Music feeds soul of BSO conductor Nelson more than ever

Music feeds soul of BSO conductor Nelson more than ever

Andris Nelsons has a mantra: Music is food for our souls.

Every time I have interviewed the Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor and music director, Nelsons has repeated some variation of this idea. And every time he expressed the idea, it felt honest and true. But since the cancellations of live concerts from symphonies to jazz quartets to punk rock parties, music has only become more important to our lives.

For someone intensely devoted to his art and constantly busy, Nelsons has struggled while finding new connections to his world.

JULY 06, 2020 – BSO conductor Andris Nelsons in Switzerland. Photo courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra

“During these past months, I have been reflecting a lot on both personal and philosophical questions,” he said. “For me, this time has been a reminder of the real values of life, family, love, sacrifice, compassion and true friendship. Never before have I had such an extended opportunity to enjoy family time, to read, to sleep and simply to think.”

As part of our series about what arts leaders are doing now (check bostonherald.com/entertainment to read installments featuring luminaries at the Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, American Repertory Theater and more), Nelsons reflects on his values and passions.

Music, music and more music

“Music and art are food for our souls, and I believe this time has, to me, only emphasized how deeply I feel this to be true,” he said. “I have been enjoying many recordings of very different composers and periods; continuing to practice the trumpet has also been one of the very important routines and enjoyable tasks during these past weeks and months.”

The physical mental connection

“When I was a young boy and teenager, I devoted much time to martial arts,” Nelsons said. “I enjoyed it, but more importantly, it helped to develop strong self-discipline, to challenge and enhance the mind, and to give me an understanding of how the body works.”

The maestro considers the movement an art form unto itself, not just exercise but an investigation to finding harmony between the brain and body.

“I still have great curiosity to discover and learn more about the different schools, techniques, philosophies and religions that come with different forms of martial arts, and now, after 20 years, I am finally reawakening my attraction to these practices.”

Kindness and growth

Nelsons misses performing. He misses his colleagues and the audience and great concert halls. But he has faith we can return from this time stronger and more compassionate.

“I do believe that once this challenging time has been overcome, we will be taking more time to even better care for our families, our loved ones, our health, and expand our humanity and acts of kindness in order to build and contribute to a better world around us,” he said.

For information on the Boston Symphony Orchestra and virtual Tanglewood season, go to bso.org.

Published at Mon, 06 Jul 2020 10:02:29 +0000