Breaking: Andris Nelsons is leaving Birmingham

Breaking: Andris Nelsons is leaving Birmingham


norman lebrecht

October 02, 2013

The Latvian conductor has announced his is leaving the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 2015. This is no surprise. He has too much going on elsewhere – Boston Symphony, Bayreuth and Lucerne Festival – and he has suffered several health issues from overwork and avoidable accidents. This summer, his much-hyped Tangelwood debut was called off after he was concussed at Bayreuth.

Nelsons, 35 next month, will be missed. Over the past six years, he has maintained the CBSO as a high-performance team, challenging the top orchestras at the biggest festivals.

Andris Nelsons

Here’s his statement: “With an extremely heavy heart I have reached the decision not to continue in my role as music director with my beloved CBSO after the 2014-2015 season. I have enjoyed five great seasons with this incredible orchestra and, while I look forward to another two in my current role, this difficult decision comes in view of my new position with the Boston Symphony Orchestra alongside my wish to protect precious time with my young family.”

UPDATE: And here’s what subscribers are being told:

Dear John


I thought you would wish to be among the first to receive the statement below containing news of Andris Nelsons’ decision to conclude his tenure as CBSO Music Director in summer 2015.


Our ability to put on so many wonderful concert performances during Andris’ time as music director has resulted in large part from the regular support of our most loyal concert-goers.  He has asked me to pass on his sincere thanks.


News of Andris’ decision will be announced publicly at 6pm today. 


We look forward to over 90 concerts with Andris in his final two years as Music Director, and indeed to regular collaboration thereafter.  A global search for his successor is already underway, and I am certain that with your continued support we will make a world-class appointment worthy of the tradition which he, Sir Simon Rattle and Sakari Oramo have built up over so many years.


Thank you once more for your support, and we look forward to welcoming you this Autumn for more fantastic music-making.


With best wishes




Stephen Maddock

Chief Executive, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


  • Una says:

    Six years is probably enough for a 35 year old conductor with such a good orchestra, and to move on and get experience elsewhere. He’s done a great job there, and still has nearly two seasons to go, so he’s not gone yet 🙂 But like all of us and Simon, there’s always someone else to follow us!

  • Steve Laven says:

    Vanska’s available…

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    The fee bigger in Boston by any chance Andris?

  • Stephen H. Owades says:

    The Verdi Requiem that Andris Nelsons was to have conducted this past July would not have been his Tanglewood debut; he appeared there with both the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestras in the summer of 2012.

    As for Maestro Nelsons giving up his post in Birmingham, the Boston Symphony search committee was determined that their next Music Director commit to making Boston the primary focus of his (or her) musical activities, especially after the experience with stretched-too-thin James Levine. Andris Nelsons is moving to Boston with his family.

  • David says:

    When does Rattle leave Berlin?