Andris Nelsons does not officially become the new music director for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for two more months but it is clear from his interview with The Eagle’s Clarence Fanto that ran Thursday that he is already on the job. This is a boost for Tanglewood which until last night hadn’t seen a music director on the podium since the waning days of the Bush administration.
When Mr. Nelsons conducted an all-Dvorak program last night it ended a six-year stretch in which the BSO’s music director (or in this case, incoming music director) had not conducted at Tanglewood. James Levine conducted the opening night concert in 2008 and resigned in 2011 following periodic health problems that regularly coincided with the Tanglewood season. A lengthy search for a replacement led to the hiring of Mr. Nelsons, who will conduct the BSO again tonight.
The Latvian-born conductor, a youthful 35, is described as charismatic and down-to-earth by Mr. Fanto, and all these qualities will help him advance the cause of classical music in general and the BSO and Tanglewood in particular. In the interview, Mr. Nelsons made an eloquent argument for the importance of music education and the need to introduce young people to classical music, if only to give them an understanding of the art so they can embrace it fully later in life when they are ready.
Mr. Nelsons has been working with the promising young musicians who grace Tanglewood each summer, a critical part of the music director’s duties.