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Musical World

Andris Nelsons

  • Conductor


The classical balance and flawless detail work that Nelsons put into the orchestral part made Beethoven's most beautiful piano concerto one of the most inspired performances of this work I have ever heard.

—Luxemburger Wort, André Link, 15.3.12

Nelsons brings fresh perspectives to all music he tackles.

—Opera Magazine, Hugh Canning, 1.9.11

The first movement [of Mahler´s Ninth Symphony with Boston Symphony Orchestra] was notable for the organic quality of the music-making, a sense of deep and thoughtful immersion in the musical moment at hand. The opening drifted off the stage with an air of autumnal calm, and with Nelsons conferring a gentle swaying quality on the so-called farewell theme. Climaxes were forceful but never overbearing. And most striking of all were several of Mahler’s remarkable transitional passages, in which the music seems to wander through a shadowy netherworld. These came across as hushed and searching, with Nelsons wedding mystery with textural transparency, all the while preserving the tension in the musical line.

—The Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler, 19.3.11

His keenly dramatic yet clear-headed approach brought welcome insights to Shostakovich´s sprawling score [of the 5th Symphony]. The charismatic Mr. Nelsons drew brilliant, richly textured playing from the Philharmonic.

—New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 12.2.11

Instead of Mozart, Nelsons and the [Vienna] Philharmonic opened with Johannes Brahms's Hungarian Dances No. 20 and 21 on the national holiday – and captivated with their flexible, effortless music making. […] When the principal bassoonist was finally on the scene, he and his colleagues went flat out during Dvořák's Ninth Symphony and ignited sparks of joy under Nelsons's precise direction.

—Der Standard, Stefan Ender, 28.10.10

[…] a performance of [Mahler´s] Eighth Symphony that shook the rafters, exhilarated the senses, stirred the soul and sent me out with a tear in my eye, a lump in my throat and my old ticker pounding dangerously. Nelsons’ galvanising energy was unflagging, his pacing never lost its urgent thrust and coherence, and he imbued the whole piece with high-definition colours that were flamboyant without ever seeming forced or coarse.

—The Times, Richard Morrison, 20.9.10


Nelsons has been Music Director in Birmingham for two years, and during that time he has helped the orchestra develop a new profile. […] Peter Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 was splendid. […] the atmosphere of resignation was unmistakable, and it was deeply moving. Not only because the conductor himself put all his heart into but also because Nelsons spun such long lines and made them so vibrant.

—Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Peter Hagmann, 18.8.10

According to Nelsons, the work is so suffused with Dvořák’s homesickness for Bohemia that “you have to perform it with tears in your eyes”. Whether the exhortation was taken literally or metaphorically, his handling of the poignant Largo, with its final broken phrases, was heartstopping. Wagner’s Rienzi Overture often sounds at best vulgar, at worst ridiculous. But Nelsons brought both mystery and genuine nobility of spirit. I’m still not sure how he did it.

—Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 30.7.10

Everyone take note: Andris Nelsons is destined to become one of the greatest Wagnerian conductors of the 21st – or indeed any – century.

 —Birmingham Post, Christopher Morley, 26.11.09