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Boston Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
With its brilliant Music Director and Conductor Andris Nelsons on the podium, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is enjoying a new golden age. The orchestra displays its versatility and virtuosity in a jazz-inspired work by the late Gunther Schuller, a richly scored Mozart piano concerto, and one of Beethoven’s most stirring symphonies. His mighty “Eroica” thrills with its grand scale and muscular power—a magnificent depiction of the heroic that boldly heralds the Romantic era.


Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, Music Director and Conductor
Emanuel Ax, Piano


SCHULLER Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3, "Eroica"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

Sponsored by Breguet, Exclusive Timepiece of Carnegie Hall

At a Glance

The great American composer Gunther Schuller wrote Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra) and conductor Antal Doráti, who premiered it in 1959. As a horn player, Schuller was one of few musicians working in both the classical and jazz worlds at a high level, and his concept of a “third stream” marriage of new classical music and avant-garde jazz was beginning to bear fruit. Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee—one of numerous scores throughout his career to take inspiration from visual art—combines many of Schuller’s stylistic interests, from jazz and blues to 12-tone music, in a diverse and engaging suite of character pieces.

Mozart wrote 13 piano concertos b
etween the end of 1783 and the early summer of 1788, the period of his most delirious public success; the E-flat–Major Piano Concerto, K. 482, dates from December 1785, while he was working on Le nozze di Figaro. Simultaneously majestic and gentle, it is one of Mozart’s trumpets-and-drums concertos, and noteworthy also for the presence of clarinets (still a novel instrument at that time) and for which Mozart had a special feeling. The Andante, the concerto’s true center, was encored when Mozart played the premiere, and the 6/8 “hunting finale” brings a surprise when the movement is interrupted by a slower interlude in 3/4 time that harks back to the textures of the middle movement.

Though Beethoven wrote his Symphony No. 3 in 1803, the title “Eroica” seems not to have been used until the parts were first published in October 1806, with the heading (in Italian) “Heroic Symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.” But more important than the extramusical circumstances surrounding Beethoven’s originally planned dedication to Napoleon is the power of the music itself. In its size, shape, and overall scope—not to mention the density and complexity of its musical ideas—the “Eroica” was light years beyond any symphony written before it. Having opened the door to a new world of musical expression, it retains its power to thrill and startle even today.


Andris Nelsons

In 2016-2017, his third season as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in 14 wide-ranging subscription ...

In 2016-2017, his third season as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, Andris Nelsons leads the BSO in 14 wide-ranging subscription programs at Symphony Hall, repeating three of them at Carnegie Hall, followed by two concerts in Montreal and Toronto. In the summer of 2015, following his first season as music director, his contract with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was extended through the 2021-2022 season. In 2017-2018, he becomes Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, in which capacity he will also bring both orchestras together for a unique multidimensional alliance. He and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have made two European tours, following the 2015 Tanglewood season and in May 2016.

The 15th music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011 and his Tanglewood debut in July 2012. 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 an ongoing, multi-year collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon, he and the BSO will release live recordings of Shostakovich's complete symphonies, the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and other works by the composer. The first two releases in this series (featuring symphonies nos. 5, 8, 9, and 10) won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2016 and 2017.

In the next few seasons, Mr. Nelsons continues his collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra. A regular guest at the Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, and Metropolitan Opera, he was critically acclaimed as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015.

Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was 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. Mr. Nelsons is the subject of a 2013 DVD from Orfeo, a documentary film entitled Andris Nelsons: Genius on Fire

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Emanuel Ax

Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family as a young boy. He studied at The Juilliard School and Columbia University, and captured ...

Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family as a young boy. He studied at The Juilliard School and Columbia University, and captured public attention in 1974 as winner of the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975, he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. An exponent of contemporary composers-with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner-he features two newly commissioned works this season. He performs the world premiere of HK Gruber's Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, followed by the European premiere with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle. His recital program for the season includes works by Schubert and Chopin partnered with Samuel Adams's Impromptus, commissioned by Music Accord and inspired by Schubert. His ongoing relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra includes concerts in Montreal and Toronto; with The Cleveland Orchestra, he was the featured artist for the season-opening gala; and he returns to the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Detroit. An exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987, he received Grammys for the second and third volumes of his Haydn piano sonata cycle. Other releases include Grammy-winning recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano with Yo-Yo Ma; Mendelssohn trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman; discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman; three solo Brahms albums; tangos by Astor Piazzolla; and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls. In the 2004-2005 season, Mr. Ax contributed to an International Emmy-winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he holds honorary doctorates from Yale and Columbia universities

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