Symphony Concert 27

Boston Symphony Orchestra | Andris Nelsons | Baiba Skride

Bernstein | Shostakovich

Wed, 18352

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

17.08.-16.09. 2018




    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 first concert, thereby making into reality the dream of its founder, the Civil War veteran, philanthropist, and businessman Henry Lee Higginson, who wanted to have a major orchestra for his own native city. Among the first principal conductors were such musicians as Georg Henschel, Arthur Nikisch, Max Fiedler, Karl Muck, and Pierre Monteux. For 25 years, from 1924 to 1949, Serge Koussevitzky held this position; under his aegis the BSO also established its annual summer residency at Tanglewood in 1937. Koussevitzky’s successors were Charles Münch (1949–62), Erich Leinsdorf (1962–69), William Steinberg (1969–72), Seiji Ozawa (1973–2001), and James Levine (2004–2011), who was the first native-born American to lead the orchestra. Since the 2014-15 season, the Latvian maestro Andris Nelsons has been serving as Music Director; Bernard Haitink has been Conductor Emeritus since 2004, having previously held the position of First Guest Conductor for nine years. Through its concerts, which take place in Symphony Hall (opened in October 1900), as well as through its tours, radio and television broadcasts, and internet streaming, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is annually heard by an audience numbering in the millions. Through the BSO Youth Concerts it reaches out to the audience of the future, and with the Tanglewood Music Center it provides one of the best training facilities for professional young musicians. As ensembles comprising players drawn from the BSO, the Boston Symphony Chamber Music Players dedicate themselves to chamber music and the Boston Pops Orchestra to lighter fare. The Boston Symphony Orchestra also regularly commissions new works. Since 2009 it has released recordings on its own label, BSO Classics.

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

    August 2015

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    Andris Nelsons

    Andris Nelsons was born in Riga in 1978. He grew up in a musical family and began his career as a trumpet player with the Orchestra of the Latvian National Opera. At the same time he studied conducting with Alexander Titov in St. Petersburg and undertook private instruction with Mariss Jansons. In 2003 the young Nelsons was appointed Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Opera, holding that position for four years; from 2008 to July 2015 he directed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season he has served as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he untertakes his first European tour this summer. Within a short period Nelsons has become a regular guest artist with the leading international orchestras and the major opera houses. He conducts at the Vienna Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Royal Opera House in London; he also concertizes with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 Nelsons opened the Bayreuth Festival with a new production of Lohengrin staged by Hans Neuenfels, which he has conducted there every summer since; in 2016 he will return to participate in a new production of Parsifal. In 2012 LUCERNE FESTIVAL singled Nelsons out for the honor of being “artiste étoile” and in 2014 engaged him to lead the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA during the first summer following Claudio Abbado’s death. Nelsons’s CDs have received many international awards. His most recent recording, which he made with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and released in the summer of 2015, is of Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony.

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

    August 2015

    Other dates

    Baiba Skride

    Violinist Baiba Skride, who was born in 1981 in Latvia, comes from a family of musicians and began her studies in her native city of Riga. In 1995 she transferred to the Rostock Academy of Music to continue her education with Petru Munteanu. Her victory in the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition in Brussels in 2001 launched her international career, which by now has led her to work with many world-class orchestras. Skride has played with the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the 2012-13 season she makes her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, following previous US appearances with Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other highlights include concerts with Andris Nelsons, Christoph Eschenbach, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Osmo Vänskä, and Kurt Masur. Skride is also increasingly devoting herself to contemporary music. Together with her sister and duo partner Lauma Skride, she gave the world premiere of the Double Concerto for Violin and Piano by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen in the past season. Chamber music is also an important part of her artistic work, and Skride performs with cellists Sol Gabetta, Julian Steckel, and Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Bertrand Chamayou. She has already released several CDs: most recently, her account of concertos by Stravinsky and Martin, and of the Brahms Violin Concerto, which Skride recorded with Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Her recording of violin concertos by Janácek and Shostakovich won the Echo Klassik in 2006. Baiba Skride plays the Stradivarius “Ex Baron Feilitzsch” from 1734, which is generously on loan to her from Gidon Kremer.

    August 2012