BSO Extends Conductor Andris Nelsons' Contract

Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (Courtesy of Marco Borggreve)
Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (Courtesy of Marco Borggreve)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is extending Andris Nelsons’ contract as music director, from five years to eight.

The announcement, made Monday by the BSO, comes a year after the young maestro took the job leading one of the world’s most prestigious and well-heeled performing arts organizations.

Speaking last week from Tanglewood, the orchestra's summer home in Lenox, BSO managing director Mark Volpe was clearly excited about extending Nelsons' contract through the 2021-22 season.

“This first year has been so enriching for all the constituencies Andris has touched, starting with our audience, but also the players, the guest artists and the donor community,” he said.

Volpe explained that Nelsons and the management team restructured their existing contract to be longer, but it also includes an “evergreen” clause that leaves the door open for the BSO and the maestro to potentially make even more music together in the future.

“The chemistry seems right,” Volpe said, “so we just wanted to further consummate the relationship and commit eight years to Andris. And Andris wants to commit eight years to us…and hopefully years beyond that.”

These newly extended vows should disperse any rumors or speculation that Nelsons is open to being wooed by other orchestras, Volpe added.

The new contract is also intended to ensure the completion of longer term projects, including an ongoing recording collaboration of symphonies by Shostakovich with the label Deutsche Grammophone. The first installment, "Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow," was released on July 31.

The BSO begins a performance tour of Europe later this month, and Volpe says there’s a growing list of creative endeavors on the horizon for the orchestra and Nelsons.

“Institutions tend to advance not in a linear fashion — it’s not always a straight line,” he said, “they grow, they plateau, they occasionally decline, and I think we’re poised for what I hope will be a thrilling period.”


Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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