The move breaks a 20-year absence of the BSO in Canada, with their last visit in 1996 under the baton of Seiji Ozawa with Canadian BSO concertmaster Malcolm Lowe.
Led by Music Director Andris Nelsons, the tour dates will feature piano concertos — both performed by guest pianist Emanuel Ax — as well as a BSO signature performance of Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz. The concertos include Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 (Montreal) and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Toronto).
“I am very honored to bring the Boston Symphony Orchestra back to Montreal and Toronto for the first time in more than 20 years,” said BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. “This will be a special occasion also for our orchestra musicians with close personal connections to Canada, and we all greatly look forward to sharing our love and passion of making music together.”
This tour will mark Nelson’s first time performing in Canada.
Notably, there will be no works by American composers on the program, which suggests the direction away from American composers that were first championed by James Levine during his tenure with the BSO between 2004–2011.
Despite the lengthy absence from Canada, the BSO have a long history of performing here. They made their Canadian debut in 1883 with conductor Franz Kneisel (Montreal and Toronto). Other tours include conductors Wilhelm Gericke, Pierre Monteux, Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Erich Leinsdorf, and Seiji Ozawa.
The current BSO lineup includes a number fo Canadian-born musicians. Most notable are Toronto-born BSO principal horn James Sommerville who has performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Company. He was also the music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra from 2007-2015, before being replaced by Gemma New in 2016.
In addition Sommerville, BSO Associate principal bassoon Richard Ranti (Montreal), violist Rebecca Gitter (Toronto), and second clarinetist Michael Wayne (Hamilton) are all Canadians.
For tickets and more details visit our event calendar listing.
[Corection | Jan. 18, 8:30 a.m. A previous version stated Canadian Malcolm Lowe was the conductor of the BSO tour of Canada in 1995 when it was, in fact, Seiji Ozawa.]