The BRSO's November 1 appearance in Philadelphia will include Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The lineup for the three concerts at Carnegie Hall, on November 5-7, includes soprano Karita Mattila in Strauss's Four Last Songs, Bart‹k's Violin Concerto No. 1 with Gidon Kremer and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Lang Lang on November 5. The November 6 concert in Chicago features Sibelius's Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6, the latter in honor of the composer's 100th birthday.
Jansons has a special affinity with the music of Shostakovich and recently finished recording the composer's complete symphonies with the BRSO and several other major international orchestras — a project that took nearly 20 years to complete. The recordings were released by EMI this month.
Explaining the pull of Shostakovich and his music, Jansons, who was born in Latvia, said, "A very short and simple answer is that he is a genius and I like his music enormously. The longer answer is that I lived in the Soviet Union and I now live in Russia, and his music is for me very close in the content and atmosphere; the images that he expresses in his music are very clear for me. Only people who themselves lived in such an atmosphere can immediately understand and feel what he wanted to say with his music."
The Munich-based Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra's last U.S. tour was in 2003 under Lorin Maazel. The orchestra was founded in 1949 by Eugen Jochum; its subsequent chief conductors were Rafael Kubel‹k, Colin Davis and Maazel. Jansons became chief conductor in the 2003-04 season and recently renewed his contract through 2009.