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Andris Nelsons - Boston Symphony: Bio

In the 2014-15 season, Andris Nelsons' first as the BSO's Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, he leads the orchestra in ten programs at Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at New York's Carnegie Hall in April. The fifteenth music director in the BSO's history, he made his Boston Symphony debut in March 2011, with Mahler's Symphony No. 9 at Carnegie Hall. 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 subsequently issued on DVD and Blu-ray, and telecast nationwide on PBS). His Symphony Hall and BSO subscription series debut followed in January 2013, and at Tanglewood last summer he led three concerts with the BSO, as well as a special Tanglewood Gala featuring both the BSO and the TMC Orchestra. His appointment as the BSO's music director has confirmed his reputation as one of the most renowned conductors on the international scene today, a distinguished name on both the opera and concert podiums. He made his first appearances as the BSO's music director designate in October 2013 with a subscription program of Wagner, Mozart, and Brahms, and returned to Symphony Hall in March 2014 for a concert performance of Strauss's Salome. 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 given last fall-was released earlier this season on BSO Classics.

Maestro Nelsons has been critically acclaimed as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since assuming that post in 2008; he remains at the helm of that orchestra until summer 2015. With the CBSO he undertakes major tours worldwide, including regular appearances at such summer festivals as the Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and Berlin Festival. Together they have toured the major European concert halls, including Vienna's Musikverein, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Gasteig in Munich, and Madrid's Auditorio Nacional de Música. Mr. Nelsons made his debut in Japan on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic and returned to tour Japan and the Far East with the CBSO in November 2013. Over the next few seasons he will continue collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He is a regular guest at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and New York's Metropolitan Opera. In summer 2014 he returned to the Bayreuth Festival to conductLohengrin, in a production directed by Hans Neuenfels, which Mr. Nelsons premiered at Bayreuth in 2010.

Andris Nelsons and the CBSO continue their recording collaboration with Orfeo International as they work toward releasing all of Tchaikovsky's orchestral works and a majority of works by Richard Strauss, including a particularly acclaimed account of Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. Most of Mr. Nelsons' recordings have been recognized with the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In October 2011 he received the prestigious ECHO Klassik of the German Phono Academy in the category "Conductor of the Year" for his CBSO recording of Stravinsky'sFirebird and Symphony of Psalms. For audiovisual recordings, he has an exclusive agreement with Unitel GmbH, the most recent release being a Dvořák disc entitled "From the New World" with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, released on DVD and Blu-ray in June 2013. He is also the subject of a recent DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled "Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire."

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.


Now in its 134th season, the Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881, realizing the dream of its founder, the Civil War veteran/businessman/philanthropist Henry Lee Higginson, who envisioned a great and permanent orchestra in his hometown of Boston. Today the BSO reaches millions of listeners, not only through its concert performances in Boston and at Tanglewood, but also via the internet, radio, television, educational programs, recordings, and tours. It commissions works from today's most important composers; its summer season at Tanglewood is among the world's most important music festivals; it helps develop future audiences through BSO Youth Concerts and educational outreach programs involving the entire Boston community; and, during the Tanglewood season, it operates the Tanglewood Music Center, one of the world's most important training grounds for young professional-caliber musicians. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, made up of BSO principals, are known worldwide, and the Boston Pops Orchestra sets an international standard for performances of lighter music.

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.

Andris Nelsons - Boston Symphony

Dmitri Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow Sym 6&7

Deutsche Grammophon

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1 Symphony #6 in B minor, Op.54 - Largo  
2 Allegro  
3 Presto - King Lear, Op. 58a  
4 Introduction and Ballad of Cordelia  
5 Fanfare #1  
6 Return from the Hunt  
7 Fanfare No. 4  
8 Approach of the Storm  
9 Scene on the Steppe  
10 Fanfare #2  
11 The Blinding of Gloucester  
12 The Military Camp  
13 Fanfare #5  
14 March - Festive Overture, Op. 96  
15 Original Version  
16 Symphony #7, Op.60 - 'Leningrad' / Allegretto  
17 Moderato poco allegretto  
18 Adagio  
19 Allegro non troppo  
One-on-One with BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons leads first BSO rehearsal
The BSO and Andris Nelsons announce a new partnrship with Deutsche Grammophon

The Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andris Nelsons continue their critically acclaimed Under Stalin's Shadow series on Deutsche Grammophon with the release of Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 together with the composer's Suite from the Incidental Music to King Lear and the Festive Overture on February 22. 

The new double-disc set follows the 2018 release of a compelling pairing of Shostakovich's Fourth and Eleventh Symphonies, which has been nominated in the Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album (classical) categories for the 2019 Grammy Awards.