Andris Nelsons, widely considered as one of today's most charismatic and compelling conductors, has asked the Bayreuth Festival's management for rescission of his contract for the summer 2016 production of Wagner's Parsifal. Due to a differing approach in various matters, the atmosphere at this year's Bayreuth Festival did not develop in a mutually comfortable way for all parties. With regret, the Bayreuth Festival has agreed to Nelsons' request. Performances of Parsifal are due to begin on 25 July 2016.
Nelsons recently signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, however, which represents a major milestone in the Latvian artist's recording career and prepares the way for three landmark projects.
Following their Grammy Award earlier this year, Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have extended their recording partnership with DG, which will now encompass Shostakovich's complete symphonies and his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.
Advanced discussions are underway between Deutsche Grammophon, Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig about a collaboration that will shed new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, redefining Bruckner's very distinctive sound world.
In addition, Nelsons will record Beethoven's complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker over the next four years. The enterprise will culminate in 2020 with performances of the complete cycle in Vienna, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.
'I am absolutely delighted to be substantially partnering with Deutsche Grammophon', comments Nelsons. 'Deutsche Grammophon's commitment to our Shostakovich cycle in Boston and the tradition, expertise, and excellence they bring to each recording has been so important to me. I look forward to partnering with Deutsche Grammophon, welcoming them into my musical family with the two extraordinary musical institutions of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Furthermore, I am so honoured to be invited to perform and record a Beethoven cycle with the Wiener Philharmoniker. These revelatory works by the genius composers of Shostakovich, Bruckner and Beethoven will be the focus for my upcoming recordings with three of the world's greatest orchestras. I could not be happier - it is both a dream and an honour.'
'We are immensely honoured to be forging an exclusive relationship with Andris Nelsons, working in partnership with his two wonderful orchestras in Boston and Leipzig and invigorating our rich history of collaboration with the Wiener Philharmoniker', notes Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. 'The recordings we make together will document a truly outstanding maestro in a series of defining Classical, Romantic and twentieth century works. Given their respective musical backgrounds and traditions, Andris and these three exceptional ensembles will bring a unique quality to each of our projects, breathing new life into some of the classics of the repertoire. I have no doubt that their renderings will earn themselves a prominent place among the finest interpretations on record.'
Nelsons' new DG recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, released on 27 May 2016, is a double-disc set of Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos 5, 8 and 9 together with the incidental music to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Andris Nelsons was born in 1978 into a family of musicians in Riga. His formative musical education took place in the final years of the Soviet Union and gained from its exacting standards. Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He served as Music Director of the Latvian National Opera (2003-07), was Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford (2006-09), and secured international acclaim during his time as Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2008-15).
Nelsons began his tenure as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Music Director in September 2014. Their partnership's power was captured by the initial release in DG's Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow series, a live recording of Shostakovich's monumental Symphony No 10, which won the Grammy Award for 'Best Orchestral Performance' in February 2016. The series' second instalment - Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos 5, 8 and 9 and incidental music to Shakespeare's Hamlet - has now been released worldwide.
In February 2018, Andris Nelsons will become the new Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Nelsons made his debut in December 2011 with the Gewandhausorchester and has given regular guest performances in Leipzig since this time.
Nelsons first conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker in October 2010, and subsequently led the orchestra on tours to Europe, Japan and the US. Nelsons and the Wiener Philharmoniker began their exploration of Beethoven's symphonies with Symphony No 3, Eroica, in January 2016. He will return to the orchestra on 18, 19, 21 and 23 March 2017 with Beethoven's Symphony No 6, Pastoral, on the programme.
Deutsche Grammophon and the Wiener Philharmoniker are strengthening their long association with a major new recording project conducted by Andris Nelsons. They are recording Beethoven's nine symphonies in the calendar years 2016-2019, culminating with performances of the complete cycle in 2020, the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.
Andreas Großbauer, Chairman of the Wiener Philharmoniker, welcomes his orchestra's latest Beethoven exploration: 'We are very happy to have Deutsche Grammophon as our partner, with their experience and expertise in recording, and look forward with great enthusiasm to our next collaboration in recording Beethoven's nine symphonies with Andris Nelsons. This is a multi-year project which we aim to have completed by 2020, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and which reflects the depth of our commitment to our artistic partnership with Maestro Nelsons.'
'The dynamic and deep-seated cooperation between our label and the orchestra is already almost half a century old', comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. 'In fact, there are even a few recordings dating back as far as 1924. This remarkable shared history is now being reinvigorated by a Beethoven project which will be followed by other significant recordings in the upcoming months and years. Andris Nelsons is one of the most remarkable musicians of our time, an artist whose intellect and instincts combine to create interpretations that have won admirers worldwide. It is a tremendous honour for the yellow label to be part of his journey through Beethoven's symphonies in company with the Wiener Philharmoniker.'
'It is a great privilege for me to record Beethoven's symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon with an orchestra that has been so closely associated with these works since its foundation over 170 years ago', Andris Nelsons comments. 'While the Wiener Philharmoniker's musicians have Beethoven in their very heart and soul, they combine a profound sense of tradition with a wonderful spirit of artistic openness and adventure. They perform his symphonies with a freshness and energy that brings each work to life in the present moment.'
Posted: 3 July 2016
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