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It Looks Like Nelsons Belongs Only To Boston

This article is more than 9 years old.
Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 5" on Jan. 31, 2013 at Symphony Hall in Boston. (Stu Rosner via BSO)
Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 5" on Jan. 31, 2013 at Symphony Hall in Boston. (Stu Rosner via BSO)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's new maestro, Andris Nelsons, will not renew his contract with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), it was announced Wednesday afternoon.

Nelsons will work with the orchestra until the end of summer 2015.

In a statement, Nelsons said:

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.

Nelsons has been leading the CBSO since 2008, and the story behind how he got the esteemed job is rather surprising.

At the time he was relatively unknown, but was offered the music director position after performing privately for the orchestra’s musicians, trustees and management. Clearly they were impressed.

CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock had this to say in a release:

Andris’ decision to step down as music director has not been an easy one. He is one of the world’s best conductors, and has recently accepted a second music director role at one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Boston Symphony; while his desire was to do everything that he could, he has to consider his family and his future. Whilst we will miss his energy and charisma in his leadership role here, we look forward to continuing to work with him regularly after 2015.

Andris is one in a line of conducting superstars that have taken the role of music director in the last 35 years. Sir Simon Rattle, appointed at just 25 years old, held the post for 18 years before moving to the Berlin Philharmonic. He then passed the baton to the superbly talented Sakari Oramo who is now with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As Andris heads to the Boston Symphony Orchestra it’s clear to everyone that we have very good taste in music directors and, whilst our search for our next Music Director is only just beginning, you can trust the CBSO to bring another outstanding talent to the podium in Birmingham.

Mark Volpe, Managing Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, added:

"I know that this has been a very difficult process for Andris as he has built very strong artistic and emotional attachments to the city of Birmingham and its wonderful orchestra," said

"Over the last couple of months, we've really started seriously planning for Andris's first few seasons as BSO music director, and in that process--with all the artistic possibilities gradually becoming clearer and clearer--the question of how to balance everything came to the surface. With his desire to make Boston his home base with his wife Kristine Opolais and their daughter Adriana, along with his guest conducting schedule with the major orchestras and opera houses in Europe and beyond, I think Andris came to realize he had to make a significant change in order to accomplish his goals in his new position as BSO music director. Though Andris's decision to step down as CBSO music director is a difficult one for the orchestra, I am truly confident they will discover a gifted leader of the highest caliber and continue their impressive track record of appointing conductors on the level of Sir Simon Rattle and Andris Nelsons to lead them into a promising future."


Nelsons and Grimaud team up for fiery Brahms

This program aired on October 2, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.



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