The Boston Symphony Orchestra's new season — featuring prominent pianists, world premieres and new commissions — opens Saturday night.
It's the third season for BSO music director Andris Nelsons. During a conversation this week, the 37-year-old said it’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed.
The new season starts with acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at Symphony Hall.
Lang Lang is widely considered to be the world’s most famous Chinese piano player. He was only 21 years old when he debuted with the BSO at Tanglewood in 2003. The young musician went on to perform at the 2014 World Cup and played with Metallica and Pharrell Williams at the Grammy Awards.
Looking past this weekend, Nelsons pointed to the steady stream of guest conductors — both veteran and emerging — that will perform with the BSO through the fall and winter. The list includes performances by 10 prominent pianists (Lang Lang and Emanuel Ax included), a number of world premieres and new commissions, and the BSO’s first full concert presentation of composer Richard Strauss’ opera "Der Rosenkavalier."
“I think it’s one of the greatest operas by Strauss, and actually one of the greatest operas of all times,” Nelsons said. “We’re just rehearsing it now and I always come back to what a great musician Strauss was with his instrumentation and sense of color. He illustrates what the heart feels.”
Nelsons says the BSO's goals this season include connecting with wider audiences.
He encouraged locals to take advantage of discount programs, including $20 tickets for people under 40, and $9 rush tickets for most concerts.
There’s also a program of free community chamber concerts that will be touring cities and towns throughout the state beginning in October.
“I think music can change your life,” Nelsons said. “It's food for our souls.”