SYMPHONY NO. 6
BSO performances to take place Wednesday, April 15, Thursday, April 16,
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in three programs at Carnegie Hall, April 15-17. For his first Carnegie Hall concert as BSO Music Director on Wednesday, April 15, Mr. Nelsons will open the program with the New York premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Dreamscape, a BSO commission, inspired by a dream the composer had and featuring Schuller’s characteristically kaleidoscopic mastery of the orchestra (Click here for the program note for Gunther Schuller’s Dreamscape). The Schuller work will be followed by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat, K. 595, with soloist Richard Goode, an acclaimed Mozart specialist, and Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben.
In his final appearances of the 2014-15 season Thursday, April 9-Tuesday, April 14, Music Director Andris Nelsons leads a program that showcases the orchestra in a crystalline Classical concerto, the lush late-Romanticism of Richard Strauss, and the modernism of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gunther Schuller. At the heart of the program is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat, K.595, with eminent Mozart specialist, American pianist Richard Goode. To begin the concerts, Mr. Nelsons leads the BSO in Schuller’s Dreamscape. According to Schuller, this sparkling, witty, symphony-like work, commissioned by the BSO for Tanglewood’s 75th anniversary and premiered by the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in 2012, came to him wholly in a dream—hence its title. Its personal aspects and use of quotation make it a neat companion for Richard Strauss’s epic, episodic, novelistic, and brilliantly colorful tone poem Ein Heldenleben, which is based on the composer’s own life and incorporates quotations from several of his previous works.
The following night, on Thursday, April 16, Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra are joined by German violinist Christian Tetzlaff for Beethoven’s lyrical Violin Concerto, which—like the composer’s symphonies—expanded and transformed its genre far beyond what had previously been attempted. Opening the program is the rarely heard Passacaglia from Act II of the composer’s darkly humorous and musically adventurous opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and to conclude the program, the Symphony No. 10, an intense and emotionally draining work that is contentiously claimed to represent the Stalin years of the Soviet Union but certainly represents one of the composer’s highest achievements in the symphonic genre. Musically and emotionally rich, the Tenth is evidently an exorcism of conflicted personal feelings, whether toward the Soviet dictator or someone or something else that remains unknown.
Mr. Nelsons brings the BSO’s three-concert Carnegie Hall series to a close on Friday, April 17, with a performance of Mahler’s monumental, intricate, and devastatingly tragic Symphony No. 6, the finale of which features three cataclysmic hammer blows that the composer later believed presaged three great misfortunes in his life: the death of his daughter, the loss of the directorship of the Vienna Court Opera, and the diagnosis of the heart condition that would ultimately lead to his death.
ANDRIS NELSONS AND THE BSO RETURN TO CARNEGIE HALL IN OCTOBER 2015
A Brief History of the BSO
Launched in 1996, the BSO’s website, bso.org, is the largest and most-visited orchestral website in the United States, receiving approximately 7 million visitors annually on its full site as well as its smart phone-/mobile device-friendly web format. The BSO is also on Facebook and Twitter, and video content from the BSO is available on YouTube. An expansion of the BSO’s educational activities has also played a key role in strengthening the orchestra’s commitment to, and presence within, its surrounding communities. Through its Education and Community Engagement programs, the BSO provides individuals of all backgrounds the opportunity to develop and build relationships with the BSO and orchestral music. In addition, the BSO offers a variety of free educational programs at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, as well as special initiatives aimed at attracting young audience members.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert on October 22, 1881, under Georg Henschel, who remained as conductor until 1884. For nearly twenty years, BSO concerts were held in the old Boston Music Hall; Symphony Hall, one of the world’s most revered concert halls, opened on October 15, 1900. Henschel was succeeded by the German-born and -trained conductors Wilhelm Gericke, Arthur Nikisch, Emil Paur, and Max Fiedler, culminating in the appointment of the legendary Karl Muck, who served two tenures, 1906-08 and 1912-18. In 1915 the orchestra made its first transcontinental trip, playing thirteen concerts at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Henri Rabaud, engaged as conductor in 1918, was succeeded a year later by Pierre Monteux. These appointments marked the beginning of a French tradition maintained, even during the Russian-born Serge Koussevitzky’s tenure (1924-49), with the employment of many French-trained musicians.
It was in 1936 that Koussevitzky led the orchestra’s first concerts in the Berkshires; he and the players took up annual summer residence at Tanglewood a year later. Koussevitzky passionately shared Major Higginson’s dream of “a good honest school for musicians,” and in 1940 that dream was realized with the founding of the Berkshire Music Center (now called the Tanglewood Music Center).
Koussevitzky was succeeded in 1949 by Charles Munch, who continued supporting contemporary composers, introduced much French music to the repertoire, and led the BSO on its first international tours. In 1956, the BSO, under the direction of Charles Munch, was the first American orchestra to tour the Soviet Union. Erich Leinsdorf began his term as music director in 1962, to be followed in 1969 by William Steinberg. Seiji Ozawa became the BSO’s thirteenth music director in 1973. His historic twenty-nine-year tenure extended until 2002, when he was named Music Director Laureate. In 1979, the BSO, under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, was the first American orchestra to tour mainland China after the normalization of relations.
Bernard Haitink, named principal guest conductor in 1995 and Conductor Emeritus in 2004, has led the BSO in Boston, New York, at Tanglewood, and on tour in Europe, as well as recording with the orchestra. Previous principal guest conductors of the orchestra included Michael Tilson Thomas, from 1972 to 1974, and the late Sir Colin Davis, from 1972 to 1984.
The first American-born conductor to hold the position, James Levine was the BSO’s music director from 2004 to 2011. Levine led the orchestra in wide-ranging programs that included works newly commissioned for the orchestra’s 125th anniversary, particularly from significant American composers; issued a number of live concert performances on the orchestra’s own label, BSO Classics; taught at the Tanglewood Music Center; and in 2007 led the BSO in an acclaimed tour of European music festivals. In May 2013, a new chapter in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was initiated when the internationally acclaimed young Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons was announced as the BSO’s next music director, a position he has taken up in the 2014-15 season, following a year as music director designate.
Today, the Boston Symphony Orchestra continues to fulfill and expand upon the vision of its founder Henry Lee Higginson, not only through its concert performances, educational offerings, and internet presence, but also through its expanding use of virtual and electronic media in a manner reflecting the BSO’s continuing awareness of today’s modern, ever-changing, 21st-century world.
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BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2014-15 CARNEGIE HALL CONCERTS, APRIL 15-17
Wednesday, April 15, 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 16, 8 p.m.
Friday, April 17, 8 p.m.