NSO extends the mandate of music director Gianandrea Noseda

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The National Symphony Orchestra announced on Thursday that it will extend Gianandrea Noseda’s contract for two years, until the 2026-2027 season. The announcement comes as Noseda wraps up the current ONS season with concerts throughout the weekend at the Kennedy Center.

“Despite the pandemic hiatus, Gianandrea and the ONS have made extraordinary artistic progress,” National Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Gary Ginstling said in a statement. “We look forward with tremendous excitement and excitement to what the next five years have in store for us.”

Noseda, now in his fifth season as Music Director, was named the ONS’s seventh Music Director in 2016 after serving as Principal Guest Conductor at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. , and Music Director of the BBC Manchester Philharmonic Orchestra. , England, and the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. Since September, he has also been General Music Director of the Zurich Opera.

The extension to his contract will make Noseda the longest tenure as music director at the ONS since Leonard Slatkin, who left in 2008 after 14 years at the helm.

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In an interview Thursday, Noseda, 58, hailed the extension as an opportunity to make up for two seasons that, despite an increase in digital programming, have been mostly lost due to the pandemic. But the extension also represents insurance for Noseda’s main goals with the ONS: to elevate the orchestra to the level of a national ambassador and to test that courage through a resumption of recording and touring activities.

(An extensive Asian tour scheduled for spring 2020 has been wiped out entirely by the pandemic, and full-cycle recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies as well as sinfonias by American composer George Walker are already underway.)

“You know, six or seven years is not enough,” Noseda said. “After five or six years of hard work, we can really appreciate the results, we can even go further inside, refine our game to be even more respectful of the different repertoires, increase the variety and the quality of the sound that we we can perform as an orchestra. We can continue our journey together.

Noseda said the additional time with the ONS will allow for the pursuit of works that combine orchestra and voice. (He has previously conducted acclaimed renditions of Verdi’s and Britten’s respective requiems.) And while there are no official plans, he has also expressed interest in recording works by the Kennedy’s composer-in-residence. Center, Carlos Simon.

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During his five seasons with the ONS, Noseda hired a considerable number of musicians for the orchestra – 20 out of 98.

Principal flute Aaron Goldman expressed excitement over the news and suspected his excitement was shared by the entire orchestra, which he said transformed under Noseda’s leadership.

“As long as we can keep it,” he said, “we want it.

Goldman, who was among the actors on the search committee in 2015, had his first experience with Noseda when the conductor conducted Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony as a guest. He remembers thinking, “That’s the guy, that’s what the orchestra needs.” (Classic Washington Post reviewer Anne Midgette appeared equally smitten, noting that Noseda “made the orchestra sound damn good.”)

“Having watched the last two years and the trajectory of the orchestra,” Goldman continued, “I feel like he was absolutely the right choice and did everything we could have hoped for and more. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

Goldman cited Noseda’s openness to performing new repertoire – from Mahler’s symphonies to the work of contemporary composers. (If the maestro agrees to the requests, Goldman said Bruckner wouldn’t mind.) And he pointed to Noseda’s leadership style, an attention at all levels that makes the whole orchestra feel equally invested.

“What’s amazing about Noseda is that he embraces everyone in the orchestra,” Goldman said. “I think that’s really why he’s able to make us sound like he does. His personality and that chemistry can be found throughout the orchestra.

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The Noseda effect goes beyond the orchestra pit. The ONS cites a 20% increase in ticket sales and a 15% increase in subscriptions before the pandemic, along with a simultaneous 23% increase in overall fundraising. An extension to his contract not only signals faith in his skills on the podium, but also his impact as the face of the organization.

For his part, and on the morning of his last series of concerts for the season (a program by Alexander Borodin and Nino Rota), Noseda seems much more caught up in the simple thrills of the work at hand, and eager to have the opportunity to continue to do so.

“Sometimes it happens that I start the concert more tired than when I finish it,” he says. “It means the energy revitalized me. It’s a fantastic feeling when that happens.

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