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Andris Nelsons-Led BSO NOW Concert Streams Released This Thursday

Tune in on February 11, 18, and 25.

Andris Nelsons-Led BSO NOW Concert Streams Released This Thursday

BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons-in a highly anticipated return to the Symphony Hall podium after nearly a year's absence due to the live performance hiatus related to the COVID-19 pandemic-will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a series of recordings to be released on the orchestra's new streaming platform, BSO NOW, on February 11, 18, and 25. In a poignant reflection on the Beethoven symphonic cycle, Mr. Nelsons was to have conducted with the orchestra this past October and November in honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth-before the forced cancellation of the entire BSO 2020-21 season-the February concert streams will feature Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra in four Beethoven symphonies, nos. 3, 5, 6, and 7, as well as recent orchestral works by Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi, British composer Hannah Kendall, and American composer Carlos Simon. Andris Nelsons loves conducting all the Beethoven symphonies and has been engrossed in recording and performing them over the last two to three years. This selection of symphonies highlights Beethoven's different approaches to the form, as well as being great showcases for the strengths of the BSO. Click here for a video statement from Mr. Nelsons.

The stream scheduled for release on Thursday, February 11 at noon features perhaps the most groundbreaking of Beethoven's nine symphonies, the Eroica. As with all BSO NOW episodes this month, Beethoven's symphonies are juxtaposed with contemporary works that in some way confront and wrestle with the German composer's iconic stature and restless innovation. The title of "Disillusioned Dreamer" by British composer Hannah Kendall is a reference from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (although in some respects it could conceivably correspond with Beethoven's own personal disillusion with the original dedicatee of the Eroica, Napoleon, and his reaction to the news that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor). Kendall's nine-minute work, which was premiered by the Berkeley Symphony in April 2019, conveys the thwarted dreams of segregated America, and with its ambitious vision echoes and, to a certain extent, grapples with Beethoven's revolutionary music.

Closing this episode is celebrated American composer Caroline Shaw's Blueprint, featuring BSO musicians Xin Ding and Catherine French, violins; Mary Ferrillo, viola; and Mickey Katz, cello. The topic of the first magazine segment for these Andris Nelsons-led programs will be "Under the Sign of Beethoven: Beethoven and the BSO," spotlighting the BSO's unique associations with the composer's music, as well as the history behind the famous Beethoven medallion-the only composer name featured in the architecture of the hall-at the top of the stage proscenium. The segment also contains some film/video clips of historic archival performances.

This will also be Mr. Nelsons' first time back in Boston since the October 5, 2020 announcement of a three-year extension of his contract as BSO Music Director through August 2025, with an evergreen clause in place reflecting a mutual intent for a long-term commitment well beyond the years of the new contract extension. The fifteenth music director since the orchestra's founding in 1881, Mr. Nelsons began his tenure in that role in fall 2014. His last appearance with the BSO was in January 31, 2020 when he led the orchestra in Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491 (with soloist Yefim Bronfman), and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.

Formal BSO titles for conductors referenced in this release: Andris Nelsons is the Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director; Anna Rakitina is BSO Assistant Conductor; Thomas Wilkins is the BSO's Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement, and Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor; Thomas Adès is the Deborah and Philip Edmundson Artistic Partner; and Stefan Asbury holds the Sana H. Sabbagh Master Teacher Chair on the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Faculty. The director for the concert portions of the BSO NOW series is Habib Azar; click here for a recent biography.

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