Nelsons plans triumphal tour

Nelsons plans triumphal tour


norman lebrecht

April 30, 2015

Regardless of the Berlin Philharmonic vote on May 11, Andris Nelsons is bringing his Boston band to Europe this summer for their highest profile tour in many years. Press release follows.


Andris Nelsons


Andris Nelsons will lead his first tour as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducting the famed ensemble in an extensive 12-concert, 8-city European tour, August 22-September 5, to include stops in the major music capitals of Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The BSO’s 2015 European tour will feature the orchestra in performances at London’s Royal Albert Hall (8/22&23), Salzburg’s Grosses Festspielhaus (8/24&25), Grafenegg’sOpen-air StageWolkenturm (8/28), Lucerne’s Kultur und Kongresszentrum(8/30&31), Milan’s Teatro alla Scala (9/1),the new Philharmonie de Paris (9/3), Cologne’s Philharmonie (9/4), and Berlin’s Philharmonie (9/5).

[Yo-Yo Ma (photo by Todd Rosenberg)]Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (Strauss’s Don Quixote) and trumpet virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger (Brett Dean’s trumpet concerto Dramatis personaecomposed especially for Mr. Hardenberger) will join the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons for several tour performances. In addition, the BSO’s tour repertoire will include Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 90. (Complete tour concert scheduleavailable here and at end of this release).


  • Erich says:

    What on earth does ‘regardless’ mean? He’d hardly cancel the tour if even he got the job!

  • herrera says:

    Question for those in the business end of these things: how does touring work, you pay the hall you want to be at? the hall gives you a percentage of the receipts? I’ve read that Disney Hall and the Berlin Philharmonie are particularly expensive to play at? What are the rates? so for instance, Baltimore has just as a good chance to play the Musikverein as Boston, as long as both are willing to pay whatever the going rate is?

    Thanks. Just curious.

    • Petros LInardos says:

      Check keywords “concert promotion” on the web or in bibliography.

      Mr Lebrecht’s books also have lots of insights on the classical music business.

      I’d be surprised if Baltimore SO has as good a chance to play at the Vienna Musikverein as Boston, because the most Musikverein concerts are not rentals by mostly events organized by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.

      • Halldor says:

        In the case of this tour I expect that the venues will have booked the orchestra. Orchestra gets a flat fee, venue takes any profit (or loss) on ticket sales. Quite often an artist agency acts as interrmediary and assembles the tour as a whole. This is a fairly usual model – this way the orchestra isn’t taking a financial risk (it’ll still get paid even if it plays to an empty hall) and the difficult and expensive task of selling tickets is in the hands of local promoterrs who know the audience and are best equipped to reach it.
        I doubt even an orchestra as wealthy as the BSO has the wherewithal to run its own marketing campaign, from scratch, in a string of non-Anglophone cities on the other side of the Atlantic!

  • NYMike says:

    Their recent Mahler 6th @ Carnegie was sensational!

  • Daniel Farber says:

    That Nelsons, after completing only his first season in Boston, would be asked by Berlin and would accept if asked, has become a favorite motif of this blog-keeper. Apart from keeping the pot on a slow boil—something he enjoys doing and does well, I wonder why. It reflects poorly on Nelsons (or at least his potential loyalty) and on the Boston Symphony (or at least its clout in an open market).

    • J. says:

      “Potential loyalty”. Well, Nelsons signed a contract with Boston until 2018-2019, right? Berlin’s new conductor will start his mandate in 2017-2018, right? ONE YEAR with two orchestras. He can have a light first year at Berlin – he is doing this with Boston Symphony this year, because he still is with City of Birmingham. And from the second year on he goes throttle with Berlin. He doesn’t have to renovate with the BSO. His moral obligation – the “loyalty” – is to stay this first five years there. That’s all.

      • Daniel Farber says:

        His first Berlin year would coincide with his FOURTH season as MD in Boston. It’s a little bit like being a mercenary soldier, don’t you think?

        • J. says:

          No: the fifth – and last – year. From The New York Times: “Mr. Nelsons’s Boston contract lasts for another four seasons, until the end of the 2018-19 season.” (

          The first year with Berlin would be exactly 2018-2019, because Rattle ends at the middle of 2018.

          Just one season with two orchestras – Rattle will do that, Berlin and LSO in 2017-2018. No, not “mercenary”. He needs to stay five years, I agree on that. More than that it’s not an obligation.

        • Nick says:

          Are not many fine conductors nowadays “mercenary soldiers”? A great many have more than one orchestra. For several years, Dudamel had the LA Phil and Gothenburg in addition to stints in Venezuela. For several years Dutoit headed three orchestras – the Montreal Symphony, the Orchestre National de France and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony. Pappano has the Royal Opera and Santa Cecilia. Jaap van Zweden has Dallas, Hong Kong and two commitments involving lesser time in the Netherlands.

          Is there any real reason why a conductor like Nelsons could not accept the Berlin Phil in addition to Boston, assuming the Berlin musicians were to invite him, agreed to that arrangement and season openings could be dovetailed satisfactorily?

  • Paul says:

    There is a lovefest going on in Boston among Nelsons, the orchestra, and the audience. The Boston position probably requires a commitment of 20 weeks a year tops, including Boston winter season subscription concerts, Tanglewood (the summer festival, for those who don’t know) and some touring. The Berlin position probably requires a comparable time commitment. The people of Boston wouldn’t like it (they were never happy with Levine shuttling back and forth to the Met, only 200 miles away), but holding both positions is not in the realm of the impossible.

  • JanHus says:

    Hall rental issues aside, this tour is really high-profile because it consists of appearances at the so-called “most prestigious” festivals in Europe – Salzburg, Berlin Musikfest, Lucerne, Proms. Baltimore won’t get invited to any of them. Couldn’t be more high-profile right?

  • CA says:

    Bingo. Only the creme-de-la-creme play in or work in these halls. The rest of us just have to sit on the sidelines and watch the opportunities pass us by (career advancement in orchestra management–not as the CEO but myself, a key production staffer. Just a fantasy for most staffers as it is with musicians that they’ll land a job with the Big Five and have the chance to see these revered concert halls where classical music has so many roots. It’s a painful realization that your career isn’t going to happen that way and the long-sought greatness will not be achieved and that you’ll just have to settle for less.

  • Al Jacobsen says:

    Couple points to add about touring. Halldor summarizes it well. One thing to add is that most venues allow you to rent their hall for performances which anyone can do with enough money. The question is whether an orchestra can get “presented” and thus collect a flat fee from the venue or whichever organization presents concerts at the venue. This is the part that Halldor discusses. If you are curious about rental costs, just go to the venue website and look for “Facility or Hall Rental.” Sometimes, the rates will be published right on the website. Also, in reaction to CA’s remarks, there are more American orchestra’s than just the “Big 5” that tour internationally and go to prestigious halls. LA, San Fran, Pittsburgh, National, Orpheus and in more recent years, St. Louis & Dallas have all toured in Europe. Houston has also toured. Minnesota was touring; we’ll see if they return in the coming years. Have they ALL performed at the Musikverein or Concertgebouw? I can’t confirm all, but most have I believe.

  • Richard says:

    “Their recent Mahler 6th @ Carnegie was sensational!”

    The Mahler 6 I heard in Boston was pedestrian.