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A maestro’s musical musings
The musical world is buzzing about the May 16 announcement of Andris Nelsons, conductor of Britain’s City of Birmingham Symphony, as the new music director of America’s  storied Boston Symphony Orchestra (from which two members kindly performed a benefit recital for Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church’s barrier-free access project).  A rising star at just age 34, Nelsons is this orchestra’s youngest leader in more than a century.
As a native of Latvia, Nelsons, who was raised Catholic, has commented on the artistic and religious oppression his nation experienced under the Soviet Communist control that ended when he was 13. He told “The Guardian” newspaper that “the Soviet Union had only one party. You couldn’t express yourself freely. You couldn’t admit belief in God.” He also said the following to the British arts magazine “200 percent” in a 2011 interview:
(About seeing Wagner’s opera “Tannhauser” at age 5)  “It was being exposed at such a young age to serious questions about life and death, about love, that made a big impression on me. Since then, in my life, I have been thinking a lot about these big questions, about the purpose of life, et cetera.”
(Regarding other experiences that had similar effect)  “About the same age, maybe one year later, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Franco Zeffirelli – a 6-hour-long TV series about the life of Christ – made a big impact on me. I believe that ‘Tannhauser’ and ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ are the reasons why I became a musician.”
(What specifically appealed about ‘Jesus of Nazareth’?)  “I started to think about death from a very early age; what happens after death and what’s the reason of living? Should we be afraid of death or not? All these questions continually worry me, as they have worried all the great composers such as Mahler, Wagner, and Beethoven. Most of these composers, I think, struggled with fate, with destiny, with death and love… Whilst it may not provide answers to these questions, I think the great thing about music is that it allows you to dream, to have different interpretations, scenarios of life. Through music you can ‘live’ all those different scenarios with a happy or a tragic end. Music gives me the ability to live a different life….”
See the full interview at:
http://200-percent-blog.blogspot.com/2011/06/andris-nelsons.html