This concert is made possible, in part, by the Mary Jane Harris Fund for Orchestral Planning.
Soon after it was founded by Eugen Jochum in 1949, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) developed into an internationally renowned orchestra, its fame expanded and fortified by chief conductors Rafael Kubelík, Sir Colin Davis, and Lorin Maazel. Since 2003, Mariss Jansons has set new standards as chief conductor.
In addition to the orchestra’s repertoire of Classical and Romantic works, a strong focus is placed on contemporary works, with appearances in conjunction with the Musica Viva series, founded in 1945 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann. At these concerts, Munich audiences have witnessed legendary performances of contemporary works conducted by the composers themselves, who have included Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio, and Peter Eötvös.
The BRSO has collaborated with renowned guest conductors, including Erich Kleiber, Carlos Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Kurt Sanderling, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, and Andris Nelsons.
The BRSO tours regularly to virtually every European country, as well as to China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and North and South America. Since 2004, it has been orchestra-in-residence at the Easter Festival in Lucerne.
An important educational initiative involves the encouragement of up-and-coming young musicians. In conjunction with the ARD International Music Competition, the BRSO accompanies young musicians in the final rounds and in the closing concert that features the prizewinners. Since October 2001, the Academy of the BRSO has helped prepare young musicians for their careers. In addition, the orchestra maintains an encouragement program for young people, with many activities designed to bring the younger generation closer to classical music.
With a high number of CD releases on major labels—and, since September 2009, also on Bavarian Broadcasting’s own label, BR-Klassik—the BRSO has won a number of national and international awards, most recently a Diapason d’Or for a recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 conducted by Daniel Harding, and BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Year Award for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 conducted by Bernard Haitink. For more information, please visit br-so.de.
Mariss Jansons is considered one of the most outstanding conductors of our time. Born in 1943 in Riga, Latvia, he studied at the Leningrad Conservatory, in Vienna under Hans Swarowsky, and in Salzburg under Herbert von Karajan. In 1971, Evgeny Mravinsky made him his assistant with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (known today as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra), an ensemble he regularly conducted until 1999.
Mr. Jansons has served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic (1979–2000), principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1992–1997), music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1997–2004), and chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (2004–2015). He has been chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2003, and has toured with the ensemble throughout Asia and America as well as to major music festivals worldwide. In addition, he regularly conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Mr. Jansons’s numerous CD and DVD recordings with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra document his wide-ranging repertoire and have won many international prizes, including a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for a recording of Shostakovich’s complete symphonies. In 2007, he was honored with an ECHO Klassik award for Conductor of the Year. Under Mr. Jansons’s direction, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2006 for its recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13.
Mr. Jansons is an honorary member of the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna as well as the Royal Academy of Music in London. For his work with the Oslo Philharmonic, he was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. His other awards include the Austrian Cross of Honor for Scholarship and Art, the Three Stars Medal of the Republic of Latvia, and the Bavarian Order of Maximilian. In 2013, he was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit, First Class; made a Knight of the Lion of the Netherlands; and appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest cultural award of the French Republic. On June 4, 2013, he received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, and earlier this year, he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, the highest music award in Denmark. In November 2017, he became the 104th winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Golden Medal.