Gianandrea Noseda appointed new music director of NSO

Mr. Noseda's November 2015 appearance with National Symphony Orchestra apparently clinched the deal. He will formally assume his new post full time for the 2017-2018 season.

Conductor Gianandrea Noseda. (Courtesy of Mr. Noseda's website)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2015 — In a Monday afternoon press release, the National Symphony Orchestra announced its appointment of Gianandrea Noseda, 51, as the ensemble’s new music director. “I am honored to become a part of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center family,” stated Mr. Noseda, “and look forward to a partnership that will yield great musical memories for us and our audiences.”

Named Musical America’s 2015 Conductor of the Year, Mr. Noseda was the unanimous choice of the orchestra’s search committee to replace outgoing music director Christoph Eschenbach, whose tenure here will conclude after next season as he assumes the post of NSO conductor laureate.

Mr. Noseda will become the NSO’s music director-designate next season and will formally assume his new position as the orchestra’s seventh music director beginning with the 2017-2018 season.

The NSO release notes:

The appointment comes nearly two months following his recent appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra. “It was clear something compelling was happening on stage and both our musicians and our audiences sensed it. There was a strong rapport between Gianandrea Noseda and the Orchestra,” said Executive Director Rita Shapiro. “His creative use of imagery, attention to detail in rehearsal, as well as deeply felt focused music-making elicited an immediate response from the orchestra. We moved quickly to secure Noseda as our next Music Director and look forward to an exciting future together.”

Having attended Mr. Noseda’s November appearance with the orchestra, we would tend to agree with Ms. Shapiro’s observations. In a CDN review of that series concert, we wrote,

… the most pleasant surprise of the evening was an absolutely gorgeous, lavish performance of Rachmaninoff’s grand, sweepingly Romantic Second Symphony.

Mr. Noseda seemed to be truly in his element here, leading the orchestra with discipline and precision while at the same time bringing out the lushness and longing in this score that so many orchestras and conductors manage to miss.

This was, flat out, probably one of the finest performances of this symphony I’ve ever had the privilege to hear. The orchestral sound was flawless, the ensembles were perfectly blended, and the tempos were perfectly calibrated to suit the many and varying moods of this Russian masterwork…. Suffice it to say that Thursday evening’s audience was privileged to hear a great performance of this work….

Read also: Noseda, NSO in brilliant performance of Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2

A native of Milan, Italy, Maestro Noseda comes to Washington after a string of notable appointments and successes. He was the first foreign principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre, serving there for a decade. He spent nearly a decade as well as chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and is currently in his ninth season as music director of the Teatro Regio Torino (The Royal Theater of Turin, Italy). He headed up a well-regarded North American tour with that company in 2014.

Title character Prince Igor hallucinates in a not very happy poppy field of dreams in newly reconstructed version of Borodin's opera. (Image courtesy of NY Metropolitan Opera)
Title character Prince Igor hallucinates in a not very happy poppy field of dreams in newly reconstructed version of Borodin’s opera. (Image courtesy of NY Metropolitan Opera)

Among other accomplishments, his tenure at the BBC Philharmonic was notable for initiating a substantial classical music download project—something that’s likely a key to reviving classical music for a larger audience in the 21st century and a skill set that could conceivably help enhance and broaden the NSO’s reputation here.

He has also joined the New York Metropolitan Opera many times as guest conductor since 2002, including conducting—and actually helping to create—performances of the company’s controversial, newly reconstructed and reconceived production of Borodin’s “Prince Igor” in 2014 that attracted world-wide attention.

Given his extensive and impressive resumé with major opera companies, it will be interesting to see whether Maestro Noseda eventually develops a relationship with the Washington National Opera after he fully assumes his NSO post here two seasons from now.

According to the NSO release, Mr. Noseda’s new appointment is for five years, including his time as music director-designate for the 2016-2017 season and four more seasons during which he’ll be at the orchestra’s helm full time. Next season, he will conduct two subscription concerts, followed by eight the following year and 12 each season thereafter, in addition to leading orchestra tours and other projects TBA.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17