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Norman Lebrecht talks to the young Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons currently music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Riga to musical parents Nelsons cites one of his earliest formative musical experiences as a performance of Wagner's Tannhauser which his parents took him to when he was just 5. He later took up the trumpet and eventually became a professional player in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra. He had conducting lessons with Neeme Jarvi and then came to the attention of Mariss Jansons whilst playing on tour with the Oslo Philharmonic and subsequently had lessons with him.
He eventually rose to become chief conductor of the Latvian National Opera at the age of 25 and it was there he met his future wife the soprano Kristine Opolais.
Nelsons has conducted at the Met, the Royal Opera House and at Bayreuth where he made his debut in 2010 with a new production of Lohengrin and where he returned this year.
In 2007 he became Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra having previously only conducted them in a private concert and a recording session, never at any public concerts. His present contract with them runs to 2014 and he appears with them at the BBC Proms this week.
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