Boston Symphony Orchestra

A Unique Generation of Conductors

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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2014 marked the passing of six conductors whose response to a transforming world both embraced and challenged tradition for over six decades.

Each year brings the loss of beloved artists and musicians, men and women whose creative impulse enlivened concert halls and opera houses around the world. 2014 has been no different. But among those who passed away during the last 12 months are six conductors who, each in his own way, represented a particular response to a tumultuous world and the art of conducting.

The middle of the 20th century was a time of unprecedented technological progress, cultural upheaval, and political brinksmanship. In the the midst of it, the aesthetic values and imperatives of the past were at risk. But there was also opportunity for new perspectives to challenge stale assumptions.


Rafael Fruhbeck de BurgosRafael Frühbeck de Burgos (Sept. 15, 1933 - June 11, 2014) fully embraced the values of past masters, with an interpretive voice that highlighted, as Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe put it in his obituary, the "monumentality" of classical music. Even in his later years, often conducting from a chair, his gestures and pacing carried a certain dignity and civility, as you'll see in this video: 



Julius RudelJulius Rudel (March 6, 1921 - June 26, 2014) spent his formative years in Vienna before fleeing with his family as the Nazi's grip on power tightened. Steeped in the performances of the Vienna State Opera, he went on to become the heart and soul of the New York City Opera. His technique was one of compact efficiency, but one that elicited passion and power, qualities you'll see in this 1988 performance in Hungary:



Lorin MaazelAmerican conductor Lorin Maazel (March 6, 1930 - July 13, 2014) was, by all accounts, one of the most brilliant arists to ever stand in front of an orchestra. His interpretations could be confounding at times, but his commitment to the art was never in doubt. This performance of the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is rendered with confidence and security:


Frans BruggenFrans Brüggen (Oct. 30, 1934 - Aug. 13, 2014) came of age in a Europe of reconstruction and an era of challenge to authority. For him, the grandiosity of classical music smacked of inauthentic posturing, and he actively protested the conservative programming of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in his native Amsterdam. That rebellious energy was channeled into the burgeoning early music movement, which led to the founding of the Orchestra of the 18th Century and visceral yet elegant performances like this:


Christopher HogwoodChristopher Hogwood (Sept. 10, 1941 - Sept. 24, 2014) was also an early music pioneer. His challenge to received wisdom and interpretation took on a scholarly, direct approach. When accused of producing music devoid of emotion, his response was that the musical discourse of earlier centuries had a wholly different relationship to emotion. His conducting was full of energy and impulse, as you'll see here:


Claudio AbbadoClaudio Abbado (June 26, 1933 - Jan. 20, 2014) has been remembered by those who worked with him as having brought an uncommonly honest, emotionally direct, and humane approach to making music. As the successor to Herbert von Karajan at the Berlin Philharmonic, Abbado maintained the superb level of that ensemble while infusing concerts with a reverence for the composer, whatever the music. He was also an orchestra builder, founding groups like the European Community Youth Orchestra (out of which grew the Chamber Orchestra of Europe) and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (which led to the formation of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra). In 2003 he founded the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which he conducts in this performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 9:


Photo credits: Lorin Maazel by Chris Lee; Frans Brüggen by Eric Koch / Anefo - Nationaal Archief. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; Claudio Abbado by Peter Fischli, courtesy of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra

















Nelsons Conducts Rosenkavalier in Concert

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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Hadelich Plays Mozart

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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Tanglewood 2015

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
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The Tanglewood Music Center celebrates its 75th anniversary, and Music Director Andris Nelsons conducts six concerts at the Boston Symphony's summer home.

To hear a conversation about the 2015 season with Tanglewood Music Center Director Ellen Highstein, click on "Listen" above.


lion gate at tanglewood

Highlights of the season:

Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons
(credit Marco Borggreve)

Andris Nelsons
The Music Director of the BSO will conduct five full concerts, as well as part of Tanglewood on Parade (Aug. 4):

  • Sat., Aug. 1 - Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Renaud Capuçon, and cellist Gautier Capuçon are the soloists in Beethoven's Triple Concerto.
  • Sun., Aug. 2 - Trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger is the soloist in Brett Dean's Dramatis personae, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violist Steven Ansell are soloists in Strauss's Don Quixote.
  • Sat., Aug. 8 - The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus perform Mahler's Symphony No. 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand."
  • Fri., Aug. 14 - Violinist Christian Tetzlaff is the soloist in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and Nelsons conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 6.
  • Sat., Aug. 15 - Soprano Kristine Opolais sings Italian opera arias, and Nelsons conducts Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.
Seiji Ozawa Hall
Seiji Ozawa Hall

Tanglewood Music Center 75th Anniversary
Each summer the Tanglewood Music Center draws on the expertise and excellence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to be one of the world's premiere music academies. Highlights of its 75th anniversary season include

  • over 30 commissions from composers around the world with close ties to Tanglewood,
  • eight Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra concerts, including a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand," led by BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons,
  • the Festival of Contemporary Music, including a July 27 concert featuring music by Copland, Bernstein, Foss, and Ives, with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and
  • free weekly Tanglewood Music Center on-demand streams, featuring some of the memorable and significant TMC performances of orchestra, chamber, and new music.
Keith Lockhart
Keith Lockhart
Boston Pops
  • Sun., July 5 - Keith Lockhart leads the Pops in a concert that rounds out the first weekend of the summer.
  • Fri., Aug. 21 - Cirque de la Symphonie brings breathtaking acrobatics and magic to the Koussevitzky Music Shed.
  • Sat., Aug. 22 - Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams and David Newman conduct Film Night an annual highlight of the summer.
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Visiting Artists
  • Thu., June 25, and Fri. June 26 - Mark Morris Dance Company
  • Thu., July 2 - Apollo's Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra
  • Wed., July 22 - Emerson String Quartet
  • Thu., July 30 - The Knights, performing Falla's Master Peter's Puppet Show
  • Wed., Aug. 5 - Baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Markus Hinterhäuser, performing Schubert's Winterreise
  • Thu., Aug. 13 - Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and friends, in A Distant Mirror, a program based on the cultural transformations of the 16th and 17th centuries
  For more details, visit the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


(photo of the Lion Gate at Tanglewood by Stu Rosner, courtesy of the BSO)









Hardenberger Plays an American Premiere

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
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Baiba Skride at the BSO

Thursday, November 6, 2014
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