Celebrity Series of Boston Presents

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig 
with Andris Nelsons, Leonidas Kavakos & Gautier Capuçon

Presented in association with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, October 27, 2019, 3pm — Symphony Hall 

Nelsons high-res photo | Kavakos high-res photo | Capuçon high-res photo

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Nelsons video preview

(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Andris Nelsons, Leonidas Kavakas and Gautier Capuçon in association with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 3pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. 

Tickets are $38-$147 and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at Symphony Hall’s Box Office, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA.

This performance marks the 10th Celebrity Series performance for the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. They made their Celebrity Series debut in 1974 under the baton of Kurt Masur and were seen most recently in 2014 with Riccardo Chailly conducting and Nikolaj Znaider as violin soloist.

The third year of a five-year alliance between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra brings Maestro Andris Nelsons to the podium in a program that pairs Brahms’s Double Concerto for violin and orchestra, featuring violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cellist Gautier Capuçon, with Schubert’s Great C major symphony. Hearkening back to the history the Gewandhausorchester shares with Schubert's great Symphony in C, the entire work was performed publicly for the first time by Felix Mendelssohn at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in March 1839.

The earliest roots of the Gewandhausorchester can be traced as far back as 1479. In this year, Leipzig City Council appointed three musicians - Kunstpfeifer ('artistic pipers') - as municipal employees. This small ensemble remained in civic service until 1840, by which time their number had increased to seven. The musicians played a central role in Leipzig's cultural life, performing at functions in the City Hall, providing the musical accompaniment for services in the city's churches and participating in theatre productions, as well as forming a part of the orchestra of the Große Concerte ('Grand Concerts').

As time passed and the 19th century ran its course, the concert hall in the Gewandhaus became increasingly unable to cope with the demands placed upon it by the Orchestra's steadily burgeoning public. Following several measures over the years to increase the audience capacity, the management of the Gewandhaus eventually bowed to the inevitable necessity of erecting a new concert hall. Following two-and-a-half years construction, the Neues Gewandhaus was inaugurated in December 1884. The New Gewandhaus witnessed the tenures of Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Bruno Walter, among others, as Gewandhauskapellmeister, as well as playing host to the likes of Johannes Brahms, Peter Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg and Richard Strauss conducting their own works. Anton Bruckner graced the Neues Gewandhaus with an organ recital. The new hall was also the scene of the Gewandhausorchester's first audio and film recordings.

The Gewandhausorchester undertook its first foreign tour during, of all times, the First World War. Prior to this, the Gewandhaus directorate had been thoroughly opposed to such ventures, "due to the risk that our illustrious orchestra, which has, heretofore, served only noble causes, could descend to depths such as those occupied by a philharmonic orchestra in Berlin with its commercial undertakings. Should the orchestra members begin to travel, they will very well take to the variety this affords and demand its recurrence." On receiving an invitation from Switzerland in 1916, however, the City Council and the Gewandhaus approved the enterprise "on the grounds that it represents an artistic cultural mission of great significance." Two further visits to Switzerland were to follow before the colossal undertaking of a first extensive tour of Europe in 1931. The political developments of the ensuing years were, sadly, to prevent the Orchestra capitalising on its newly-established reputation abroad.

The Gewandhausorchester - now homeless - did not venture beyond Germany's borders to represent Leipzig anew until 1951. Both the Neues Theater and the Neues Gewandhaus had been destroyed by bombing during the war. Since the cessation of hostilities in Europe in 1945, opera performances and concerts had taken place in temporary, sometimes somewhat makeshift locations throughout Leipzig. Following the opening of the city's new opera house in 1960, Leipzig would have to wait a further two decades for the construction of a new concert hall for the Gewandhausorchester. The Neues Gewandhaus (named, as its predecessor, New Gewandhaus) opened its doors to the public in 1981 - the only genuine concert hall to be built in the GDR (former communist East Germany). Overwhelming credit for the realisation and success of the undertaking must be granted to the Gewandhauskapellmeister of the day, Kurt Masur.

Masur's successor, Herbert Blomstedt, led the Orchestra - now numbering 185 musicians - into the 21st century, before handing the baton on to Riccardo Chailly. In the 2017/2018 season, Andris Nelsons will begin his tenure as 21st Gewandhauskapellmeister. Much has changed in Leipzig during the past decades - one thing, however, remains constant: the Gewandhausorchester performs in the Gewandhaus, in the Leipzig Opera and, together with the Thomanerchor, in St. Thomas's Church. The combination of symphonic, operatic and sacred repertoire has imbued the Gewandhausorchester with an artistic profile of unparalleled diversity and richness.


Johannes Brahms | Double Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, Opus 102

Franz Schubert | Symphony No. 9 “The Great”

The performance is approximately 110 minutes with one intermission.

About Celebrity Series of Boston 

 Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 81 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience—on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods–everywhere.

Contact: Stephanie Janes PR, (617) 419-0445, stephanie@stephaniejanespr.com