The Gewandhausorchester and Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons will give five concerts in the city: two on their own and three sharing the stage with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Gewandhausorchester's two concerts in Boston commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution. The joint concerts, in which the Gewandhausorchester come together with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, united on the stage of Symphony Hall, form a part of the Federal Republic of Germany's Year of German- American Friendship in the USA. The first of the three joint concerts, on 31st October 2019, marks the Year's official culmination, under the patronage and in the presence of German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung: "It is a great honour for our city: our Gewandhausorchester brings the 'Germany Year' in the USA to a worthy conclusion. Our partnership with the Boston Symphony Orchestra has already borne fruit, and not only in musical terms: Leipzig is taking centre-stage when our nation presents itself in the USA. I am convinced this cooperation will continue to inspire and stimulate our cultural, economic and touristic relations."
Germany Year - "wunderbar together"
The "Germany Year" in the USA is taking place under the motto "wunderbar together", from October 2018 until October 2019. It has been initiated under the patronage of the German Foreign Office, realised by the Goethe Institute, and supported by the Federation of German Industries.
US Consul General, Timothy Eydelnant, on the Leipzig Week in Boston: "As Consul General of the USA to Central Germany, I couldn't be happier that the bond between Leipzig and the United States is burgeoning. The Consulate General has accompanied and supported the alliance between Leipzig's Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra from the outset. It is a wonderful symbol that 30 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall the appearances of Leipzig's orchestra will be one of the major highlights of the 'Germany Year' in the USA. I am also delighted that a delegation from Leipzig will travel to Boston for the Leipzig Week in order to cultivate contacts and connections in the city. It is these relationships, from city to city, from person to person, which form the foundation of our transatlantic partnership."
As part of the Leipzig Week in Boston, on 29 and 30 October, music lovers are invited to two symposia on the subject of the respective musical heritages of the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, taking place in Boston Public Library. "The cooperation between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra feeds on the manifold historical links between these two elite orchestras", explains Leipzig's Deputy Mayor for Cultural Affairs, Dr. Skadi Jennicke. "Projects such as the musician exchange programme, the joint commissions of new music, as well as the focus weeks in Boston and Leipzig featuring the interpretation of the core repertoire of the respective partner orchestra, build a musical bridge across the ocean und demonstrate that the collaboration between the two orchestras under the direction of Andris Nelsons is bearing fruit. The closing concert of 'Germany Year' in the USA, in which both orchestras will perform as one, reinforces the enormous significance of this alliance in the music world."
21st Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons is the 21st Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester and Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. On his inauguration as Gewandhauskapellmeister in February 2018, Andris Nelsons undertook the direction of an intensive and, in the music world, quite unprecedented alliance between the two orchestras. Central elements of this alliance are the annual Boston Week in Leipzig and corresponding Leipzig Week in Boston, the awarding of joint commissions for new works, an exchange programme for the orchestras' musicians and a similar scheme for the exchange of members of the respective academies (the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy and the Tanglewood Music Center), as well as reciprocal tours to Leipzig and to Boston.
"For me it is a delight that my colleagues in the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have, with me, entered into this unique musical collaboration. The partnership we're developing between the two orchestras allows both the respective individual musical heritages and the common history to become tangible, creating new artistic synergies. From the premiere performances of new compositions on both sides of the Atlantic to the exchange of musicians, we shall be presenting a broad spectrum of projects. By exploiting the strengths and exceptional heritages of these orchestras we are bringing together, we have been able to develop a new and dynamic approach to our respective programming, with which we will hopefully be able to enthuse our audiences!", says Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons.
The Gewandhausorchester's Autumn Tour begins on 19th October with five concerts in Europe (Vienna, Lugano and Stuttgart), followed by the Leipzig Week in Boston, comprising two Gewandhausorchester concerts and three concerts featuring the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing as one.
Concerts during the Leipzig Week in Boston, 27 October - 2 November 2019
27 October, Boston Symphony Hall
Gewandhausorchester (GHO), Andris Nelsons, Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Gautier Capuçon (violoncello)
- Johannes Brahms - Double Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, op. 102
- Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 8 in C major, D 944 (The Great)
29 October, Boston Symphony Hall
Gewandhausorchester (GHO), Andris Nelsons, Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Gautier Capuçon (violoncello)
- Gustav Mahler - Blumine - 2nd movement of the original version of the Symphony No. 1 in D major
- Robert Schumann - Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, op. 129
- Richard Wagner - Overture to the opera Der fliegende Holländer, WWV 63
- Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy - Symphony No. 3 in A minor, op. 56, MWV N 18 (The Scottish)
31 October, 1 November, 2 November, Boston Symphony Hall
Gewandhausorchester and Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), Andris Nelsons, Olivier Latry (organ),
John Ferrillo (oboe, BSO), Richard Svoboda (bassoon, BSO), Frank-Michael Erben (violin, GHO), Christian Giger (violoncello, GHO)
- Richard Strauss - Festliches Präludium for large orchestra and organ, op. 61
- Joseph Haydn - Sinfonia concertante for oboe, bassoon, violin, violoncello and orchestra in B flat major, Hob. I:105
- Arnold Schönberg - Verklärte Nacht, op. 4 (version for string orchestra)
- Alexander Skrjabin - Le poème de l'extase for large orchestra, op. 54
Additional events in the Leipzig Week in Boston
29 October, Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall
Symposium led by Prof. Christoph Wolff and Dr. Daniel Beller-McKenna on the subject of the GHO's rich performing tradition in the 19th century, with musical interludes performed by members of the BSO
30 October, Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall
Symposium led by Prof. Christoph Wolff and featuring musicians of both the GHO and the BSO examining the idiosyncrasies of and differences between the two orchestras' cultures of music-making
Tour by the Gewandhaus Wind Quintet to the USA, 4 - 11 November
As part of the Year of German-American Friendship in the USA, as well as to celebrate the long-standing city partnership between Leipzig and Houston and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution, the Gewandhaus Wind Quintet will remain in the USA following the Leipzig Week in Boston for four concerts: 4 November in Houston, 6 November in Kansas, 8 November in St. Paul and 10 November in Washington DC. The programme will feature works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Antonín Dvořák.
Leading principal wind players of the GHO, formed by the oboist Alfred Gleißberg and endorsed by Gewandhauskapellmeister Arthur Nikisch, made their first public appearance as a quintet in 1896. The Gewandhaus Wind Quintet can, therefore, look back on an over 120-year-old heritage, and, with pride, claim to be one of the oldest existing chamber music formations of this sort in the world. Critics hail the incisive articulation and the virtuosity of the five musicians, their musical sensitivity, the homogeneity of the ensemble's sound and the highly cultured joy of playing. The Quintet's concerts take place under the patronage of the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Foreign Office and the German embassy in Washington DC.
Historical connection between the GHO and the BSO
The historical bonds linking these two elite orchestras are manifold. The history of the close artistic association between Leipzig and Boston began in the year 1881, in which the founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Henry Lee Higginson, appointed Leipzig Conservatoire-trained Georg Henschel Chief Conductor of the BSO. Subsequently, numerous conductors were to assume the musical direction of the Orchestra who had either studied in Leipzig or had been members of the Gewandhausorchester: Wilhelm Gericke, Emil Pauer, Max Fiedler, Karl Muck and, perhaps most significantly of all, Arthur Nikisch. The relationship between the two orchestras was reaffirmed in the middle of the 20th century, during Charles Münch's tenure as Music Director of the BSO from 1949 until 1962; Münch had studied in Leipzig and was, from 1923 until 1933, 1st Concertmaster of the GHO. Critically, Boston Symphony Hall, dating from the year 1900, was decisively inspired and influenced by the architecture and acoustics of the second Gewandhaus.
Historical background to the Leipzig Week in Boston and the Autumn Tour
The Gewandhausorchester has presented its unmistakable brand of music-making to audiences throughout the world on several tours each season since 1916. Boston was one of the cities in which the Gewandhausorchester performed on its very first USA tour, 45 years ago, in October/November 1974. Since then, the Orchestra has appeared in Massachusetts on twelve occasions, the last visit taking place in 2014. The concerts forming a part of the Leipzig Week in Boston will be the GHO's first appearances in the USA with the 21. Gewandhauskapellmeister, Andris Nelsons.
The Gewandhausorchester has been a regular guest in the Austrian capital, Vienna, for many decades, giving a total of 65 concerts in the city since 1960. In 1966, the Orchestra visited Lugano for the first time, where it has, until now, given only three concerts, the last as far back as 1992 with Kurt Masur. Stuttgart has hosted the GHO on 16 occasions since 1933, including the last appearance in 2016. In Lugano, Stuttgart and Boston, the Gewandhausorchester will perform for the first time under the direction of Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons.