If you’re in Boston this season, you’re in for some great piano playing.

Has it really been five years? In March 2011 a young Latvian conductor stepped in for the ailing James Levine at Carnegie Hall, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the first time in a riveting performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.

 

A few years later, Andris Nelsons has permanently replaced Levine, bringing his breezy, accessible style to an organization that was desperate for stability and a jolt of energy.

 

His popularity hasn’t wavered since then, and now, about to begin his third full season as music director, Nelsons looks ahead to a new season that features great pianists, multiple premieres, a survey of Brahms’ complete orchestral works, and the beginning of a new resident artistic endeavor with British composer/conductor Thomas Adès.

 

“We have a lot of amazing pianists this season,” Nelsons says. “We start with Lang Lang, but later in the year we have Hélène Grimaud coming for the Brahms concertos, and Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, Emanuel Ax, Kirill Gerstein, Radu Lupu. It’s a parade of great pianists, and we also start Thomas Adès’s artist relationship.”

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