Thursday, 16 May 2013

Andris Nelsons from CBSO to BSO - Chess moves !

Andris Nelsons has been appointed Chief Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He's completely different from predecessors like Seiji Osawa and James Levine, so maybe he represents the start of something big? He's a very innovative, adventurous conductor equally at home in orchestral music and opera. His wife is the soprano Kristine Opolais. A Dream Team, though they usually work separately.

In Britain, we've been fortunate that we've been able to hear Nelsons so frequently, and in so many different things. He's been head at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since 2010, and is a regular at the Royal Opera House.  The CBSO connection is supremely important . More than 30 years ago, Simon Rattle transformed it. Now it's one of the best orchestras in the country. Rattle's vision focussed on progress. He was always interested in 20th century music, specially championing Mahler, Stravisnky, Szymanowski, Lutoslawski and so on. Sakari Oramo (now BBCSO) and Andris Nelsons have further polished the diamond.

Conductor moves are like chess moves. With each move, the whole game changes shape. Nelsons will almost certainly shake up Boston, since he's so very different from, say, Seiji Osawa or James Levine. At a time when the US orchestra scene seems in shambles, will he inject new life into the rest of the country? What can Boston offer to a conductor who commands respect at Bayreuth and the Royal Opera Hose ? And what are Nelsons' long term plans ? At 34, he's young and far too good to while out his career in one city as conductors did in the past.  Things don't work like that in an era of CDs, internet and travel. Where will he be in 10 years ? That's an even bigger question than who's taking over CBSO or what he'll do with the BSO. Nelsons is also unusually charismatic, which gives him the edge: conductors have to inspire as well as conduct well. With his charm, he can achieve great things. Nelsons conducts a lot in Berlin, too: some have suggested that he's the real dark horse favourite to succeed Rattle there, too.

No comments: