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Andris Nelsons Extends Boston Symphony Orchestra Contract Through August 2025

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Nelson is the 15th music director since the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s founding in 1881—and the youngest conductor to hold the title in over 100 years.

Andris Nelsons Extends Boston Symphony Orchestra Contract Through August 2025

The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons have reached an agreement for a three-year extension of Mr. Nelsons' contract as BSO Music Director through the 2024-25 season (initial contract covers the period September 2014-August 2022), having received extraordinary praise and enthusiasm for his work with the orchestra from critics and audiences alike throughout his first six years as the artistic leader of the orchestra.

The news about Mr. Nelsons' BSO contract renewal was announced by Mark Volpe, BSO President and CEO, by way of a live video stream shown at a joint press announcement between the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and the Gewandhausorchester (GHO) at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany, today, Monday, October 5, at 17:30 Leipzig time, 11:30 a.m. Boston time, presided over by Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung. Simultaneous with today's news about his BSO contract, Mr. Nelsons also announced the extension of his contract as Gewandhauskapellmeister with the Gewandhausorchester of Leipzig. In addition to the news of his contract extensions, Mr. Nelsons announced the continuation of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Gewandhausorchester Alliance through 2025-an unprecedented multidimensional partnership in the orchestra industry. The next BSO/GHO Alliance venture will be an extensive and integrated media and residency project featuring the major symphonic works of Richard Strauss, with further details to be announced in the spring.

Details of BSO Contract Extension with Andris Nelsons Running Through August 2025

During each year of the new contract, Andris Nelsons will lead the orchestra in a minimum of 12 weeks of programs at Symphony Hall. Mr. Nelsons will also have a continued presence of at least a minimum of two weekends of concerts each season at Tanglewood, the orchestra's summer music festival in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, where he leads performances with the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in addition to his regular concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his activities at the new Tanglewood Learning Institute. Annual tours-including trips to Europe and Asia, as well as the BSO's Carnegie Hall series-are planned for each season of Mr. Nelsons' tenure with the BSO.

In summer 2015, following his first season as BSO Music Director, Mr. Nelsons' initial five-year contract with the BSO (September 2014-August 2019) was replaced with an eight-year contract (September 2014-August 2022). Just as with his original contract, the new contract extension running through 2025 comes with an evergreen clause reflecting a mutual intent for a long-term commitment between the BSO and Mr. Nelsons well beyond the terms of any of their contracts.

Preview of Programming Highlights of Future Seasons with Andris Nelsons and the BSO

Highlights of future seasons with Andris Nelsons and the BSO include an expansion of their Grammy Award-winning Shostakovich cycle on Deutsche Grammophon-which has so far concentrated primarily on the symphonies-to encompass the composer's piano, violin, and cello concertos and the Jazz Suites, among other works; an ongoing annual opera presentation, including the rescheduling of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and operatic masterworks of Wagner; and a continuing in-depth exploration of the Russian repertoire, spotlighting several major composers, among them Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as some of the lesser-known composers of the Soviet era. Andris Nelsons and the orchestra will also put a special focus on iconic BSO commissions from the past, including Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, and on the continuation of the orchestra's time-honored commissioning tradition, to feature works by some of the most celebrated figures of our time as well as fascinating younger American composers representing diverse backgrounds.

In addition to his many performances with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Mr. Nelsons will expand upon his work with the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and at the Tanglewood Learning Institute, where he leads conducting master classes and participates in panel discussions with some of the leading artists of our time.

In the 2021-22 BSO season, Mr. Nelsons will lead major works initially scheduled for the 2020-21 BSO season at Symphony Hall-including several Beethoven symphonies, a continuation of the BSO's Shostakovich cycle with Symphony Nos. 3 and 13, both featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and important commissions of new works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Julia Adolphe, and HK Gruber, among others-health and safety precautions permitting. Further details about the 2021-22 BSO season will be announced at a later date.

Mr. Nelsons will also play a supportive role in the new BSO Resident Fellowship Program-an excellence-based training program for early career orchestra musicians from historically underrepresented populations, tentatively scheduled to launch in summer 2021. The fellowships, running one to two years,

Further Details on Today's Announcement in Leipzig About Andris Nelsons' Contract Renewals and the Continuation of the BSO/GHO Alliance

[GHO]For today's announcement about Andris Nelsons' BSO contract extension, Mark Volpe, BSO President and CEO, and Elita Kang, BSO Assistant Concertmaster, joined the event by live video streamed from the stage of Boston's Symphony Hall. In addition to Mayor Burkhard Jung, other participants included Skadi Jennicke, Leipzig's Deputy Mayor of Cultural Affairs; Professor Andreas Schulz, General Director of the Gewandhaus; Matthias Schreiber, Gewandhausorchester cellist and Chairman of the Orchestra board, with the entire event leading up to a highly anticipated appearance by Andris Nelsons. GHO musicians performed J.S. Bach's Contrapunctus I from The Art of Fugue to start the press event and Eric Ewazen's A Western Fanfare to bring the proceedings to an end.

Mr. Nelsons' Return to Boston

Due to mandatory travel restrictions in place around the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Nelsons was not able to be in Boston for the announcement about his contract renewal, though he is expected to return to Boston in early 2021.
Statement from Mark Volpe, Eunice and Julian Cohen BSO President and CEO

"The extension of Andris Nelsons' contract as Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director reflects a powerfully deep commitment between the orchestra and its conductor to continue growing together towards ever-higher levels of music-making and creating one-of-a-kind concert experiences for their devoted audiences in Boston, the Berkshires, and beyond.

"When Andris Nelsons became BSO Music Director in 2014, we were keenly aware of the great musical gifts he would bring to the orchestra. What we didn't realize at the time was Andris' intrinsic ability to bring his entire heart, soul, and generous humanity to every situation, including his performances on stage, where he and the orchestra infuse their music-making with an emotionalism and immediacy that brings a striking sense of poignancy and inspiration to all their performances.

"All of us at the BSO look forward with great anticipation to the future when Andris and the orchestra continue to build upon their many accomplishments, including the launch of a unique and meaningful alliance between the BSO and GHO-the extension of which we are delighted to announce today-their Grammy award-winning Shostakovich cycle, and their impressive commissioning record of works by many of the major composers of our time. Above and beyond their music-making, Andris and the BSO infuse their performances with an undefinable yet undeniable chemistry.

"The extension of Andris Nelsons' contract is an especially meaningful moment for all of us at the Boston Symphony Orchestra grappling with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This wonderful news points to the orchestra's bright future and the time we will be together again as a devoted community with our beloved BSO and its treasured music director, the singular Andris Nelsons."

Statement from Andris Nelsons, Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director

"It is with great optimism and enthusiasm that I welcome the opportunity to continue my close collaboration with the musicians of the extraordinary Boston Symphony Orchestra, and by extension its incredibly loyal community of followers in Boston and throughout the world.

"I am so grateful to the musicians of the Boston Symphony for placing their trust and belief in me as their conductor these past six years. This bond is at the heart of what enables us to grow together in our music-making and to create the inspirational performances we so desire to offer our wonderful audiences.

"It takes everyone in the incredibly dedicated BSO family-from the musicians, to the staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors, board of trustees and advisors, and our loyal audiences-to help us realize our many dreams for the orchestra.

"The continuation of the BSO/GHO Alliance is particularly gratifying in the way it has brought so many musical gifts to the players of each of these great orchestras, to the students of their training academies, and to their respective music communities who have so enthusiastically embraced the collaborations that can spark new perspectives for both the musicians and their audiences.

"I am filled with gratitude and great happiness for the opportunity to continue my musical journey with the BSO, and I feel a powerful sense of anticipation around being reunited with the orchestra and our dear audiences as soon as the regulations around the pandemic allow. Until then, the BSO community is in my heart and I wish everyone associated with the orchestra and throughout the city and across the Commonwealth the very best of health and well-being."


The fifteenth music director since the Boston Symphony Orchestra's founding in 1881-and the youngest conductor to hold the title with the orchestra in over 100 years at the time of his appointment to the position-Mr. Nelsons was the first Latvian-born conductor to assume the post of BSO Music Director.

An internationally acclaimed conductor, Andris Nelsons took on the role of Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2014-15 Symphony Hall season. Named Musical America's 2018 Artist of the Year, Andris Nelsons has re-established the orchestra's international touring tradition, led the orchestra in a multiple Grammy award-winning cycle of the symphonies of Shostakovich on Deutsche Grammophon, and created a unique partnership between the BSO and the historic Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, bringing the audiences of Boston and Leipzig multi-dimensional programming spotlighting the culture and musical gifts of these two great orchestras and the cities they call home. Mr. Nelsons leads the BSO in a wide-ranging selection of music each year, including new works and world premieres, beloved staples of the orchestral repertoire-Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, [Andris Nelsons]and Tchaikovsky, among many others-an annual opera presentation, and major musical events, including orchestral masterworks by Mahler and Shostakovich, among composers for whom he has a particular affinity. During his tenure he has led new BSO commissions or co-commissions by leading composers of our time, among them Timo Andres, Sebastian Currier, Andris Dzenitis, Michael Gandolfi, Sofia Gubaidulina, Betsy Jolas, Arturs Maskats, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, George Tsontakis, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Jörg Widmann. Operas Mr. Nelsons has led in concert performances include Puccini's La Bohème and Suor Angelica and Strauss' Salome. He has endeared himself to the Boston community through appearances at free concerts in Franklin Park, throwing out the first pitch at Red Sox games, and making himself available to meet with both young and longtime concert-goers at special events scheduled throughout the year.

Mr. Nelsons' recordings with the BSO have met with tremendous success. In addition to worldwide critical and audience acclaim, the Shostakovich symphony series for Deutsche Grammophon has been recognized so far with three GRAMMY Awards-in 2015, 2016, and 2018-for Best Orchestral Performance, as well as a 2018 GRAMMY for Best Engineered Album (Classical). The series continues in summer 2021 with the release of the [Deutsche Grammophon]composer's symphonies nos. 1, 14, and 15 and the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a. Other BSO recordings led by Mr. Nelsons include the complete Brahms symphonies on the orchestra's own BSO Classics label and an all-American disc of BSO-commissioned works by Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepard, and George Tsontakis for Naxos. Mr. Nelsons has also led the BSO in three major television broadcasts on PBS-in July 2012, as guest conductor in the Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration; his inaugural concert as BSO Music Director on September 27, 2014, joined by soprano Kristine Opolais and tenor Jonas Kaufmann in classic works of German and Italian opera; and in summer 2018, the Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood, a star-studded gala concert of music by Leonard Bernstein as well as repertoire he loved to conduct.

Launched in 2018 by Mr. Nelsons and his management teams at the BSO and GHO, the BSO/GHO Alliance was founded as a way to create a meaningful relationship between the two orchestras, with a special focus on their shared history, an impressive new works co-commissioning program, an orchestra exchange program for the musicians of the two ensembles and the students of their respective music academies, and bringing their audiences opportunities to experience the musical gifts unique to each ensemble. In October/November 2019, Mr. Nelsons and the BSO hosted the GHO in an unprecedented series of concerts in Symphony Hall led by Maestro Nelsons, including performances combining the forces of both orchestras.

[Andris Nelsons]Sought after for guest conducting appearances with the world's great orchestras, Andris Nelsons makes regular appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic, which he conducted in the prestigious annual New Year's Concert in 2020. Previous to his post with the BSO, Mr. Nelsons was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2008-2015), Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany (2006-2009), and Music Director of the Latvian National Opera (2003-2007). Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting.

Details About Cancellation of 2020-21 BSO Season and Mr. Nelsons' Return to Boston in 2021

For the first time in its 139-year history, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was forced to suspend its fall season of performances at Symphony Hall, September 16-November 28 (links to original BSO 2020-21 season announcement and season cancellation release). The decision to cancel the fall period of the 2020-21 BSO season-due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19-was made in consultation with a team of medical experts assembled by the BSO Board of Trustees, and in response to issuances by the Centers for Disease Control and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which prohibit gatherings of 25 or more people in a particular location where they would be in close physical proximity within a confined indoor space.

During the hiatus from performances this fall, the BSO will create and distribute newly recorded online content inspired by the success of its BSO at Home series (spring 2020) and Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival (summer 2020) distributed through and Currently, through November 19, the BSO is offering Encore BSO Recitals, available through Details of the November/December newly recorded content offerings will be announced at the end of October. Due to challenging travel restrictions, Mr. Nelsons will be unable to lead any of the newly created virtual programming for this fall. If conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic permit, Mr. Nelsons is expected to return to Boston in early 2021.

will provide opportunities for young musicians of color to study with BSO musicians and perform with the BSO and Boston Pops during their Symphony Hall seasons in Boston, as well as participate as Fellows in the Tanglewood Music Center.

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