- Andris Nelsons,
- Baiba Skride,
- Susan Graham
Immediately after its gala Leonard Bernstein birthday concert at Tanglewood the Boston Symphony Orchestra returns to Europe for an extensive festival tour. Lenny will be celebrated here as well!
Leonard Bernstein: Serenade (1954) nach Plato's Symposium für Solovioline, Streicher, Harfe und Percussion
Dmitrij Schostakowitsch: Symphonie Nr. 4 c-Moll op. 43
Gustav Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 3 d-Moll in sechs Sätzen für großes Orchester, Altsolo, Knabenchor und Frauenchor (1895-96)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 135th 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...
Now in its 135th 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 7.5 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 alls, 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 Russianborn 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 2014-2015 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, 21stcentury world.
In 2017-18, his fourth season as the BSO’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in twelve wide-ranging subscription programsat Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March. Also...
In 2017-18, his fourth season as the BSO’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in twelve wide-ranging subscription programsat Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March. Also this season, in November, he and the orchestra tour Japan together for the first time, playing concerts in Nagoya, Osaka, Kawasaki, and Tokyo. In addition, in February 2018Maestro Nelsons becomes Gewandhaus kapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he will bring both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance; under his direction, the BSO celebrates its first “Leipzig Week in Boston” that same month. In the summer of 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was extended through the 2021-22 season. Following the 2015 Tanglewood season, he and the BSO undertook a twelve-concert, eight-city tour to major European capitals as well as the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals. A second European tour, to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg took place in May 2016.
The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. His first CD with the BSO—live recordings of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2—was released in November 2014on BSO Classics. April 2017 brought the release on BSO Classics of the four Brahms symphonies with Maestro Nelsons conducting, recorded live at Symphony Hall in November 2016. In an ongoing, multi-year collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon initiated in 2014-15, he and the BSO are making live recordings of Shostakovich’s complete symphonies, the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and other works by the composer. The first release in this series(the Symphony No. 10and the Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance and Gramophone Magazine’s Orchestral Award. The second release (symphonies 5, 8, and 9, plus excerpts from Shostakovich’s 1932 incidental music to Hamlet) won the 2017 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Also for Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is recording the Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.
In 2017-18, Andris Nelsons is artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and continues his regular collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic, leading that orchestra on tour to China. He also maintains regular collaborations with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Maestro Nelsons has also been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he conducts a new David Alden production of Lohengrin this season.
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 music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009,and music director of the Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007. Mr. Nelsons is the subject of a 2013 DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled “Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire.”
Baiba Skride, Violin
Baiba Skride’s natural approach to her music-making has endeared her to some of today’s most important conductors and orchestras worldwide. She is consistently invited for her refreshing interpretations, her sensitivity and delight in the music. The list of...
Baiba Skride’s natural approach to her music-making has endeared her to some of today’s most important conductors and orchestras worldwide. She is consistently invited for her refreshing interpretations, her sensitivity and delight in the music. The list of prestigious orchestras with whom she has worked include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre deParis, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Notable conductors she collaborates with include Olari Elts, Christoph Eschenbach, Ed Gardner, Susanna Mälkki, Andris Nelsons, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Santtu Matias Rouvali, Vasily Petrenko, Andris Poga, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Dima Slobodeniouk, Tugan Sokhiev, John Storgårds and Xian Zhang.
Summer 2017 sees her give her debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra in St Petersburg. Festival appearances include the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and Grafenegg Festival (on tour with the European Union Youth Orchestra). In the 2017/18 season, Skride returns to the Berliner Philharmoniker for the third time in 8 years, playing Shostakovich violin concerto No.2 under Dima Slobodeniouk’s baton. Further highlights include her return to New York Philharmonic with Susanna Mälkki and to the Gewandhausorchester with Andris Nelsons, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, a Spain tour with Copenhagen Philharmonic, Lahti Symphony Orchestra with a concert at Stockholm’s Konserthuset. In Asia she returns to NHK Symphony Orchestra and she makes her debut with Hong Kong and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras.
Contemporary music has become central to Baiba Skride’s music making. Her special relationship and admiration for Sofia Gubaidulina’s music reached another climax at the world premiere of Gubaidulina’s Triple concerto for violin, cello, and bayan with Boston Symphony Orchestra in February 2017. Baiba Skride is looking forward to further country premieres of the Triple concerto with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris in the 2017/18 season.
Baiba Skride is a sought after chamber musician internationally. Only last season she has formed the Skride Quartet with Lauma Skride, Harriet Krijgh and Lise Berthaud. In 2017/18 invitations take them to the Utrecht Chamber Music Festival, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, amongst others. In the same season she also performs in quintet with Alban Gerhard, Brett Dean, Gergana Gergova, Amihai Grosz including performances at the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie Luxembourg and Tonhalle Zurich.
Skride was born into a musical Latvian family in Riga where she began her studies, transferring in 1995 to the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Rostock. In 2001 she won the 1st prize of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Baiba Skride plays the Yfrah Neaman Stradivarius kindly loaned to her by the Neaman family through the Beares International Violin Society.
Susan Graham, Mezzo-soprano
Susan Graham Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham – hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times – rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and...
Susan Graham Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham – hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times – rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi’s Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. A familiar face at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she also maintains a strong international presence at such key venues as Paris’Théâtre du Châtelet, the Sydney Opera House, Santa Fe Opera and the Hollywood Bowl. She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and her recital repertoire is so broad that 14 composers from Purcell to Sondheim are represented on her most recent Onyx album, Virgins, Vixens & Viragos. This distinctly American artist has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”, both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music.
To launch the 2017-18 season, Graham sings Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust with the Boston Symphony under Charles Dutoit. After reprising her star turn in the title role of Susan Stroman’s take on Lehár’s The Merry Widow at the Met, she joins Nathan Gunn for Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti at Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a special production to mark the composer’s 100th birthday. To conclude the operatic season, she makes her title role debut opposite James Morris in Marc Blitzstein’s 1948 opera Regina at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Back at the Boston Symphony, she joins Andris Nelsons for Mahler’s Third Symphony, which is also the vehicle for her summer collaborations with the orchestra at Tanglewood and in Europe. Besides reuniting with Dutoit for Ravel’s Shéhérazade at the San Francisco Symphony, she graces a gala concert to celebrate Tulsa Opera’s 70th anniversary, and gives solo recitals at Atlanta’s Emory University and the Washington University in St. Louis.
Last season, Graham partnered Renée Fleming for the San Francisco Symphony’s opening-night gala, and joined Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, and a host of other luminaries to celebrate the Metropolitan Opera’s five decades at its Lincoln Center home. Having created the role of Sister Helen Prejean in the world premiere production of Dead Man Walking, she starred in Washington National Opera’s revival of the opera, making her triumphant role debut as the convict’s mother. She returned to Santa Fe Opera as Prince Orlofsky in a new production of Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, and reprised her signature portrayal of Dido in Berlioz’s Les Troyens at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Her concert highlights included selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn at Carnegie Hall and from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as a star-studded Der Rosenkavalierat the Boston Symphony. She gave U.S. recitals of “Frauenliebe und -leben Variations”, her program inspired by the Schumann song cycle, and expanded her discography with Nonesuch Records’ DVD/Blu-ray release of William Kentridge’s new treatment of Berg’s Lulu, which captures her celebrated role debut as Countess Geschwitz at the Met.
Graham’s earliest operatic successes were in such trouser roles as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozzedi Figaro. Her technical expertise soon brought mastery of Mozart’s more virtuosic roles, like Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, Idamante in Idomeneo and Cecilio in Lucio Silla, as well as the title roles of Handel’s Ariodante and Xerxes. She went on to triumph in two iconic Richard Strauss mezzo roles, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. These brought her to prominence on all the world’s major opera stages, including the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, among many others. In addition to creating the role of Sister Helen Prejean at San Francisco Opera, she sang the leading ladies in the Met’s world premieres of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby and Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy, and made her Dallas Opera debut as Tina in a new production of The Aspern Papers by Dominick Argento. As Houston Grand Opera’s Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, she starred as Prince Orlofsky in the company’s first staging of Die Fledermaus in 30 years, before heading an all-star cast as Sycorax in the Met’s Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island and making her rapturously received musical theater debut in a new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
It was in an early Lyon production of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict that Graham scored particular raves from the international press, and a triumph in the title role of Massenet’s Chérubin at Covent Garden sealed her operatic stardom. Further invitations to collaborate on French music were forthcoming from many of its preeminent conductors, including Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, James Levine and Seiji Ozawa. New productions of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust and Massenet’s Werther were mounted for the mezzo in New York, London, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and beyond. She recently made title role debuts in Offenbach’s comic masterpieces La belle Hélène and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at Santa Fe Opera, as well as proving herself the standout star of the Met’s star-studded revival of Les Troyens, which was broadcast live to cinema audiences worldwide in the company’s celebrated “Live in HD” series. Graham’s affinity for French repertoire has not been limited to the opera stage, also serving as the foundation for her extensive concert and recital career. Such great cantatas and symphonic song cycles as Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre and Lesnuits d’été, Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer provide opportunities for collaborations with the world’s leading orchestras, and she makes regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and London Symphony Orchestra.
Graham’s distinguished discography features all the works described above, as well as a series of lauded solo albums, including Un frisson français, a program of French song recorded with pianist Malcolm Martineau for Onyx; C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour!, an album of 20th-century operetta rarities on Erato; and La Belle Époque, an award-winning collection of songs by Reynaldo Hahn with pianist Roger Vignoles, from Sony Classical. Among the mezzo’s numerous honors are Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year and an Opera News Award, while Gramophone magazine has dubbed her “America’s favorite mezzo.”