Andris Nelsons’ first season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced…
… and it looks pretty good. Nelsons himself will be in town for ten weeks, which is apparently a problem for some, although I cannot work out why. Certainly this kind of stability will be a welcome change from years of three-week rotations of guest conductors, enabling all kinds of improvements to the orchestra, as well as a sense of direction.
Nelsons gets going with a gala event that also features his wife, Kristīne Opolais, and Jonas Kaufmann. But more importantly, he has littered his first season with tributes to local composers, whether local to Boston or local to him in Latvia. Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, and Michael Gandolfi all receive prime billing, while there are premieres for Brett Dean and Ēriks Ešenvalds, plus Sofia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium. (Further contemporary music comes from Vladimir Jurowski and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who present Harrison Birtwistle’s new piano concerto, Responses, an unmissable event.) Nelsons will also play to his strengths, of course: Bartók, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Brahms, Haydn, Strauss, Mozart, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Mahler, and Beethoven all feature. Particular highlights ought to be the Rite and Mahler 6, the latter to be performed at Carnegie Hall, and a European tour that will do the usual festival stops.
There is plenty else to whet the appetite in the most exciting season the BSO has put together in years. Bernard Haitink rounds off the season with two programmes, one featuring Maria Joăo Pires in Mozart, the other quite oddly pairing Ravel (Ma Mère l’Oye and the piano concerto) with Mozart and Thomas Adès. Charles Dutoit leads an enticing performance of Szymanowski’s Król Roger, while Stéphane Denève returns with Milhaud, Stravinsky, and Poulenc. Alas, after having to cancel this year’s sole concert with the orchestra, Daniele Gatti does not return.
For far more, see the BSO’s website.