Andris Nelsons Charms Greater Boston With Music That Speaks For Itself

February 21, 2017

Andris Nelsons did something on Greater Boston Tuesday that he hasn’t done in 16 years – play the trumpet in public.

Nelsons, conductor of the Grammy award-winning Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), sat down with Jim Braude to chat about the orchestra’s second consecutive Grammy win, announced Feb. 12 during the 59th annual awards. Thomas Rolfs, the Principal Trumpet of the BSO, joined Nelsons for the performance, which is the first of its kind on Greater Boston.

“He’s everything you would imagine a talented guy like him to be,” Rolfs said of Nelsons. “The singing through the instrument, the beautiful sound … it’s like what you would imagine a natural musician like him to be like.”

Nelsons returned the compliment, saying he feels that he is living the dream he had as a boy to study with musicians like Rolf.

“He has everything,” Nelson said. “He has sound, he has technique, he’s a fantastic human being and one of the best trumpeters in the world.”  

What many are calling the “Andris Nelsons Era” began in 2014 when the orchestra named Nelsons its 15th music director since its founding in 1881, making him the youngest conductor to take the post in more than 100 years. He was born in Riga, Latvia in 1978 to a family of musicians, and began playing the trumpet in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting.

Since his appointment, Nelsons has led the orchestra to both Grammy and Gramaphone award wins, a tour around Europe, and many collaborations, one of the most notable being that with the Deutsche Grammophon classical record label. Under its agreement with Deutsche Grammophon, the BSO recorded Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow and won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance two times in a row.

“The really great conductors have their own stamp they put on the performance,” Rolfs said. “[Andris] gets an amazing body of sound from the whole orchestra. The sound is so full and rich.”

Watch the video above to see the entire interview with Nelsons and Rolfs, as well as the in-studio performance. 


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