Symphony Concert 27

Boston Symphony Orchestra | Andris Nelsons | Baiba Skride

Bernstein | Shostakovich

Wed, 12.09.19.30No. 18352

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

17.08.-16.09. 2018

 

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    Symphony Concert 27

    Boston Symphony Orchestra | Andris Nelsons | Baiba Skride

    Andris Nelsons  conductor
    Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990)
    Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) for violin, string orchestra, harp, and percussion
    Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975)
    Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

    Leonard Bernstein had an endless supply of talents, and these he possessed in abundance. Arthur Rubinstein once remarked on these in a slightly wicked way when he said that Bernstein was “the greatest pianist among the conductors, the greatest conductor among composers, the greatest composer among pianists.” But Bernstein need not shy away from comparisons as a composer among composers – such is the realization lately being underscored during this anniversary year of 2018, which marks the centenary of Bernstein’s birth and is bringing reassessments of many of his works. Andris Nelsons and Baiba Skride will prove the point with Serenade, a five-movement Violin Concerto from 1954. In the second part of the program, the fabulous Boston Symphony Orchestra will play Shostakovich’s most devastating Symphony, the Fourth, with its eerie coda of 236 measures in which we hear the throbbing rhythm of a heartbeat that comes to a rest at the end. Shostakovich was unable to premiere this very personal work until after Stalin’s death, 25 years after completing the score; at the time when it was composed, this music might have cost him his life. 

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    On 22 October 1881, the Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its opening concert, realizing the dream of its founder, the Civil War veteran, philanthropist, and businessman Henry Lee Higginson, who wanted his native city to have its own major orchestra. Among the first music directors were such figures as Georg Henschel, Arthur Nikisch, Max Fiedler, Karl Muck, and Pierre Monteux. Lasting from 1924 to 1949, for a quarter-century, the tenure of Serge Koussevitzky was a period in which the Boston Symphony Orchestra established its annual summer residency in Tanglewood, starting in 1937. Koussevitzky was succeeded by Charles Munch (1949-62), Erich Leinsdorf (1962-69), William Steinberg (1969-72), Seiji Ozawa (1973-2001), and James Levine (2004-11), who was the first American-born conductor to helm the orchestra. Since 2014, the Latvian maestro Andris Nelsons has held the post of Music Director; he has meanwhile extended his contract until 2022. In the 2017-18 season, he led twelve programs with a widely ranging repertoire, three of which were also performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, and he undertook his first joint tour with the orchestra to Japan. Since 2016, the British composer, conductor, and pianist Thomas Adès has been serving as Artistic Partner. The Boston Symphony Orchestra reaches an audience of millions each year through its concerts, which take place at Symphony Hall, as well as on tours and via radio and television broadcasts and Internet streaming. The BSO Youth Concerts aim to attract the audience of the future, while the Tanglewood Music Center offers one of the best training facilities for professional young musicians. The Boston Symphony Chamber Music Players and the Boston Pops Orchestra are two independent ensembles comprising musicians from the orchestra who are respectively devoted to chamber music and lighter music.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 27 August 1979 with works by Bartók, Respighi, and Ravel conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

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    Andris Nelsons

    Born in Riga in 1978, Andris Nelsons grew up in a family of musicians and began his career as a trumpeter at the Latvian National Opera. In parallel to this, he continued his education as a conductor, studying this discipline with Alexander Titov in St. Petersburg and taking private lessons with Mariss Jansons. As early as 2003, Nelsons was appointed Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Opera, which post he held for four years. From 2008 to June 2015, he subsequently helmed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Since 2014, he has served as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he has also held the position of Gewandhaus Kapellmeister with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra since February 2018. Within a brief period, Nelsons succeeded in becoming a regular guest conductor of leading international orchestras and major opera companies. He has conducted at the Vienna, Munich, and Berlin State Opera companies; the Metropolitan Opera in New York; the Royal Opera House in London; and the Bayreuth Festival. He performs regularly with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. LUCERNE FESTIVAL gave him the distinction of naming Nelsons “artiste étoile” in 2012 and engaged him to conduct several concerts of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in 2014 and 2015. Andris Nelsons’s recordings have received many international awards. He is currently working with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on a Shostakovich cycle that includes all of the symphonies and the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; the first two CDs of the series have earned Grammy Awards. In 2019 he will release accounts of all nine Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 31 August 2009 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in works by Britten, Berlioz, Debussy, and Ravel.

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    Baiba Skride

    Born in 1981, the Latvian violinist Baiba Skride began her studies in her native city of Riga. In 1995 she transferred to the Rostock Music Academy to continue her education with Petru Munteanu. As the winner of the Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussels, in 2001 she launched her international career, which since then has taken her to numerous world-class orchestras. Baiba Skride has performed with such ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Boston and the Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 2017-18 season, she played Shostakovich’s Second Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic under Dima Slobo-
    deniouk and Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Andris Nelsons. She made her debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra playing the Beethoven Concerto, a work she also performed with the Schles-wig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. Baiba Skride has increasingly devoted herself to contemporary music. In 2017 she premiered Sofia Gubaidulina’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello, and bayan with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and she subsequently introduced the work in the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Chamber music occupies an important part of her artistic work, in collaborations with the cellists Sol Gabetta, Harriet Krijgh, Alban Gerhardt, and Daniel Müller-Schott; the harpist Xavier de Maistre; and the pianists Bertrand Chamayou and Lauma Skride, her younger sister. She has released various CDs, including of violin concertos by Sibelius, Nielsen, Brahms, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky. Baiba Skride plays the “Yfrah Neaman” Stradivari, which is generously provided by the deceased Lebanese violinist’s family.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 4 September 2012, when she performed Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto Offertorium with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

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