Nelsons to lead a starry Tanglewood season

November 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

By Aaron Keebaugh

Music director designate Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in four programs at the 2014 Tanglewood Festival.

As in past seasons, the 2014 Tanglewood Festival will bring to the Berkshires a star-studded line-up of performers and conductors for a summer-long smorgasbord of old and new music, July 5-August 30.

The festival, though, will be a first Tanglewood appearance for Andris Nelsons in his new role as music director designate of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (Nelsons had to cancel a scheduled Tanglewood appearance this past summer due to an injury.)

For the evening gala in his honor on July 12 (one of four of his appearances),the conductor will lead the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in excerpts from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, with soloists Sophie Bevan, Angela Denoke and Isabel Leonard. In the second half of the program, he will conduct the BSO in Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Ravel’s Bolero.

Nelsons’ other engagements will also feature a starry line-up of guests. He will conduct an all-Dvorak program (July 11), with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in the composer’s Violin Concerto. Rolf Martinsson’s Trumpet Concerto No. 1, with soloist Håkan Hardenberg will stand alongside music by Brahms and Tchaikovsky (July 19), and violinist Joshua Bell will appear as soloist in Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole (July 20). Nelsons will also conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Christopher Rouse’s Rapture on the same concert.

The 2014 festival will also mark the twentieth anniversary of Ozawa Hall. Among the high-profile solo and chamber-music events at that venue, pianist Jeremy Denk will perform two of his specialty works, Ives’s Concord Sonata and Bach’s Goldberg Variations (August 13). Baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger will perform songs by Berg, Korngold, Zemlinsky, and Richard Strauss (July 16) in celebration of Strauss’s 150th birthday. The Emerson String Quartet will offer the last five string quartets of Shostakovich (July 10). Pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma will team up for an all-Brahms recital (August 7), and Brahms’s music will also be the focus of a concert by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, conducted by Paavo Järvi (August 6).

The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, in celebration of their fiftieth anniversary season, will perform a new work along with Schubert’s Octet in F, D. 803 and Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola, and harp (July 1).

For the BSO’s opening night gala, soprano Renée Fleming will offer a concert of opera arias, musical theater selections, and popular songs on  July 5.

Other headlining soloists with the BSO will include Emanuel Ax in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (August 15), Yo-Yo Ma in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme (August 10), and Leonidas Kavakos in Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (August 9). Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and BSO principal trumpet Thomas Rolfs will render Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 for piano and trumpet (August 10). Violinist Gil Shaham will perform Barber’s Violin Concerto as part of a concert celebrating Leonard Slatkin’s 70th birthday (August 8). The event will also fete Slatkin as he leads the BSO in Elgar’s Enigma Variations and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Circus Overture.

Among the returning conductors, Christoph von Dohnányi will direct the BSO in Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and selections from Copland’s Old American Songs, with Thomas Hampson as soloist on July 18. British pianist Paul Lewis will join Dohnányi and the BSO on July 25 for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 as part of a Beethoven and Mendelssohn program. Dohnányi will also conduct the orchestra, Tanglewood Symphony Chorus, and soloists Camilla Tilling (soprano) and Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) in Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony (July 26).

With Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at the podium on July 27, the orchestra and chorus will perform excerpts from Verdi’s Nabucco and Aida. The first half of that concert with bring Venezuelan-American pianist Gabriela Montero to the stage for her BSO debut in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Frühbeck de Burgos will return August 3 to offer Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, with Augustin Hadelich as soloist, along with music by Haydn and Beethoven.

Stéphane Denève will conduct Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 (August 9) as well as Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (August 15). Israeli conductor Asher Fisch will return to Tanglewood on July 6 to lead excerpts from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Liszt’s Les Preludes, and Brahms’s Piano Concert No. 2, featuring Garrick Ohlsson.

Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with pianist Kirill Gerstein, will round out an Italian-themed BSO program to be led by Charles Dutoit on August 23. The conductor will close the BSO portion of Tanglewood festival on the following evening with performances of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Symphony No. 9, featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman.

In addition, Dutoit will lead the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in August 17 performances Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique and The Firebird. Nikolai Lugansky will also appear as soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Other Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra concerts will bring to the podium Stefan Asbury, in works by Hindemith and Bruckner (July 6), Frühbeck de Burgos, in music by Beethoven and Sibelius (July 28), and Denève, in an all-Berlioz program (August 11).

American music will be the focus of the 2014 Festival of Contemporary Music, which runs July 17-21, Works by John Adams, Steve Mackey, George Perle, John Harbison, Jacob Druckman, Fred Lerdahl and Roger Sessions, will be heard alongside music by several younger composers, including world premieres of TCM commissioned works by Bernard Rands and Benjamin Scheuer.

The New York-based chamber ensemble, The Knights, will perform Maria Schneider’s jazz-laced Winter Morning Walks along with transcriptions of songs by Joni Mitchell, Kurt Weill, Michel Legrand, and Astor Piazzolla, featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw, trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, pianist Frank Kimbrough, clarinetist Scott Robinson, and bassist Jay Anderson in Ozawa Hall (July 23).

For operatic fare, The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and guest soloists, under the baton of Nicholas McGegan, will offer concert performance of Handel’s Teseo (August 14). A chamber version of Jack Beeson’s opera Lizzie Borden, with David Angus leading the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, will grace the Ozawa Hall stage on July 31. On August 16, British conductor Bramwell Tovey will lead a concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide with Anna Christy, Kathryn Leemhuis and Frederica von Stade, and Nicholas Phan joining.the BSO and Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Other festival highlights include the Paris-based Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music, under direction of composer and scholar Benjamin Bagby, in vocal music from the court of Charlemagne as part of the ensembles’ Lost Songs Project (July 15). Medieval and Renaissance choral music will also be heard in Chanticleer’s wide-ranging program of works by Andrea Gabrieli, Brahms, Fanny Mendelssohn, Eric Whitacre, and Cole Porter (July 9).

The Boston Pops will bring conductor laureate John Williams back to the podium for a concert of film music on August 2. Later that month, Keith Lockhart will lead the ensemble in the score to The Wizard of Oz to accompany a presentation of the film (August 22).

Tickets for the 2014 Tanglewood Festival, priced from $10 to $121 for regular season performances, go on sale January 26. Tickets for James Taylor’s July 3 and 4 concerts go on sale January 16.; 888-266-1200.

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