A Conversation with Conductor ANDRIS NELSONS


Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 6:30pm


Paine Hall, Music Building, 3 Oxford St.

Presented by: Learning From Performers
Admission: Free: No Tickets Required

Conductor Andris Nelsons, appointed in 2014 as the fifteenth Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), will participate in a panel discussion also featuring BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe and Artistic Administrator and Director of Tanglewood Anthony Fogg, as well as Federico Cortese, Music Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, and moderator Anne Shreffler, Professor of Music at Harvard. The panelists will engage in a far-ranging discussion of the BSO’s history and legacy, while considering the future of the institution and its influence on the world’s musical stage, focusing on current goals and initiatives for the orchestra; developing new audiences for classical, modern and contemporary music; curatorial considerations in shaping a season’s repertoire; connecting with Boston's music and broader arts community; and other topics.

Appointed at the start of the 2014-15 season, ANDRIS NELSONS is the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, the fifteenth Music Director in the organization’s history. He was born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, and began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting, becoming principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009 and music director of the Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007. From 2008 to 2015, Nelsons was critically acclaimed as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his first CD with the BSO—live recordings of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2—was released in November 2014 on BSO Classics. In 2014-15, in collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon, he and the BSO initiated a multi-year recording project entitled “Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow,” to include live performances of Shostakovich’s symphonies 5 through 10 and other works. Last summer, following his first season as the BSO’s music director, Mr. Nelsons’ contract was extended through the 2021-22 season. In 2017 he becomes Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he will also bring the BSO and GWO together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance. Nelsons also continues his collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a regular guest at the Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, and Metropolitan Opera.

Since his appointment in 1997, Eunice and Julian Cohen Managing Director MARK VOLPE has reaffirmed the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s standing as one of the world’s greatest orchestras. He has maintained the orchestra’s financial equilibrium in a challenging economic environment, while overseeing its artistic mission of musical excellence and bringing the BSO to the widest possible audience through live performances, traditional and new media, and a wide variety of social media platforms. One of Volpe’s most prominent roles has been steering the BSO through a historic transition in music leadership, overseeing the end of Seiji Ozawa’s 29-year tenure as Music Director (1973-2002) and the engagement of James Levine as his successor (2004-2011), as well as the appointment of Andris Nelsons. Under Volpe’s leadership, the BSO is now committed to outreach at a far greater scale than at any other time in the organization’s 135-year history, launching its own recording label, BSO Classics; expanding the orchestra’s recording activities on multiple digital recording platforms; establishing multi-faceted education programs involving more than 38,000 young people each year; and presenting free community concerts throughout greater Boston, including the legendary Boston Pops July 4 concert on the Esplanade. Prior to being named Managing Director of the BSO, Volpe served as Executive Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota Orchestra, and General Manager of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Since late 1994, William I. Bernell Artistic Administrator and Director of Tanglewood ANTHONY FOGG has played a central role in the life of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and of Tanglewood. He plans all performances by the orchestra at home and abroad, oversees Tanglewood’s detailed scheduling, and helps nurture an atmosphere of creativity and excellence. Appointed by Seiji Ozawa, he was a key figure in the selection of Andris Nelsons as the BSO’s fifteenth Music Director and, more recently, in the naming of Thomas Adès as the BSO’s first Artistic Partner. Fogg is deeply involved in the BSO’s media activities, having planned and produced several significant recording projects; he also manages the BSO Archives, which has been vastly expanded in scope and size under his leadership. Fogg has added significantly to the BSO’s great legacy of commissions, introducing important new names to BSO programming, as well as arranging for some of the great figures of today’s compositional world to write for the orchestra. He has nurtured the careers of many young artists, served on various international competition juries, and helped guide the careers of numerous young conductors. Born in Australia and trained as a pianist at the Brazilian Academy of Music in São Paulo and at the University of Sydney, he was head of programming for ABC Concerts, the classical music arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He also served as the artistic director and pianist of leading Australian contemporary music ensemble The Seymour Group, and performed as a soloist with the major orchestras in Australia. Recently, the French government named him a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for services to French music and culture.

FEDERICO CORTESE assumed the post of Music Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras in 1999. He has conducted throughout the United States, Australia, China, and Europe, and is also Senior Lecturer on Music and Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra at Harvard University. From 1998–2002, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. In addition to his annual scheduled concerts, Cortese led the Boston Symphony several times in Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, most notably performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. He has conducted several prominent symphony orchestras, including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, BBC Scottish Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and Oslo Philharmonic. Opera engagements have included Maggio Musicale in Florence, Spoleto Festival in Italy and the United States, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Finnish National Opera, Opera Australia, and Washington National Opera. Cortese has been Music Coordinator and Associate Conductor of the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and also served as Assistant Conductor to Robert Spano and to Daniele Gatti. He studied composition and conducting at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome and subsequently studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, and also studied literature and humanities and holds a law degree from La Sapienza University in Rome.

ANNE C. SHREFFLER (event moderator) is the James Edward Ditson Professor of Music, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Affiliate of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Her research interests include the musical avant-garde after 1945 in Europe and America, with special emphasis on the political and ideological associations of new music. Other research interests include historiography, composers in emigration, performance theory, and contemporary opera. Shreffler has published widely on the Austrian composer Anton Webern, including a book, Webern and the Lyric Impulse: Songs and Fragments on Poems by Georg Trakl (Oxford University Press, 1994). Her article on “’Mein Weg geht jetzt vorueber’: The Vocal Origins of Webern's Twelve-Tone Composition,” received the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society. Shreffler often writes often on twentieth-century music, and her current book project is entitled Musical Utopias: Progressive Music and Progressive Politics in the Twentieth Century. Shreffler received a B.Mus. in flute performance in 1979 from New England Conservatory, a Master’s in music theory from the same institution, and a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard; this was immediately followed by an Assistant Professorship at the University of Chicago. From 1994 until 2003 she was a professor at the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut of the University of Basel in Switzerland. She has taught at Harvard since the fall of 2003.