Andris Nelsons was born into a musical family in Riga in 1978. He studied piano during his childhood and later made swift progress as a trumpeter, performing with the Latvian National Opera Orchestra as a teenager and developing a player's understanding of the orchestral profession. His early conducting experience was shaped under the supervision of Mariss Jansons, who became his teacher and guide. He made his conducting debut with the Latvian National Opera at the age of 21 and became the company's music director two years later. News of the young conductor's visionary performances of German and Slavic repertoire in Latvia and as Principal Conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie reached the UK and led to his appointment as Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2008–15). Nelsons' years at the helm of the CBSO established him as the sought-after conductor he is today, and his services to music in the UK were recognised with the award of an honorary OBE.
The Latvian conductor was appointed as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 15th Music Director at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and signed an exclusive agreement with Deutsche Grammophon in 2016. Their first album – released as part of a Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow series – was a live recording of Symphony No. 10 and won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Its successor presented accounts of the Fifth, Eighth and Ninth Symphonies and the Suite from Hamlet, and in 2017 won the cycle's second Grammy Award for the same category. The third release, comprising the Fourth and Eleventh Symphonies, appeared in July 2018, and made it three in a row at the Grammys, winning not just one, but two awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical. In 2018, he was appointed Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. His joint roles heralded an alliance between the Leipzig and Boston orchestras, encompassing co-commissions and educational initiatives, as well as shared and complementary programming. Nelsons is now overseeing the cultural exchanges between the two institutions and transatlantic tours enabling the BSO players to perform at the Gewandhaus and their German counterparts to appear at Symphony Hall.