UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ANDRIS NELSONS, BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (BSO) ENTERS INTO NEW MULTIDIMENSIONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH LEIPZIG’S GEWANDHAUSORCHESTER (GWO) IN CONNECTION WITH MR. NELSONS’ APPOINTMENT AS THAT ORCHESTRA’S GEWANDHAUSKAPELLMEISTER BEGINNING IN FALL 2017; MR. NELSONS TAKES ON NEW TITLE IN ADDITION TO HIS DEDICATED COMMITMENT AS THE BSO’S MUSIC DIRECTOR THROUGH 2022 AND BEYOND
BSO/GWO ALLIANCE—TO TAKE PLACE OVER A FIVE YEAR PERIOD STARTING IN 2017-18—TO FEATURE CO-COMMISSIONING PROGRAM, EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES, SHARED AND COMPLEMENTARY PROGRAMMING, AND RESIDENCIES BY THE BSO IN LEIPZIG AND GWO IN BOSTON; NEW ALLIANCE TO ALSO EXPLORE MUSICIAN EXCHANGES BETWEEN TWO ORCHESTRAS
BSO TO CELEBRATE “LEIPZIG WEEK IN BOSTON” AND GWO TO CELEBRATE “BOSTON WEEK IN LEIPZIG” SPOTLIGHTING EACH OTHERS MUSICAL TRADITIONS AS PART OF THEIR RESPECTIVE SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS
PARTNERSHIP INFORMALLY BEGINS IN MAY 2016 WHEN BSO MAKES ITS DEBUT
CHRISTOPH WOLFF, ADAMS UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE BACH ARCHIVE IN LEIPZIG, AND AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS ACCLAIMED TEXTS ON THE HISTORY OF MUSIC FROM THE 15TH TO 20TH CENTURIES, TO SERVE AS AN ARTISTIC ADVISOR TO THE BSO/GWO ALLIANCE
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ANDRIS NELSONS’ APPOINTMENT AS CHIEF CONDUCTOR OF THE LEIPZIG GEWANDHAUS ORCHESTRA, VISIT GEWANDHAUSORCHESTER.DE
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will enter into a unique multidimensional partnership with Leipzig’s Gewandhausorchester in connection with Mr. Nelsons’ appointment as that orchestra’s Gewandhauskapellmeister, starting with the 2017-18 season. Mr. Nelsons takes on this new title with the Gewandhausorchester in addition to his long-term commitment as the Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director through 2022 and beyond; the GWO appointment also plays a role in consolidating Mr. Nelsons’ European activities. The BSO/GWO 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 orchestra’s respective audiences. As the central figure in bringing the BSO and GWO together, Andris Nelsons will be intricately involved in the planning and implementation of all the programming initiatives between the two orchestras.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Alliance will informally begin in May 2016 when the BSO, as part of a European tour to the major musical capitals of Austria, Germany, and Luxembourg, makes its debut performance in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, one of the great European halls after which Boston’s Symphony Hall was modeled (1884 version). The BSO/GWO Alliance officially takes place over a five-year period beginning with the 2017-18 concert season. Mr. Nelsons’ 5-year contract with the Gewanhausorchester begins in the Fall of 2017; the terms include eight subscription weeks, special concerts, touring, and recording.
DETAILS OF BSO AND GWO ALLIANCE:
Programming Highlighting Each Orchestra’s Musical Heritage
BSO Performing at Gewandhaus and GWO Performing at Symphony Hall
Christoph Wolff to Serve as an Artistic Advisor to BSO/GWO Alliance
QUOTE FROM ANDRIS NELSONS, BSO MUSIC DIRECTOR:
QUOTE FROM MARK VOLPE, BSO MANAGING DIRECTOR
QUOTE FROM PROF. ANDREAS SCHULZ, GEWANDHAUSDIRECTOR
BSO/GWO MUTUAL HERITAGE
Symphony Hall, Boston, dedicated in 1900, is not simply a replica of the Gewandhaus that opened its doors in 1884 and was destroyed in 1944, as is often reported. Mr. Higginson had visited the Leipzig concert hall while touring Europe and had instructed his team of architects to design a larger version of the Gewandhaus, with as many as 2600 seats. Boston’s new hall also added the latest acoustical principals to the overall design of its Leipzig counterpart. These acoustical principals played a major role in determining the size of the stage and the placement of sound absorbing statues in the auditorium, among other features. In 1974, the Gewandhausorchester appeared in Boston’s Symphony Hall during its first USA tour. To date, Boston has welcomed the Gewandhausorchester for ten guest performances, including its most recent appearance in the 2014-15 concert season. While the BSO has not yet performed in the Gewandhaus, the Leipzig hall featured the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, affiliated with the BSO, in 2008 during its European tour. As previously mentioned, the BSO will make its debut appearance at the Gewandhaus in May 2016.
ANDRIS NELSONS AND THE BSO
The news about Andris Nelsons’ contract extension with the BSO took place just as Mr. Nelsons returned to Tanglewood in early August to lead six programs, including a performance and webcast of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy (webcast available at www.bso.org); Mr. Nelsons also embarked on his first tour with the BSO as its music director to Europe’s major summer music festivals and concert halls, August 22- The tour, which included stops in London, Salzburg, Grafenegg, Lucerne, Milan, Paris, Cologne, and Berlin, received highly enthusiastic response from audience and critics alike in each of the tour cities. The contract announcement also came on the heels of the BSO’s and Andris Nelsons’ first recording release on the Deutsche Grammophon label on July 30: Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow, featuring the composer’s Symphony No. 10—a recording which was recently named Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month, August 2015.
Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in thirteen extraordinarily wide-ranging programs in the 2015-16 season, highlighted by new programming and recording initiatives centered around the music of Shostakovich, three weeks of thematic concerts honoring the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, concert performances of Strauss’s Elektra with Christine Goerke in the title role, and new works by Hans Abrahamsen, Sebastian Currier, Giya Kancheli, and George Tsontakis.
When Mr.Nelsons took on the title of BSO Music Director on September 27, 2014, at age 35, he became the youngest conductor to hold that title with the orchestra in over 100 years. The fifteenth music director since the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s founding in 1881, Mr. Nelsons is also the first Latvian-born conductor to assume the post.
BSO MUSIC DIRECTOR ANDRIS NELSONS BIOGRAPHY
From the 2017-18 season Andris Nelsons will hold the position of the Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and will be the central figure in bringing the BSO and GWO together for a unique multidimensional alliance, which will explore the many historic connections between these two orchestras.
Mr. Nelsons, who formally holds the title of Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director, returned to the BSO at Tanglewood this summer to lead six performances, August 1-15, highlighted by a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 on August 8 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s acclaimed summer music academy. Afterwards, Nelsons and the BSO embarked on their first tour together, August 22-September 5: an extensive 12-concert, 8-city European tour to major European capitals, including Berlin, Cologne, London, Milan, and Paris, as well as the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals. In May 2016 a tour to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg will follow.
Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in thirteen wide-ranging programs in the 2015-16 season, his second season as music director, highlighted by new programming and recording initiatives around the music of Shostakovich, three weeks of thematic concerts honoring the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, concert performances of Strauss’s Elektra with Christine Goerke in the title role, and new works by Hans Abrahamsen, Sebastian Currier, Giya Kancheli, and George Tsontakis.
In the coming season, Nelsons will continue collaborations with Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Het KoninklijkConcertgebouworkest and Philharmonia Orchestra. Andris Nelsons is a regular guest at Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera New York. In summer 2016, he returns to BayreutherFestspiele conducting Wagner’s Parsifal, in a new production directed by Uwe Eric Laufenberg.
Mr. Nelsons made his Boston Symphony debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 9; he made his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, leading both the BSO and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as part of Tanglewood’s 75th Anniversary Gala (a concert available on DVD and Blu-ray, and telecast nationwide on PBS). He is the fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His first compact disc with the BSO (also available as a download)—live recordings of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, from concert performances at Symphony Hall in the fall of 2014—was released earlier this season on BSO Classics. Also this season, he and the BSO, in collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon, initiated a multi-year recording project entitled “Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow,” to be drawn from live performances at Symphony Hall of Shostakovich’s symphonies 5 through 10, the Passacaglia from his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and selections from Shostakovich’s incidental music to Hamlet and King Lear, all composed during the period the composer labored under the life-threatening shadow of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Previously, Andris Nelsons has been critically acclaimed as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since assuming that post in 2008; he remained at the helm of that orchestra until summer 2015. Over the next few seasons he will continue collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Het Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonia Orchestra. Andris Nelsons is a regular guest at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera New York. In summer 2016, he returns to the Bayreuth Festival as musical director for Parsifal, in a new production directed by Uwe Eric Laufenberg.
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 principal conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009 and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007. Mr. Nelsons is the subject of a DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled “Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire.” Additional information about Andris Nelsons can be found at www.andrisnelsons.com and www.bso.org.
CHRISTOPH WOLFF BIOGRAPHY IN BRIEF
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HISTORY
Launched in 1996, the BSO’s website, bso.org, is the largest and most-visited orchestral website in the United States, receiving approximately 7.5 million visitors annually on its full site as well as its smart phone-/mobile device-friendly web format. The BSO is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+; 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 ever-changing, 21st-century world.
LEIPZIG GEWANDHAUS ORCHESTRA HISTORY
In 1835, Felix Mendelssohn became the orchestra’s music director, with the traditional title of Gewandhauskapellmeister, and held the position with only one year’s interruption until his death in 1847. In 1885, the orchestra moved into a new hall, which was destroyed by bombing in 1944. The present Gewandhaus, which opened n 1981, is the third building with the name. The large organ in the hall bears the original Gewandhaus motto “Res severa verum gaudium.” Aside from its concert duties, the orchestra also performs frequently in the Thomaskirche and as the official opera orchestra of the Leipzig Opera. Later principal conductors included Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, and Václav Neumann. From 1970 to 1996, Kurt Masur was Gewandhauskapellmeister, and he and the orchestra made a number of recordings for the Philips label. From 1998 to 2005, Herbert Blomstedt held the same position, and they in turn made several recordings for the Decca label. Masur and Blomstedt each currently hold the title of conductor laureate with the orchestra. In 2005, Riccardo Chailly took over as both Gewandhauskapellmeister and music director of the Leipzig Opera, with an initial contract through 2010. In 2008, Chailly’s first contract extension occurred, through 2015. However, he concurrently resigned as GMD of the Oper Leipzig, reportedly after conflict over the hiring of personnel without his consultation. In June 2013, the Gewandhausorchester further extended Chailly’s contract through 2020. They have released recordings on the Decca label of Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, the Robert Schumann symphonies in the re-orchestrations by Gustav Mahler, and the Beethoven symphonies.
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