Boston Symphony Orchestra

An orchestra with a rich history and exciting future

Boston Symphony Orchestra (1891) by © DorotheumDeutsche Grammophon

Re-rooting the
Austro-German Tradition in the New World

The BSO was founded in 1881 by Henry Lee Higginson. Its first conductor was George Henschel, a noted baritone as well as conductor, and a close friend of Johannes Brahms. The orchestra’s four subsequent music directors were all trained in Central Europe, including the highly influential Hungarian-born conductor Arthur Nikisch.

William Steinberg (1970s)Deutsche Grammophon

William Steinberg and DG

1969-70 proved to be a landmark season for the BSO – soon after the arrival of its new music director William Steinberg, the orchestra made its first recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

William Steinberg (1970s) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

Boston Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg: Richard Strauss- Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, TrV 176

Steinberg conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Eugen Jochum & the BSODeutsche Grammophon

Eugen Jochum, BSO: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 - "Jupiter" 1. Allegro vivace

Because of Steinberg’s failing health, Rafael Kubelík conducted the BSO in their DG recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (part of Kubelík’s cycle of Beethoven symphonies with nine different orchestras), while Eugen Jochum took the helm for Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and Schubert’s “Unfinished”.

Seiji Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Krystian Zimerman (1987) by © Susesch BayatDeutsche Grammophon

Seiji Ozawa

The historic 29-year directorship of Seiji Ozawa, who succeeded Steinberg in 1973, left an indelible stamp on all the orchestra’s activities in Boston, at Tanglewood and abroad. It was under Ozawa, in 1979, that the BSO became the first American orchestra to tour mainland China.

Andris Nelsons: Shostakovich (2015) by © Marco Borggreve / DGDeutsche Grammophon

The Current Director

Andris Nelsons, who was born in Riga (Latvia) in 1978, is one of the last conductors trained in the Soviet music tradition and represents a distinct musical voice influenced by both the Russian masters and, later, by the great composers of Western Europe. Under Nelsons, the BSO is currently recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon.

Andris Nelsons & BSO - Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 - Under Stalin's Shadow (Trailer) (1907)Deutsche Grammophon

Andris Nelsons & BSO: Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 - Under Stalin's Shadow (Trailer)

Andris Nelsons by © courtesy BSO ArchivesDeutsche Grammophon

I am completely thrilled and honoured to be leading this very exciting collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon. It is an immense privilege to focus on the music of Shostakovich, a composer of such great personal courage and virtue, whose extraordinary work transcends even the circumstances in which it was written, and is timeless on many levels. At the same time, with my formative years spent in Soviet Latvia, the music of Shostakovich in particular speaks to me personally in a distinctive way and I’m sure that special affinity will be communicated in these recordings.” Andris Nelsons

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons: Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No.10 In E Minor, Op.93 - 4. Andante - Allegro

"The unique sound of Symphony Hall, with the orchestra positioned on the house floor for these recordings, was always identifiable, different from any other recording space." – Ronald Barron, BSO principal trombone 1975-2008

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Text by: Deutsche Grammophon

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