Andris Nelsons launches Leipzig-Boston joint venture

Andris Nelsons launches Leipzig-Boston joint venture


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2017

News release just in:

Andris Nelsons, Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Gewandhauskapellmeister Designate, will lead a unique multidimensional collaboration between his two orchestras over a five-year period beginning with the 2017-18 concert season.  An unprecedented partnership in the world of orchestral music, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Alliance will explore the many historic connections between these two world-famous orchestras, inspire new cultural exchanges, and create a wide spectrum of performance and educational programs designed to bring a new dimension of concert experience to each of the orchestra’s respective audiences.

Andris says: ‘The creation of an alliance is a natural step, since these two respected ensembles have, in the course of their history, already been closely associated with one another. I am so eager to invest my energies into the individual and joint musical direction of my two orchestral families in order  to bring new artistic enrichment and perspective to both orchestras and audiences. By bringing the tremendous strengths and gifts of these two remarkable orchestras together we have developed a new and dynamic approach to programming that we hope will inspire our audiences to discover more about this fascinating relationship.

‘From commissioning new works to be performed in Boston and Leipzig, to creating musician exchanges at the professional and student levels, and presenting a wide spectrum of programs about the wonderful legacies of these two great orchestras and how they so beautifully relate to each other, this unique partnership has a great potential to bring a new and powerful perspective to our fantastic world of classical music. We truly hope that our audiences at home and around the world will be inspired by our growing BSO/GHO Alliance, to get to know their extraordinary musical gifts, both individually and  collectively.’


  • herrera says:

    Sounds more like a shotgun wedding.

    Is there really a demand for such a collaboration, or is this just because Nelsons happens to be the music director of both?

    Leipzig seems to be the bride of choice for American orchestras: when Masur was MD of the NY Phil, he sort of did some joint concerts with both… I don’t remember New Yorkers swooning over the idea…

  • Tom Gillett says:

    Boston’s Symphony Hall is said to be a near-clone of the original Leipzig Gewandhaus, lost in WW2.

  • Max Grimm says:

    Apart from Boston’s Symphony Hall having been modeled on the second Gewandhaus and having had Arthur Nikisch as MD, how do the GWO and BSO ‘so beautifully relate to each other’/ how have they ‘been closely associated with one another’ and what are ‘the many historic connections’?
    (no snarkiness but curiosity)

  • MacroV says:

    I, too, fail to see any connection here other than that Nelsons will lead both orchestras. That said, no reason they can’t find ways to work together.

  • Daniel F. says:

    Why the negativity? Who gets hurt by any of these proposals/plans? I kind of like the idea of musician-e+changes. Getting in ruts is common for orchestral musicians. Am not a Nelsons fan and believe the BSO made an unwise decision in rejecting Vladimir Jurowski’s candidacy, but let’s hear about this collaboration from folks who may be more amenable to it, or who know more about it, than the first few commentators.

    • Peter says:

      No negativity, except that the hyperbolic language in (bad) marketing style is tiresome to those who understand what this is all about. Collaboration is good, but spare us the hyperbole.
      I agree with the Nelsons vs Jurowski statement, but IIRC neither of both ever intended to set up residency in Boston.
      I find that a disease of our jet set times, it damages artistic quality by minimizing the time the chief actually spends with the orchestra, not only on the podium, but also backstage and beyond the concert hall.
      Maybe a good idea for Norman Lebrecht to compile a list of chief conductors, how many weeks/projects a season they are actually with “their” orchestras, and if they actually have set up residence where their orchestras live.

  • Eusebius says:

    Well, for example, Karl Muck studied in Leipzig and conducted the orchestra, and then became music director of the Boston Symphony.

    • Stephen Owades says:

      Another connection: Charles Munch, the Boston Symphony’s Music Director from 1949 to 1962, had been concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra from 1926 to 1933.

  • PHF655 says:

    There was a Harvard (well, not quite Boston, but in Cambridge Massachusetts, across a little River, and about two miles from Symphony Hall) and Leipzig connection that went beyond music in the nineteenth century. One of the comments above neglects to mention that Kurt Masur was music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus before he had the same postion with the New York Philharmonic, and held both positions for part of his New York tenure.

  • Richard says:

    The GWO will come here to Boston and play Beethoven and Mozart. The BSO will go there and play Beethoven and Mozart. It’s gonna be amazing…

  • herrera says:

    The silliest part is the “exchange” program. What does that say about both orchestras, and Nelsons’ concept of music making, if he thinks his musicians are just interchangeable.

    Can you just transplant the principal clarinets into the other orchestra’s woodwind section? hey, let’s switch the second violin sections for a month.

    How about a conductor exchange program: let’s rotate Nelsons, Muti, Nézet-Séguin, Welser-Möst, Dudamel around every week among their orchestras.

    • Max Grimm says:

      “How about a conductor exchange program: let’s rotate Nelsons, Muti, Nézet-Séguin, Welser-Möst, Dudamel around every week among their orchestras.”

      In a way that can already be considered the norm.