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Andris Nelsons Returns To Lead The BSO In THE SPIRIT OF BEETHOVEN Concert Streams

The stream will be released on February 18 featuring the most nature-inspired and tranquil of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, the Pastoral.

This month, BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a series of recordings to be released on the orchestra's new streaming platform, BSO NOW.

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 18 at noon features perhaps the most nature-inspired and tranquil of Beethoven's nine symphonies, the Pastoral. 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. BSO programmed Jeder baum spricht (Every Tree Speaks) by Iman Habibi to be heard directly following its performance of the Sixth Symphony, since a point in common between Habibi and Beethoven is a deep and abiding love of nature that is present in their works, and since the Sixth also evokes birdsong, famously, in the second movement. Iman Habibi was one of several composers commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra as part of its 2020 celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday. Habibi's piece celebrates nature, and is particularly inspired by the "fate" motif in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which is believed to be based on the song of the yellow hammer bird, common in Viennese parks. The work is also a direct response to Beethoven's social activism and imagines Beethoven's response to the climate crisis.

Closing this episode is Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, featuring BSO musicians Cynthia Meyers, flute; Danny Kim, viola; and Jessica Zhou, harp.

These February BSO NOW concert streams also mark Mr. Nelsons' first appearances with the orchestra 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; and Thomas Wilkins is the BSO's Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement, and Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor. The director for the concert portions of the BSO NOW series is Habib Azar; click here for a recent biography.

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